Every football fan has been there and said "That's never a red card!", either in the stood in the stadium or sat at home and shouted it at the TV loud enough so the ref can actually hear you, haven't we? No? Just me?
This midweek round of fixtures we saw David Luiz and Jan Bednarek sent off for questionable decisions.
Both of these decisions were taken by the on field Referee and then given the go ahead by VAR, or so we're led to believe.
David Luiz can consider himself very unlucky, he's running back to try and get back in position and Willian Jose has caught his knee as they are both sprinting full speed. Ok, David Luiz seems to be out of position more than he’s in it since he pulled on the Arsenal shirt, but every defender is caught out of position at some point. It is a penalty as Jose could and should have scored from there had there not been contact but the double jeopardy of the red card for Arsenal is a shocker. In the new rules of penatly jeopardy, if he’d have tried to play the ball and wiped Jose out, then he’d have only got a yellow card, but because the referee deemed him not to have made an attempt to play the ball, its red? Crazy!
Its an accident at worst, he hasn't swiped his legs to trip him, or committed a cynical foul , its a coming together, a 'footballing incident', or in real terms part and parcel of the contact sport that is football. Arteta and Arsenal were right to try and appeal this, however it was announced this evening that this red card will stand.
If you look at it from the FA's point of view, they don’t really have to do a lot besides listen to a team moaning that all referees are against them and they feel hard done to, the referee is at fault for the 90 minutes of poor football. They have their Elite level referees, both on the pitch and manning the VAR screens in Stockley park, so how can they overturn it? Red card appeals should be a thing of that past, right? Why would anything need to be overturned if all of these professionals are looking at it and agreeing on the decision at the time?
However, on the same FA announcement they decided to rescind the red card for Jan Bednarek. This incident was very similar to the David Luiz one, maybe even marginally more contact between Bendarek and Martial, than there was with Luiz and Jose. Mike Dean, the man who gives red cards as Christmas cards, decided that it was only a penalty. No further action needed to be taken. That was until he had Graham Scott at Stockley Park in his ear that he needs to give a red card. He’s made the decision at Stockley Park and Mike Dean plays the part of puppet and goes along with it.
The pitchside monitor is all for show in my opinion. Have you ever seen a referee go to the pitch side monitor and stick with the decision they gave? No, because VAR always says there needs to be something more done. Once Stockley Park make the decision then the referee has to go with it and take all of the on field arguments and pundit criticism for it. The on field referees are in a no win situation here.
If these Stockley Park officials are making decisions using every piece of technology known to man, then how come somebody else can come in and look at it a couple of days later and say it was wrong? What they‘re saying is that the man on the field and the man that was sat looking at it were both wrong. They failed in their duties as a referee, so do they get dropped for the next round of games? No. It gets glazed over, forgotten about, and we just continue having to stomach VAR.
The FA has given the referees a clear idea of what to look for, what should be done about decisions and the way to give feedback to the on field referee, but it just doesn't seem to be working.
The rescinding of the Bednarek red card but not David Luiz is just highlighting the inconsistency, both in refereeing standards and with VAR.
I also think its an admission from The FA that VAR DOES NOT WORK.