Continuing from here, on Richard Dunne’s sending off in Manchester City’s 1-8 defeat to Middlesbrough, the BBC reported that “Dunne probably did not mean to catch Tuncay, who had met Chris Riggott’s pass on the edge of the area, but he did foul the Turkish striker and referee Phil Dowd was right to send him off.”
“A player, substitute or substituted player is sent off and shown the red card if he commits any of the following seven offences:
5. denies an obvious goalscoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick
Law 12 also provides that a free kick or penalty should be awarded if a player “tackles an opponent to gain possession of the ball, making contact with the opponent before touching the ball”
Therefore, as we have seen on many occasions, a player can be sent off for an unintentional foul which is neither violent nor dangerous, which changes the whole dynamic of the remainder of the game.
Where the foul occurs in the penalty box, the defending team is punished twice over – having a penalty awarded against it as well as having a player sent off.
There is no proportionality. More disturbingly, for no compelling reason, there is a draconian change to the basic dynamic of the game, a contest between two teams of 11.
If a player commits a foul thereby depriving an opponent of a clear goalscoring opportunity, wouldn’t it make more sense for the laws to provide that the referee should award a penalty, regardless of whether the offence took place within the penalty box? The attacking side is provided with an alternative goalscoring opportunity, but the dynamic of the remainder of the game is not changed unnecessarily.