Red Card or Not: Chris Foy and Tottenham

Well, that didn’t take long.

Chris Foy dished out the first red card of the Premier League season right at the thirty minute mark of the West Ham v. Tottenham match, when he sent off Kyle Naughton for a handball in the box.

The call itself was pretty straightforward: Naughton was swinging his arms above his head, seemed to make no effort to get them out of the way of the shot, and then – purposefully or not – turned his body and directed the ball out of play with his forearm.

Here’s the play, complete with Mark Noble’s rare penalty miss:

It was when Foy – after consulting his linesman – sent Naughton off that “controversy” ensued. According to the announcer, the penalty was correct, but the sending off was “harsh” and “common sense dictates” that he shouldn’t have seen red.

What utter rubbish.

First of all, there’s no common sense in football! There is, however, the Law, and it’s pretty darn clear in this case.

Before I show you that, though, let’s be clear on what happened here:

There were two decisions for Foy to make. The first was whether or not the penalty should be awarded due to a deliberate handball. No problem on that one. Though Naughton will naturally claim differently and no one knows his intent, the above evidence is enough for most referees to call the handball deliberate.

The second was if the handball denied a clear goalscoring opportunity. Watch the replay again. The West Ham player is clear to goal; the only things between him and Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris were Naughton’s flailing arms.

And the Law states:

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 10.59.35 AM

There’s not much wiggle room there. There’s no “common sense” test. There’s no option for the referee to give a yellow or a stern talking to (as was suggested it should be on Twitter). If the handball is deliberate (and he’d already said it was) and the handball prevented a goalscoring opportunity (which it did) the red card naturally has to follow.

It sucks, to be honest, and the triple punishment (penalty kick, sending off, suspension) will continue to be a point of contention. But Chris Foy has to make the call based on the Law, not on emotion or whether he feels sorry for Spurs (I wish).

Red Card or Not: Red Card

On  a separate note: Chris Foy’s positioning is fucking terrible. Granted, he probably couldn’t have prevented this last season, but he was hit by the ball twice in this game. The first nearly cost West Ham a goal when the ball bounced off him right into a Tottenham counterattack.

So what do you think? Should Kyle Naughton have been sent off?

Featured Photo: Julian Fenney/Getty via


  • I agree, Jenna. Definitely a red card. Announcers/commentators usually don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to refereeing…

    Liked by 1 person

  • Red Card. There shouldn’t be any discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

  • YoSiUsoLasTarjetas

    No, no, and no!!! lol
    The offence defines that the opportunity must be obvious and I cannot see an angle which shows that the ball was definitely on target or that Hugo Lloris might not have saved the effort. Where doubt exists the referee really should not dismiss a player and I think Spurs have a case to appeal the red card.


    • First of all, again….read the commenting guidelines. I’m starting to get bored saying that to you.

      Second, if you want to quote Graham Poll, fine, but let us know you’re doing that…

      I had a long response written, but when I realized you plagiarized Graham I’m not going to bother. Suffice it to say that I saw this game at a local movie theater on a huge screen with a bunch of other Spurs fans, and none of us were arguing. This was going in if it hadn’t been for Naughton directing the ball away with his arms.

      One more time, please read my commenting guidelines.


    • BTW, the “obvious error” is a pretty high bar to getting a suspension overturned.

      Unless the rules changed, Spurs had til 1pm the first working day to appeal, and I’m seeing no evidence that they did. I would expect this not to be overturned.


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