Ask the Ref - Kompany vs Johnson


In our latest Ask the Ref feature, we speak to some of the JC MSFL's leading officials to get their view on some of this week’s major talking points – namely the Vincent Kompany red card in the Manchester derby and the Glenn Johnson challenge in the Carling Cup semi-final first leg.


"With regards to both decisions, the only acceptable argument is the consistency of the two referees outcomes of the challenges. Firstly, lets remind ourselves of the law and guideline that governs tackling. It reads: "A player is guilty of serious foul play if he uses excessive force or brutality against an opponent when challenging for the ball when it is in play. A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as serious foul play. Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force and endangering the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play".

The Kompany challenge - as soon as Kompany lunges in the way that he does he is asking the referee to determine whether he is endangering the safety of an opponent. The angle with which Chris Foy viewed the tackle (which is similar to the camera angle from behind the goal) clearly shows a "lunge", with both feet off the ground, and there is very little to support the player not using "excessive force" Therefore no arguments that it is deemed Serious Foul Play and thus being sent off.

The Johnson challenge ticks the same boxes of severity, however it is Lee Mason's proximity to the tackle that denies him the same perspective viewed by the first challenge, hence why he did not see the lunge with both feet. That does not make it correct of course, it simply explains the inconsistance of the two decisions.

Naturally that does not mean it is acceptable for a tackle like that to go unpunished - whether there is any retrospective actions remains to be seen and is determined by the referees report. What is consistant with these two challenges, along with what should have included the Lampard one (vs Wolves) and Rodwell (vs Liverpool) is we believe this type of tackling is acceptable in England and is our "style or game", but tackles like these in the Champions League or World Cup are not tolerated, and like it or not deemed worthy of red cards. Perhaps England has to catch up with the rest of the world. Adam Lewis


"In my opinion, although there was no serious injury in either incident, these challenges do pose a serious risk to injury and therefore must be dealt with appropriately.

Generally, when a player commits a two-footed challenge, they are not in control of their actions. They tend to be off the ground and therefore not able to pull out.

The Laws of Association Football clearly state ‘A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as serious foul play’ – Law 12.

Quite simply serious foul play is a red card offence.

"Should Nani, who was on the receiving end of the challenge committed by Kompany have been seriously injured, there would be no debate as to whether the offence was a red card and I’m sure most would be in agreement of the resulting action by the referee.

"The situation was perhaps made worse by Lee Mason, who was the referee between Manchester City versus Liverpool earlier this week, where he failed to show Johnson a red card. I believe he should have been sent for an early bath. Although Johnson did attempt the tackle from the side, he was still not in control of his actions. He was off the ground with both feet outstretched. Unfortunately, we may never know why Lee Mason didn't take the appropriate action as required by Law; referees aren’t permitted to speak to the press.

"Referees are human and will make errors which is all the more reason why retrospective action should be taken after the game.

"In both cases, a red card should have been issued. There is no case for appeal and no reason why." Gary Silver


"It all depends on what the referee saw in a split second.

"For the Kompany one, he was not that close and it looked bad, but then on TV later it didn't look so bad.

"The Johnson one was at an angle, yes, two-footed and studs, but the player was not in front of him and he got the ball not the man.

"It's a split-second decision and I put it down to the refs split-second view. That's why it is so important to be up with play and give an honest assessment." Neal Cohen


"For me, the Johnson challenge was actually worse than the Kompany one. Kompany's trailing leg was away from Nani and therefore was not dangerous, for me. His challenging foot actually goes in from the side, using the instep, rather than studs.

"Johnson went in two-footed, studs-up and jumped in at Lescott. He was off the floor, not in control of his body.

"I'm not sure how the referee justified not sending Johnson off if I'm honest.

"Individually, both challenges can be justified in their own way, but I think in the current situation (Lampard, Kompany and now Johnson), the referee's are coming under more scrutiny about this type of challenge. It also didn't help that it was against City, just days after Kompany's sending off.

"However, referee's are only human. Firstly, everybody makes mistakes. Players, coaches and officials. I think it's unfair for players and the media to expect every single decision throughout 90 minutes of football to be perfect. No referee intentionally makes an incorrect decision though.

"Secondly, every referee is different. Two officials might see exactly the same challenge but disagree on how it should be dealt with. That's the human nature of officiating. If people want complete consistency throughout, then all officiating will have to be done electronically, which I don't think anybody wants to see." Dan Cohen

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