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:
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 theguardian.com