A red card issued to Sounders FC forward Obafemi Martins last week against Chivas USA has been rescinded by an independent review panel. You can watch the play here.
Martins will no longer be fined or face a one-game suspension, meaning he is eligible for Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Whitecaps. The review panel consists of one representative each from the U.S. Soccer Federation, Canadian Soccer Association, and Professional Referees Organization (PRO).
More on the red card review process is available here.
Here are thoughts on the successful appeal from coach Sigi Schmid:
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(Do you think the successful appeal is a commentary on the red card decision?) “Like I said, nobody cared about my opinion the first time. I don’t think they care now. We’re happy that the process works. It’s a process that was established this year. We decided that we were going to pursue it and take advantage of that opportunity, because we thought there were some things to look at. Obviously the process worked and the card got rescinded.”
(What is the process like?) “Well, it’s a process where you’re allowed to go and have them look into a card situation that happened in a game. You’ve got to make sure it’s not a frivolous thing, so you’re not pursuing things that really have no merit. They have a check and balance system set up so you don’t do that because there are fines and punishments that result in that. But if you have a case, they’re willing to listen to it. Just as they’re willing to add onto games when somebody does something, they’re willing to listen to it if there was maybe something maybe didn’t deserve that card. In this case, it proved out.”
(Did you actually talk to someone or is it through something like email?) “You present your case. You present your case and then they look at the play. In some cases I think they talk to the individuals involved, as well. The union is involved also. The union is protecting the rights of the players, so if they think it’s a frivolous pursuit, they can sort of stop that pursuit on behalf of the club. The club might want to say, ‘We want to pursue it,’ but they say, ‘This isn’t really one to pursue.’ You have to align all those things, so there are a lot of things that take place in terms of reviewing the play, in terms of submitting an appeal, and also in terms their work of either interviewing people or talking to people.?
(Do you think it can be a win-win situation to have situation referees just not work games of certain teams?) “No comment really on that. I think the referees get assigned by the league and they determine whose game they’re going to referee. I try and stay out of that. I’ve got enough problems.”