Stakeholders Divided on ‘New Red Card Rule’

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Flashback- Nimba United boss Adolphus Dolo in disagreement .jpg

It is hard for some administrators of football clubs to agree to the rules and regulations of the 2014/2015 National League which are to be amended for the 2nd phase of the League.

This involves the reduction of penalties for players who would be given a red card for committing a violent offence.

As a result there are understandable divisions amongst the 23 football clubs over the inaugural introduction of the new red-card.

According to the amended rules of the penalty for red cards, circulated on the 22nd of June, the LFA has ruled that players would only miss the game in which they are red carded, but would not be banned the following game.

Some of the clubs have described the LFA’s new red-card rule as controversial and does not meet international standard.

They argued that the new rule would make players vulnerable to injury and panic to score.

The Secretary General of the LFA, Alphonso Armah and the Chairman on Competition, Ansu Dorley, in separate explanations said the decision was made by the Executive Committee, the highest decision making body in the absence of Congress, and their ruling was based on the shortness of the ‘league’ and a proposal from some of the stakeholders.

The two officials reiterated yesterday at the LFA headquarters during the LFA Cup (Knockout) 2nd Phase draw that the amended red-card rule is binding only on the game a player is red carded and could only be altered either by the Executive Committee or Congress, which is scheduled in October 2015.

Both men said amongst the 23 clubs, only BYC Football condemned the new red-card rule.

However, Armah said the teams would only be responsible to pay L$1,500 for the red card, while yellow card is L$750.

Mr. Adolphus Dolo, the Chairman of the Board of Nimba United; Mamie Kpoto – the President of Keitrace FC; the Secretary General of LISCR FC, Swen Bedell and the Administrative Manager of Monrovia Club Breweries, Eric Panton, in separate interviews expressed dissatisfaction over the ‘new red-card rule.

They argued that a player must be banned for at least one further match.

Mr. Dolo blamed the disunity amongst stakeholders for most of the “bad laws” from the LFA, while Mr. Wleh said the rule does not only fail to protect a player but also scare players from playing aggressively to win.

Madam Kpoto said some of the LFA decisions are intended to protect the interest of certain clubs – who are allies and cronies of the administration, while the Breweries’ administrative manager said the new red-card rule isn’t in the interest of fair football.

The LFA leagues, championship and knockout, are expected to close the end of the league – which means Congress’s decision would only affect the 205/2016 League.

In the past, red card is the heaviest punishment the referee can give a player. The offender must leave the field at once, and he may well be banned for at least one further match which depends on the gravity of the offense.

Once he is gone, he cannot be replaced by a substitute; his team must continue with one less player. In other leagues, like the English Premier League there is an automatic three-match ban, although players can appeal against this.

The offences that warrant a red card are defined in FIFA Laws of the Game, including being guilty of ‘serious foul play’ (for instance, a very dangerous tackle), violence, spitting on an opponent or other person and denying the other side an opportunity to score by handling the ball.

Others are denying the other side the opportunity to score by fouling a player, offensive or abusive language or gestures.

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