Authorities Fudge On Most Issues Regarding Arsenal Red Card Farce


After the controversy that surrounded the red card that was mistakenly given to Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs rather than teammate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, questions remain unanswered and the debacle remains murky to say the least.

The FA and the ‘Professional Game Match Officials Limited’ haven’t really dealt with the matter in the best way. They have decided to sweep the whole matter under the carpet.

They have placated Arsenal by deciding to let both players get off with any punishment. Now obviously Gibbs did nothing wrong, so it makes sense that his ban should be rescinded. As for Oxlade-Chamberlain, they have decided, based on TV evidence, that he wasn’t denying a goal scoring opportunity. Now my point would be, will the FA look at every challenge/handball as closely as this one? (The striker Eden Hazard was hitting a shot at goal and Oxlade-Chamberlain stuck out his had intending to stop a goal.)

But if the FA were to act consistently on these matters then that’s fine (I don’t think that they do). I just get the feeling this was a ‘special case’ and the FA decided act on it on that basis. For example say referee Andre Marriner had sent off the right player would he have had his ban over-turned? I doubt it.

The┬áProfessional Game Match Officials Limited have also decided that Mr Marriner shouldn’t be punished any further over the incident. Again this seems to be an easy way out. The refereeing organisation really needed to get in the ref and all of his fellow officials (from the game) this week and find out just what went wrong. No one comes out looking good when they make such a huge mistake.

Rather than holding that inquiry and standing Marriner down for a week or two, they decide to give him a Premier League match this weekend. Surely when we make mistakes we get punished for them and deal with the consequences. If a player makes a snap in the moment mistake that say prevents a goalscoring opportunity then that player gets punished by giving away the foul and getting a card. Referees should be held to the same standards.

I’m not saying leave poor Mr Marriner and his fellow officials out to dry. But have a meeting with them, make sure they are ok and then give them a week off to get over the mistake. It would probably be for his own good as well as it would let the story die down a bit more.


Now its a touchy subject but racism also has to be mentioned. Gibbs must have thought about it as he trudged off when he knew he was sent-off because of his skin colour. The players have different numbers on their back (15 & 28), Gibbs is slightly taller and they have very different body builds. Look above and you clearly see Gibbs is a lot slighter standing beside the stocky Oxlade-Chamberlain. Is it really too much to ask for the officials to see these differences? This is why an immediate inquiry could have reassured clubs, players and fans quickly.

Another point I would like to raise is who did the ref take his advice from when sending off the wrong individual? Its been said that it was a linesman. But can’t we have the ref in the stands communicating from his seat after watching the incident on TV? We had plenty of time for this to happen and it would have saved a hell of a lot of embarrassment all round.

We also have to question just why Marriner didn’t listen to the players when Oxlade-Chamberlain confessed it was he and not Gibbs that committed the handball.

Former ref Graham Poll said this in support of Marriner…

“Players can largely be trusted but there are many, many incidents where they can’t,”

But in these cases players won’t lie to the ref. Mainly because they don’t want their teammates to take the blame and miss out because of their stupidity.

Poll then added this…

“You have to go on what you have seen, or believe you have seen, unless there is evidence to the contrary.”

But there was evidence to the contrary with the confession from the actual culprit. Should a player lie and take the red card so a better player stays on then throw the book at both footballers, giving them large fines and five game bans. I would say trust the players on these types of incidents until they lose that trust by lying.

As I said previously I think the footballing authorities have swept all this failure under the carpet and I don’t think that is consistent with how they deal with players, managers and clubs. I will say it till I am blue in the face that governing bodies have to be held accountable for their actions and failures, they also have to be transparent and consistent.

3 Responses to “Authorities Fudge On Most Issues Regarding Arsenal Red Card Farce”

  1. I would definitely like to know who gave the decision, the referee clearly gives a corner to start with then puts his hand to his ear piece. and then gives the penalty while the linesman stands still with his flag pointing at the ground indicating nothing.

  2. The red card rule was brought out to stop the use of professional fouls when players were content to foul an attacker to prevent a goal. They were invariably yellow carded, but unless the foul was committed in the penalty box, the outcome was a yellow card and no goal. The red card rule says that if a defender commits a foul ( if it is a foul upon a player and he is the last man between the offender and the goal ) and thereby prevents a goal scoring opportunity, he gets a red card. In this case the goalscoring opportunity had already been taken and missed. The foul was committed in the penalty box, so it was a penalty. To send the player off was to penalise him twice.

  3. I agree Victor but refs & FA are never consistent on these issues.

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