Referees to appeal disciplinary decisions to the FA?

Posted by - March 25, 2009 - Aston Villa, Liverpool, Oddballs

The shoe’s on the other foot now!

For those of you who think the FA’s disciplinary and appeal process is convoluted enough, cover your eyes now. The Professional Game Match Officials Board, the body which represents the country’s top referees, has written to the Football Association for an explanation after Aston Villa keeper Brad Friedel’s red card against Liverpool was rescinded.

A Premier League spokesman said: “The PGMO just want to be sure on why the appeal panel found the way they did.”

So Friedel is sent-off, Aston Villa appeal, the FA overturn the red card, and now the referees want to know why. How long before they start counter-appeals and we suddenly have six-month court cases over a sending off?

OTP will try to avoid that scenario after the jump.

Dear PGMO,

Further to your recent correspondence with the FA, Off The Post would like to intervene to help clear matters up.

Brad Friedel’s red card was overturned because having someone run into you while making no attempt to impede them is not a sending off offence.

We hope this answers your query.

Yours sincerely,

Off The Post

PS Check out the video evidence above if you are still unsure.

  • Michael

    Utter nonsense. Friedel takes four or five steps towards Torres, and stops about half a second before Torres passes him. Stopping your movement such a short time before contact is made does not, in any rational sense, constitute ‘not making a tackle’.

    Apply the same to an outfield player. If I’m (say) Vidic, the last defender, with Torres running towards me – am I allowed to charge towards Torres from four paces away, ‘stop’ half a second before contact is made, and claim that I wasn’t trying to impede him? Of course not, I’d be rightfully sent-off.

    The decision to overturn the red simply undermines the referee, and gives more license for plonkers like Andy Gray to influence decisions. Friedel is a nice guy and a great keeper, but the only reason there’s any sympathy for him is because of this fact. Liverpool fans didn’t want him to be sent off because (a) He’s an ex-Liverpool player and (b) It meant he’d be available to shut out Man United in the next game, not out of any sense of understanding footballing laws.

    Great blog otherwise.

  • Ryan

    I was all geared up to say something, but it looks like Michael nailed it.

    Agreed on all counts.

  • Rob Parker


    He’s the goalkeeper – he’s entitled to close the man down in one-on-one situations. It is not like he is even stretching for the ball at the time. All he does is stand his ground. Should he dive out of the way?

    The basic premise of football is that you have to beat the goalkeeper. Torres could shoot, he could go round him, but he runs straight at him. If that is a red card then the art of finishing would be dead. Why beat the keeper when you could run into him and get him sent-off at the same time as winning a penalty?

  • Michael

    It’s fundamentally poor goalkeeping. Once he’s made the move towards Torres, he has to go for the ball. As soon as he moved, he signalled his intention to challenge…I don’t buy that Torres ran into him. Pause the video at 00:08 – if that’s not impeding Torres, I don’t know what is! It could be construed as the old-fashioned ‘obstruction’, which is no longer in existence and is penalised with a direct free kick / penalty.

    Of course, not that ‘poor goalkeeping’ should equal a red card, but it’s the goalkeeping equivalent of a half-arsed lazy “forward’s tackle” which gets nowhere near the ball, impedes the man and is rightfully a free-kick. It just so happens that Friedel denied a clear goalscoring opportunity, and was sent-off.

    I think an explanation would be good – have they rescinded it because (a) It was deemed not a foul or (b) It denied a clear goalscoring opportunity?

    I can’t see a case for either.

  • Michael

    Read (b) It DID NOT deny a clear goalscoring opportunity…

  • steve

    Really? Some of you actually think that was a legit red card? You really need to re-watch that clip apparently. He closes down Torres only intending to take the ball, but Torres pokes it around him at the last second, so Freidel’s only option was to dive out of the way (which no goalkeeper would ever do) or take the hit. If you watch the replay, he had his hands out about to scoop the ball up when Torres dinked it around him, so there was nothing he could do at that point except stay there. Torres knew he would get a penalty if he plowed into him, so he did what any striker these days would do and mowed him over.

    Not a foul, and certainly not a sending off.

  • Rob Parker

    I’m glad I’m not seeing something completely different to everyone else then!