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First for new appeal process
by Paul Kennedy, May 9th, 2012 12:39AM
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TAGS:  mls, new england revolution


[MLS SUSPENSIONS] The MLS giveth and MLS taketh away. In a season during which its Disciplinary Committee has just about weekly been handing down ex post facto suspensions, the league did something unique. After the fact, it rescinded a red card shown New England Revolution forward Fernando Cardenas in the 81st minute of the Revs' game at Real Salt Lake. It marked the first successful appeal of a red card under MLS's new appeal process instituted this season.

An independent review panel -- consisting of representatives of the Canadian Soccer Association, the Professional Referee Organization (PRO), and U.S. Soccer -- unanimously determined that Cardenas was incorrectly shown the red card for a foul on fellow Colombian Jamison Olave.

New England appealed referee David Gantar’s decision. After examining the play, the panel determined that Gantar made an "obvious error" and MLS has rescinded the one-game suspension and fine for Cardenas.

“We’re very pleased Fernando Cardenas’ red card has been overturned and he will be available this weekend," said Revs General Manager Michael Burns. "When the red-card appeal process was introduced this offseason, teams knew that there was a high standard for the type of call that would be considered and that there were serious penalties for frivolous challenges. We’ve had what we’ve felt were a number of questionable calls against us this year. However, in this case, Fernando did not even make contact with the opposing player on Saturday and was still sent off for a ‘serious foul on a tackle.’ We disagreed with the call so vehemently that we felt we had no choice but to appeal. As the video confirmed and the review panel recognized, Fernando never made contact with the opposing player and his red card was correctly lifted.”

Meanwhile, the MLS Disciplinary Committee suspended Seattle Sounders defender Leo Gonzalez one game and fined him an undisclosed amount for stepping on the leg of prone Philadelphia Union defender Sheanon Williams late in Saturday's game.

  1. Mj Lee
    commented on: May 9, 2012 at 10:07 a.m.
    While I support the DC adding fines and suspensions, reversing a red card is a bad process. They are invalidating the refereee cimpletely. The problem is, MLS games do not have enough camera coverage to support this override process. Maybe the ref should wear a camera on his front and back! Next, teams will be asking the DC to change the score.
  1. Justin Motzkus
    commented on: May 9, 2012 at 10:17 a.m.
    Contrary to the above opinion, one of the problems facing MLS is that of referees determining games with bad calls. Refs should have some accountability, just as players must with flopping. Often, the camera situation is more than adequate.
  1. Mark N
    commented on: May 9, 2012 at 11:10 a.m.
    Agreed. Sometimes (like this one) there is plenty of video evidence, and sometimes not enough. There could be 500 cameras and still miss things. The review process does not "invalidate the referee completely," it gives the league more value by recognizing that 3 referees cannot possibly see everything perfectly in real time.
  1. Kenneth Barr
    commented on: May 9, 2012 at 12:26 p.m.
    Contrary to the point that overturns "invalidate" the referee's decision, this was a unanimous decision of a committee that included a representative of the ref's association. One question, does the assessor's report come into play during the review process?
  1. Ramon Creager
    commented on: May 9, 2012 at 4:11 p.m.
    I agree that this doesn't invalidate what referees do, just as post-hoc disciplinary action on activities the referee missed doesn't. Any good referee knows that in a case like this it is bam-bam and there is a possibility of getting it wrong, or of missing things. In this case the call exactly was backwards, and the player sent off did not even commit a foul. Who wouldn't want to rectify an injustice like this? And keep in mind, all this did was rescind his suspension. It doesn't change that he was sent off, or that his team had to complete the game a man down. This still leaves some murky areas. For example, the recent DCU at Toronto FC match featured an blatant DOGSO which the officials missed. Does the DC impose sanction for that?
  1. Kent James
    commented on: May 9, 2012 at 7:10 p.m.
    I think this is an excellent case for the recision of a red card. I don't think this invalidates the authority of the referee. If I were the referee, and I got the call wrong (which happens, and every ref knows it), I'd rather they correct the injustice rather than compound it. And it this case, it is perfectly understandable that the referee issued a red card. And it wasn't because Olgave was faking it; in the replay, you can see that although Cardenas does not make contact studs up on Olgave's shin (as it appears that he did in live play), he does end up landing on Olgave's ankle (which is why Olgave is clearly in pain). This was just one of those unfortunate incidents when a ref got a difficult call wrong. I don't think it shows a lack of ability on the ref's part (he was in the right spot, he made what he knew would be a tough call). I think it's great that the MLS can correct the injustice. Admitting when you're wrong is an important part of establishing credibility.

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