Foschini case a lesson in reading the fine print

by Mark van Aken on Nov 08, 2011

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Judging by the barrage of protest on my facebook network overnight and this morning, I suspect this blog might be a little unpopular. Certainly in the blue half — or should I say blue 85 per cent — of Melbourne.

If Victory fans or Matthew Foschini are upset by FFA’s ‘insult to injury’ punishment of the defender, after what looked, to me anyway, a soft red card in the club’s clash with Brisbane on Saturday, they need to look inwardly, and not at FFA.

Exactly who at the club thought it a good idea to challenge the red card ruling in the first place needs a Year 10-style lesson in law. Ultimately that’s what was at play here, a complete failure to read the instructions on the packet.

Do you think the card was soft? I do… but that’s immaterial. The only way you get out of a red is when an ‘obvious error’ has occurred. I.e player A has been sent off, when it was in fact player B who committed the offense. You throw in your paper work, the judiciary realises it was - say it with me - an obvious error, and it’s happy days.

The same is applicable in cases like young Aussie Chris Herd recently in the EPL. He was sent off for what the ref thought was stamping on an opponent. Video showed he did no such thing, and the card was rescinded.

In this case, whether you – like me – thought Foschini’s challenge deserved no more than a caution, there is no arguing he put in a poor tackle. Challenging this ruling was just dumb. Victory went in arguing there was a shade of grey in the incident, when the rules and regs are black and white.

It seems the club obviously didn't check the definition of 'Obvious Error' which means, amongst other things, the issuance of a red card when NO card was warranted. Under the definition, the issuance of a red card when a yellow card was warranted is not an 'Obvious Error'. FFA accordingly found their application to be frivolous (baseless) which seems correct according to the regs as it was a yellow card offence.

So punters can get angry at the ref for brandishing a red, when he might have shown a yellow. They can get angry with Foschini for his rush of blood. But as for the extra week he’ll be riding the pine, that anger needs to be focused firmly on the front office.