September 3, 2013

Antony Gautier issues a Yellow Card ... and changes his mind

Antony Gautier issued one of the quickest red cards in the history of UEFA Europa League in the 2nd minute of the play-off tie between AZ Alkmaar and Atromitos. However, the procedure how he took this decision is remarkable: At first, he only issued a swift yellow card, then changed his mind after having seen the fouled player's injury, turned around and sent off Alkmaar's Henriksen with a red card.

The Laws of the Games define:
"The referee may only change a decision on realising that it is incorrect or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee or the fourth official, provided that he has not restarted play or terminated the match."

Gautier did not restart play and was thus allowed to change his mind. It is hence possible to correct his own decision in terms of disciplinary sanctions, even after having seen and assessed the injury of the player who was fouled. 
But certainly, he totally failed in selling this decision to the players. Instead of pointing to the injury of the player, he could have walked out to his assistant referee to express that there has been a conversation between them. This would in a way legitimate his decision on the pitch and would not undermine his authority. The way he behaved in this decision process is, at any rate, not adequate.


  1. Totally agree. Gautier probably consulted his quick decision with his assistant and should "sell" it far better. I understand his quick reaction, he just wanted to appear as confident with his foul detection and show a clear sign by booking the guilty player, that reckless tackles won't be allowed. He could change his mind and did so, however should do it better. Of course, small point for improvement, no real mistake.

    1. I almost agree with you, NO REAL MISTAKE but for me BIG point for improvement, not SMALL.
      You must appear reliable under the eyes of the players, you can of course change decisions, consulting your assistants, but you MUST wait prior to show a card. You have to be sure.
      Collina is surely not satisfied with this scene...

  2. Anonymous3/9/13 21:35

    If i agree you to be sure prior to give yellow card, i just disagree you with consulting your assistants to sell your decision.

    Issuing yellow or red card is sole ref's responsability unless to be called by your assistant.

    No need as he was sure for yellow but just checked the injury.

    To inform you, in France there is a ref committee instruction which allows to issue red card in case of serious injury.

    The purpose is to make the right decision even if the process can be improved

    1. Tony Chapron did so, too, at U17 World Cup 2011 in one of his matches. And surprise, he was sent home by FIFA..


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