The recent furore around different interpretations of laws in football has led to even larger feuds between football fans. It begs the question about whether or not the referees understand the laws, and whether the FA themselves even understand their own laws.
It's not a lot to ask for a bit of consistency, when within a month we see Frank Lampard escape a red card for a dangerous tackle against Wolves, before Vincent Kompany is sent off for a ball-winning tackle, albeit two-footed, against Manchester United. Then just three days Glen Johnson escapes without even conceding a free-kick for a similar tackle to that of Kompany's on Wednesday night.
I don't like to get pedantic but for the purposes of the article I'm going to have to. I tried not to be biased on Sunday, but being a United fan against City, it's difficult not to. I thought nowadays that referees were told to clamp down on two-footed challenges, whether the ball was won or not, which is why I initially agreed with Chris Foy's decision, and agreed with Roberto Mancini last night when he asked what was so different about Johnson's tackle compared to Kompany's.
The law states a red card can be given in a two-footed tackle if the referee believes excessive force has been used in the tackle. Looking at the replays, it's hard to argue that there was excessive force in either of the tackles, yet one was a red card and one wasn't even a free-kick. The fact referees show this inconsistency is frustrating for fans, and the fact the FA upheld Kompany's ban, therefore going against their own rulebook is equally frustrating, and a bit baffling.
It did get me a little how City fans were quick to jump on United fans about the red card, I personally wouldn't have sent Kompany off, neither would I have sent Johnson off, the interpretation of a 'dangerous' tackle these days is all too vague, any tackle is dangerous, ask Eduardo, or Aaron Ramsey. Theo Walcott dislocated a shoulder falling from an innocuous challenge a couple of years ago. Kompany & Johnson clearly won the ball and caused no harm to the opposition player, yet both were dealt with at separate ends of the spectrum.
I can have some sympathy with referees, there have been enough incidents in recent seasons where a red card has been produced for a two-footed tackle, and it does appear they've been asked to clamp down on this issue. I can at least understand why Foy sent Kompany off, whether people think that is right or wrong is up for debate, and whilst many don't agree, it baffles me how so many, not just City fans, can't understand why it was given.
It doesn't appear anymore there is a rulebook in football, each individual referee has his own interpretation of what warrants a red card and what doesn't, who's to say on a different week, Kompany would have escaped punishment Glen Johnson would be staring a three-match ban square in the face?
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