Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has reportedly reacted angrily to the news that John Terry’s red card has been rescinded. Fergie’s tantrum – which measured ‘aubergine’ on the purple face-ometer – is because he has heard rumours that referee Mark Halsey wanted to stand by his decision.
The tale Fergie relates is that referee boss Keith Hackett stepped in to force Halsey to rescind the red card and demoted the official to League Two duties this week when he refused to do so. Halsey’s argument was that the red card was not for a professional foul, but purely based on the cynical nature of Terry’s block on Manchester City forward Jo. He added: “I just don’t understand how this could have happened. If it had been a Manchester United player, Hackett would never have done this for us.”
Luis Felipe Scolari has said he is surprised by the decision to reverse the sending off, but only because he did not expect it and not because he agreed with the original red card. I fall down on the side of Chelsea and Hackett on this (there must be a first time for everything). As far as I am aware, being cynical is not a red card offence unless you are the last defender. Terry was not violent (told you, first time for everything), he just stopped Jo. The nature of the foul was that it was carried out for professional reasons, but according to the laws at present it did not constitute a professional foul. The foul merited a yellow card because it was in the same ‘foul genre’ as shirt-pulling.
Perhaps FIFA needs to alter the laws on the professional foul if they do want to incorporate incidents such as the Terry foul. There is no doubting that it spoilt the football and prevented Manchester City continuing a very promising attack. Having said that, if a new ‘cynical foul’ red card offence was introduced, I am not sure I could cope with the increase in off-the-ball dives, and neither could the referees!
Is Fergie right? Are the authorities favouring Chelsea, or is he just being paranoid?