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FA panel details ‘very challenging case’ to rescind Son red card

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Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-Min (C) reacts after his involvement in an incident that resulted in an injury to Everton’s Portuguese midfielder André Gomes during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on November 3, 2019. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

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The English FA’s Independent Regulatory Commission has released rare details of its majority decision to overturn the red card shown to Son Heung-min for his challenge which resulted in Andre Gomes suffering a dislocated ankle earlier this month, calling their deliberations “a very challenging case”.

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The panel chose not to consider the injury to Everton’s Gomes when judging the case against Tottenham Hotspur’s Son, which was a controversial stance in the minds of some. Having the benefit of hindsight and instant replay — the latter of which referee Martin Atkinson could have used, but chose not to do so — the injury could be seen as the only reason Son was sent off.

“Having viewed the available footage of the incident on numerous occasions and in great detail, the regulatory commission agreed by majority decision that the referee had erred in his interpretation of the incident.

“The majority noted the speed with which the challenge was made, that the player had not been airborne and interpreted the challenge as a sliding tackle as opposed to a lunge.

“It was concluded that Son had made a challenge on Gomes which would warrant no more than a caution rather than a straight red card.”


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The lone dissenting member of the panel described their view of the incident as “a late slide followed by a secondary movement which tripped Gomes and caused the awkward fall and subsequent collision. This secondary movement of Son’s left leg served ultimately to endanger the safety of his opponent pursuant to Law 12. Based on all the considerations the minority view was not satisfied that a dismissal was outside the reasonable range of actions for the referee to meet the obvious error test.”

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