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PICTURE: Should Diego López Have Been Sent Off Too?

FIFA Law 12: “Reckless” means that the player has acted with complete disregard of the danger to, or consequences for, his opponent. A player who plays in a reckless manner shall be cautioned.

This seems to sum up fairly well the two incidents above. Both Diego López and Nani were trying to win the ball but both of them went in without considering the consequences for their opponent. Nani caught Alvaro Arbeloa with his studs, Diego López punched Nemanja Vidic in the head with both fists.

Nani got sent off and López wasn’t even booked.

FIFA Law 12: “Using excessive force” means that the player has far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent. A player who uses excessive force shall be sent off.

Whilst both Nani and López were in danger of injuring an opponent, neither of them used excessive force. This also rules out the sending off for “serious foul play”: A player is guilty of serious foul play if he uses excessive force or brutality against an opponent when challenging for the ball.

If we follow the Laws of the game, rather just opinion based on nothing other that what people personally believe should warrant a red card or not, at worst, Nani and López should have been booked.

FIFA Law 12: If a player plays in a dangerous manner in a “normal” challenge, the referee should not take any disciplinary action. If the action is made with obvious risk of injury the referee should caution the player. If a player denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity in a dangerous manner the referee should send off the player.

Graham Poll: Nani challenged for the ball with a raised foot and only had eyes for the ball but caught Alvaro Arbeloa. It looked like dangerous play and at worst a yellow card.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. NBI Red Onion says:


    The official will not face any immediate action from Uefa, with the governing body unconcerned by the storm surrounding him and happy to wait for reports into his display from the referee’s observer, Pierluigi Collina, and match delegate Rudolf Zavrl, both of whom were in attendance at Old Trafford.

    “We have no problem with him,” a Uefa spokesman said. “There are no issues for us regarding the sending off and we will wait for the official reports of the match delegate and the referee’s observer, as is procedure. If they raise concerns then we will act.”

    Asked if Cakir was in any danger of not referring again during this season’s Champions League, the spokesman added: “He remains on our list of officials.”

    Uefa has also confirmed that Nani will receive an automatic one-match European suspension following his red card and that United can appeal against the sanction only after the governing body’s disciplinary panel has meet to discuss the issue when, it is possible, the suspension could be raised.

    Cakir, meanwhile, flew back to Istanbul from Manchester on Wednesday morning and is scheduled to recommence refereeing duties in Turkey’s Super Lig this weekend.

    The insurance agent started officiating in his homeland’s top division 12 years ago before progressing to the Uefa Cup in 2008. He made his Champions League debut in September 2010, taking charge of a group match between Rubin Kazan and Barcelona that ended 1-1 and in which both goals came via penalties.

    Cakir has history with English clubs and players, having sent off Mario Balotelli during a Europa League match between Manchester City and Dynamo Kyiv in 2011, Steven Gerrard during England’s World Cup qualifier with Ukraine last September and Gary Cahill during Chelsea’s World Cup final defeat to Corinthians three months later.

    It was also Cakir who dismissed John Terry in the early stages of Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final, second-leg tie with Barcelona last season.

    The Turk, who is on Fifa’s long list to officiate at next year’s World Cup in Brazil, has a reputation for being card happy and prior to Tuesday he had shown another 11 red cards in the past 12 months, including three in a goalless draw between Fenerbahce and Galatasaray last May.

  2. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Petulance aside…. I can’t recall the time that a keeper has been carded for a punch out that cleared the box of a couple of players. They actually tend to do their own players as well. As long as the hands are up and it isn’t an elbow mind. So maybe one of you lot can remind me?!

    Costas, Cheers mate. Been saying similar all day. We controlled the game and real only had the one shot on goal. Everyone is saying Modric changed the game. That’s pathetic, he came on with us just a man down and just happened to be lucky enough to solve the issue of the open space. Then Real had a good 15 minutes after which we dominated again.

    Be very interesting what Collina and Rudolf Zavrl have to say in their reports. If they back the ref then english football is really in a heap load of trouble because, basically, we are doing it all wrong! :roll:

  3. NBI Red Onion says:

    @ andy – “NBI Onion………………….hardly. The ball was heading for the net so rules being rules, thats preventing a goal scoring chance. Red card any day of the week.”

    So red cards for all goalies then.

  4. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Actually the statements from UEFA are not a surprise.

    Decoded they say nothing but a typical official line:
    1. There was no evidence of gross manipulation that they picked up before the game.
    2. They are awaiting the reports from the 2 observers Rudolf Zavrl and Collina. After which there will
    be a review.

    Interestingly, they suggest that Nani could get off at the review, even if United don’t appeal the red.

  5. Canada says:

    Further proof UEFA are completely out of touch with the game and how it’s currently being played –

    UEFA has released a statement indicating they have no problem with the sending off.

    Sadly, the rest of the world has released statements that disagree completely you senile old cronies without a clue.

  6. Big Vex says:

    Roy Keane is a bitter old cunt who disgraced himself last night and deserves the fan backlash that has inevitably came his way.

    Shame the game was ruined by corrupt officiating but we’ll never die.

  7. andy says:

    NBI Red Onion………………

    Rafael is not a goalie so you cant say ‘red for all goalies then,’ as they (Goalkeepers) are the only ones ‘in play’ who are allowed to control the ball with their hands!

    Check the rules pal.

  8. Ajie says:

    move on mates….nothing will change..on our side, we have done brilliantly….we have a lot of chances to score…Welbeck, RvP, Vidic, & Roo all got strikes…but the ball not goes in..until the ref make it worst & destroyed the game…now, focus on PL & FA Cup…keep the red flag flying high…gud luck lads…& mates..

  9. SL says:

    Why didnt nani let the ball bounce if he didnt know arbeloa was coming? Normally any player would have done that.

  10. Mahesh says:

    What is the point of this debate anymore? As SAF himself likes to say, things even themselves out – well, they actually don’t, because not to situations are exactly the same, but this is football – unfortunately, shit like this happens…football needs to evolve into the 21st century, where we have this thing called ‘technology’ you know!

  11. bbqbod says:

    I am so glad you have raise dthis point about the goalkeeper on vidic. when it happened i was saying surely thats a foul and a penalty? The ref did not even give it as a foul let alone a card. None of the pundits on tv even mentioned it! Sometimes I think i must have gone mad because I am seeing this shit, and all the so called experts are not! There was another incident in the match where Evra was fouled with a high raised boot on the thigh and although the fould was given – not even a yellow card was shown.


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