West Ham Striker Dismissal Divides Opinion: Following Orders But Not Common Sense?

Time for a rule change?

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Frederic Piquionne’s red card at Goodison Park yesterday has been the subject of much debate with the referee, Peter Walton, heavily criticised for dismissing the West Ham United striker.
The decision has been labelled a ‘nonsense’, a ‘joke’ and one which proves that ‘referees haven’t played the game’. One thing it wasn’t labelled was correct.

Yes, it’s a stupid rule and, yes, it’s time the FA reviewed its stance on this aspect of the game but the one person who should avoid criticism in this episode is Mr Walton.

Week in, week out, fans and pundits bemoan the lack of consistency in decisions made by our referees. Some say this adds to the game and some would argue that standards need to be maintained. Last week, in the game between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, Rafael da Silva, the United full back, got a booking for a tackle on Wilson Palacios of Spurs. He got the ball, but the manner in which he threw himself into the tackle could, on another occasion, have seen him dismissed.

Whether we like it or not, celebrating a goal by jumping into a section of your supporters is worthy of a yellow card and, perhaps most significantly in this argument, has been for some time. This is one of the few areas of the game that referee’s can maintain the consistency that is so often demanded of them by all of us connected with the game.

Suppose, for argument’s sake, that Piquionne had not been given a second yellow card and remained on the pitch and, in their next Premier League fixture away to Blackpool, he scores the winning goal or has a performance that is decisive in a West Ham victory. Would Blackpool feel aggrieved? Of course they would.
Sometimes, whether it qualifies as common sense or not, you have to just accept the decision and accept that the referee is bound, by the laws of the game, to make them.

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