Yesterday evening a fantastic result from Spurs away from home was marred by ill disciplined incidents both on and off the pitch. Despite winning 1-0 away at the San Siro against a European giant, all of the post-match talk will surround Gattuso’s misdemeanours (twice!) and a horror tackle from Flamini.
For Gattuso there can be no excuse and he will surely be punished appropriately by UEFA. The incident that I would like to focus on however, and the rules that govern the incident, is the tackle of Flamini that caused Vedran Corluka to leave the stadium on crutches. How the referee judged the tackle only to be worthy of a yellow card I will never know. But he did and that, unfortunately, is the end of it. This is the bit that really galls me. The referee made a mistake and UEFA should have the power to go back and retrospectively upgrade the card to a red. Yet the rules, as I understand it, currently state that as the referee has taken action his decision is final. I find this totally absurd. Had he missed it altogether UEFA would have no trouble issuing the red card.
Let’s look at this a little closer. The referee missing the tackle (or indeed the assistant referee) would still be a mistake and UEFA would be able to act on that, so why not in the instance when he judged it wrongly? This assumption that referees are always correct is madness. This situation seems even more straightforward to me when you consider the type of tackle; this was not an arm across the face that may or may not have been intentional. No, this was a two footed, off the ground lunge that had behind it the full force of Flamini’s bodyweight. What’s more, this is exactly the type of tackle that UEFA and FIFA claim to be trying to stamp out of the game.
For me, this rule is a further example that the governing of this great sport is a laughing stock. It is almost mandated now that a player celebrating a goal by removing his shirt is rewarded with a yellow card, yet nothing can be done about a tackle that seriously injured another player. Thank goodness he wasn’t harmed further.