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Question Number: 32149

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 1/7/2018

RE: Adult

Gary Barton of Mossley, Lancashire England asks...

In the wolves v Swansea fa cup game yesterday what was the possible justification for giving Leroy fer a straight red card for a trip

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Gary
I suspect it was the cynical nature of the trip by Fer that caused Referee Taylor to show red. Referees take a dim view of challenges that make no attempt to play the ball or not there to be played but simply trip / kick out at an opponent.
You might recall the red card in the Arsenal v Swansea game where Xhaka was sent off for something similar
Some felt that was harsh yet some felt the cynical nature of such fouls need to be punished strongly. Arsenal did not appeal the card which for me was a statement in itself.
Final point is perhaps the senior group of referees discussed Referee Moss' decision in briefings and advised that 'challenges' that make no attempt to play the ball or not there to be played show a total disregard for player safety which need to be sanctioned accordingly.
The FA Disciplinary Panel ruled on appeal from Swansea that the red card should be overturned and Fer did not serve a 3 game ban.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Red cards are reserved for excessive gestures or incidents which a referee believes CLEARLY demonstrates disregard for the safety and welfare of the opponent. It COULD be the referee used a previous situation or warning to this player so this incident was the last straw. And a referee with integrity sees what he sees even if we see it different! The bar for straight red here seemed a bit lower as similar fouls have been dubbed as only cautions yet that 1st one by Vinagre his foul on Nathan Dyer five minutes before half-time was behind, late and studs along the legs all three spell trouble. Was Fer tripping Costa on the halfway line, an even it up card? I hope not, but it was in my opinion a soft red yet in keeping with the 1st one not entirely unexpected.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Gary,
A possible explanation is the fact that the kick out at an opponent was done with absolutely no chance of winning the ball. There is a different standard applied to incidents when the player's actions are not seen as part of an actual challenge for the ball. It is true that the player who was kicked was in possession of the ball and more leeway is frequently given to players who commit fouls in this kind of situation but if the player had kicked out at an opponent in the same manner while the ball was ten yards away, I don't think anyone would be questioning the red card.

So there is a distinct possibility (in my opinion) that the referee here may have considered this, in its true essence, more akin to an 'off the ball' incident than a challenge for the ball and has punished it accordingly.

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