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Pierre Head

Of course the problem here is one of consistency. As you have so very well described in your earlier blogs, far more serious tackles have not resulted in red cards in recent EPL matches, e.g by Lampard and Cabaye. While there will always be some lack of consistency, and it is to be expected to some extent, in the case of tackles like these, there should be more uniformity. This is especially true among referees at this level, several of whom are full-time professionals. I surmise that the PGMOL will be taking a hard look at this issue at their forthcoming meetings.

-------------------Let's hope so! Cheers, Bob


Well said, sir.

John Matthew


You raise a real good point.. a very seminal point that has been brought up hundreds of times, and your immediate response of " at least a yellow" was the crux of every discussion on this I heard.

The overwhelming opinion was either a yellow or a spoken word. The vast minority opinion was a send off. I think that the majority was a vestige of a long ago game. Like the action of the referee in the world cup where the German goalkeeper "knocked" the living daylites of that forward. Nothing was done. Nothing was said. Maybe it was how the game was played back then.
Surly the game has changed, and how the referees see it, mostly from you and Ed's success in changing it.

Your response when you saw it though tells me that there is still work to be done, IF, and ONLY IF, that not coming in contact with an opponent by a vicious tackle is punished only of a "warning" (yellow) because it "missed".

If the integrity of the game means only that, then there isn't
as many remnants left as I thought in cleaning out the violence or "missed violence".

When I think of it, if the referee had shown the red card, he would have been "alone" like you were in the NASL game where you had the penalty kick retaken "how many times?"

Thanks for your loyalty to the game

Thanks for the kind words. Bob./


This tackle is the least dangerous to the opponent (because Nani did not want to get hurt not because Kompany wasn't aiming for him) of all the recent tackles you have commented on, yet it is the only one to receive a sanction. And that sanction was upheld by the FA. Will this give courage to the rest of the officials to do what is right and protect players or is this an aberration?
Let's hope so! Bob

Brian Smith-White

The picture that shows exactly why a red was issued: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/jan/10/vincent-kompany-red-appeal-rejected . Kompany flicked his feet up as he went through. Kompany's goal was, in order of priority, first to intimidate Nani, second to get the ball, third to make contact with Nani. The ref was looking at the incident from a position to maximize viewing. There was no thinking by the ref - as soon as he started walking to the location the big, bad red boy jumped out of his pocket like it was spring-loaded.

r mccain

Currently I work almost exclusively with youth soccer (club and high school). I have sent off two-footed and other dangerous tackles without regard for the outcome and have been criticized by my peers for this as well as my disregard for whether early or late in match. I'm certainly not alone because those of us who attend regular training sessions are hearing the message about player safety and actually doing something about it. I was reminded of the importance of presentation when selling this call. Mr Probert deliberated and within a moments time resolutely held the card high while moving directly to the area of the foul. It was a real reminder to me of how important it is to honor the game and the laws for the good of all regardless of the criticism directed towards us. It hasn't all been negative. Good players and really good coaches have responded well when the laws are enforced consistently and fairly throughout a match, and player safety is a high priority. I have felt that reward and it is deeply satisfying.

Urstwin Schwingensteiler

Yes, the pundits, and the Kompanies of the world need to adapt.

BUT, FIFA needs to look over the consequences too, that is adapt too.

The step from yellow to red is too dramatic now that reds are dished out more often due to the harsher adherence to the rule work.

I think there in now a need for an "orange" card. The player receiving an orange card gets sent off for the match (and perhaps 1 match additionally, automatically), but his/her team gets, say, 30 (exact number could be discussed) mins one-man down, but can replace the orange card sent off player after those 30 mins with a new player.

G. Luke

Having listened to a lot of commentary from BBC pundits and assorted other podcasts (I highly recommend The Guardian's "Football Weekly" and thefootballramble.com) the over riding theme seems to be a call for consistency. Opinion has been split on the Kompany tackle, but most everyone has compared it to other, seemingly worse tackles (Lampard's recent shocker)that have gone unpunished or have been punished to a lesser degree. The main complaint is that no one really knows what is acceptable and what is not.

The English FA could do with following the lead of the USSF and instituting something like the "Week in Review," where decisions, right or wrong, are highlighted and an official interpretation and position is posted for all to see.

US Soccer and the MLS have also recently instituted a team/mentor system whereby the referee crews are assigned together throughout the season and are paired with one mentor/assessor. The intended result is that the crew develops a better understanding and gets consistent feedback from one source.

Now, I know that we, as American referees, don't get anywhere near the respect of our English counterparts. However, I think the FA could benefit from US Soccer's example in being candid and transparent about the performance and expectations of the referees at our highest level.

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