Keith Hackett column: Unpopular opinion but Vestergaard red card was correct

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I’m the first to criticise officials when I believe that they’ve got decisions badly wrong, however, it’s just as important to back them to the hilt when they are correct.

Another incident occurred in the Premier League over this past weekend which was certainly open to interpretation.

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Both Ralph Hasenhuttl and Jamie Redknapp have been quite vociferous in their condemnation of referee Rob Jones after he dismissed Southampton’s Jannik Vestergaard for his challenge on Leicester’s Jamie Vardy. There’ll certainly be others who share that view.

Not me.

It’s an unpopular opinion, but the player was correctly dismissed for the denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity.

You cannot use the ball as the decoy when making a challenge, and Vestergaard made contact with the ball and then Vardy.

In my opinion this foul was a careless challenge, and the law states that if an offence involves contact, it is penalised by a direct free-kick.

• Careless is when a player shows a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge or acts without precaution. No disciplinary sanction is needed.

• Reckless is when a player acts with disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, an opponent and must be cautioned.

• Using excessive force is when a player exceeds the necessary use of force and/or endangers the safety of an opponent and must be sent off.

Having decided that Vestergaard fouled his opponent the referee then needs to consider if the denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity criteria has been fulfilled.

Keith Hackett
Former Premier League and FIFA referee Keith Hackett is a columnist for

I firmly believe that the referee was correct to issue the red card.

Hasenhuttl in particular has argued that he doesn’t believe that Vardy would’ve got to the ball but I respectfully disagree.

I’m also satisfied that another defender wouldn’t have put in a challenge so I support the referee’s decision because of the DOGSO (denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity).

For clarity on this point, the law states: Where a player denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity the player is sent off when the foul challenge is outside the penalty area. The following must be considered:

• distance between the offence and the goal.
• general direction of the play.
• likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball.
• location and number of defenders.

After so many errors from PGMOL’s finest over the past few weeks, it makes a pleasant change to see that they can get it right when they trust their instincts and common sense is applied.

More of the same please.

More Stories Jamie Redknapp Jamie Vardy Jannik Vestergaard Ralph Hasenhuttl Rob Jones


  1. Idiot, just as well you are no longer refereeing. As everyone else points out Vardy was clearly not going to reach it before the goalkeeper even if he hadn’t been touched. So your argument fails completely on the third ground. The real tragedy is that Southampton have twice been denied the chance to play with a full side due to either incompetent or corrupt officials.

  2. So that means that you cannot have any physical contact in the sport at all. Win a header and lean on the opponent afterwards – FOUL.
    Dangerous when ex officials can come out with this stuff.

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