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Claus Bo Larsen, Danish international referee, respects FIFPro’s question marks concerning the issuing of a red card following the awarding of a penalty kick for the so called denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity. ‘It is punished very severely.’

 

FIFPro started a discussion after the sending off of Carlos Puyol following a supposed foul on Cesc Fabregas during the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final between Arsenal and Barcelona. Puyol and Barcelona were in fact punished three times, according to FIFPro.

  • because of the penalty;
  • because Barcelona had to continue playing with 10 men;
  • because of Puyol’s suspension for the return leg.

 

In FIFPro’s  view the second and third consequence as a logical result of the first measure – the awarding of a penalty kick – must be reviewed.

 

‘On the one hand I agree with FIFPro’s concerns’, reacted Claus Bo Larsen. ‘I am of the personal opinion that a direct red card from illegally taking away a goal scoring opportunity can be a harsh sentence. I usually give the example of the striker who skips the ball past the goalie, who instead of getting the ball, touches the player.’

 

‘In situations where the goalie is only going after the ball, I think it is far too harsh a sentence both sending him off and for instance giving him a two match ban. It is a small and not intended offence and it is punished very severely. But those are the rules. The referee just does what he has been asked to do’, Jensen said on the website of Spillerforeningen, the Danish players’ association. 

 

‘On the other hand, the direct red card has been introduced to penalize players that stop an opponent who would have been able to run straight for goal with the ball, or if a player one way or another brings discredit to the game. In situations like these, I am of the opinion that a sending-off is legitimate.’