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Time For The FA To Save Face With An Appeals Process Overhaul?
Footytubeblog (Blog) 2 years ago
The Football Association’s red card appeals process has been under the spotlight more than ever before this season and is yet to do itself justice, let alone the justice of teams and players who have suffered from its various outcomes.

For many years it has been an ambiguous process without much transparency or, on many an occasion, a lack of consistency and common sense.

This season we have witnessed that at its very best – or worse – its decisions have had a big say in the outcome of some Premier League action.

The appeals panel is made of three ex-referees who are sat in separate rooms and handed passwords to secure websites upon which they can see the incident in questions.

If all three of them make a judgment that they would have sent the player off, then the player is charged or his red card stands. In the event of the panel not coming to the same agreement, then no action is taken, or the red card is rescinded.

So on the day the FA asked three ex-referees to give their verdicts on the clash between Yaya Toure and Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Craig Bellamy vs Jonathan de Guzman, where on earth did they pick up these so called ex-officials? Power League? The local park? The waiting room at Specsavers?

Agreed, the decision to charge Craig Bellamy for his off-the-ball assault on Swansea’s Jonathan de Guzman was the correct one. But, the decision not to charge Manchester City’s Yaya Toure for kicking Norwich striker van Wolfswinkel in the back did not make sense.

That means that one, if not all three, of the ex-referees on the panel believed Toure’s kick was not a red card offence, despite it clearly being an act of malice from the Ivorian.

Fast forward to last weekend and take a look at the incident at the Britannia Stadium when Charlie Adam allegedly stamped on Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud.

Now, the decision to charge Adam means all three on the panel admitted they’d have given him a red card had they seen it. Fair enough. But what’s the difference between a stamp and a kick if they are both intended to injure an opponent?

This is where the problem lies. If one player is not being punished for kicking, but another is being punished for stamping, at which point do we draw the line between right and wrong on the football pitch?

It’s also worth suggesting that, given that all three of the members are former referees, how are they able to view a situation from another point of view?

It is impossible to read the actions of a footballer if you have never been a footballer. But it’s extremely easy to subconsciously agree with the decision of a referee if you have been a referee.

The Andy Carroll saga at the beginning of February is a prime example of this. Howard Webb dismissed the West Ham striker after he allegedly swung an arm at Swansea’s Chico Flores, although replays clearly showed that there was minimal impact and the defender had in fact simulated the incident to sway Webb’s decision. But the appeals panel found Webb to be absolutely correct in his decision.

Had a former footballer, a former manager and, perhaps, a former referee been on the panel, I would argue that the outcome of West Ham’s appeal would have been the opposite. The red card would have been rescinded and, in an ideal world, Flores would have been punished for his overreaction and attempts to get Carroll dismissed.

It is that kind of inconsistency that has put the FA in yet another bad light and shrouded them in what is an avoidable controversy.

Premier League referees are not exactly the most popular of people in the game and, it seems, they are doing all they can to ensure that lack of popularity remains beyond their time in the ‘spotlight.’

So is it time for the FA to step in, change the appeals process and, save face in what is fast becoming one of the biggest injustices in English football?

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