Chelsea’s appeal of Nemanja Matic’s suspension needs to fail 13

Chelsea have appealed the red card given to Nemanja Matic over the weekend in the hope of overturning the suspension that currently rules him out of the league cup final.

Anyone who has ever played football - at any level - has some sympathy for Matic.  Whilst the decision to send him off was unquestionably correct, his response to Ashley Barnes’ reckless, studs-first tackle at Stamford Bridge was very human.

We all know what it’s like: somebody wrongs you in the middle of a game and you suffer a fleeting loss of self-control which you immediately regret.  Barnes was the protagonist in that situation and Matic is really just responding to an opponent’s flagrant recklessness.

But, the laws being what they are, that is not reason in itself to overturn his ban.

Ashley Barnes needs to be punished, not only for his tackle on Matic but also for his part in the incident involving Branislav Ivanovic earlier in the same game.  That Barnes managed to escape justice during the actual game is very grating and it provided another example of the slipping refereeing standards in England, but that’s really a separate issue.

Consider the indirect repercussions of mitigating Matic’s reaction with Barnes’ obvious wrongdoing: essentially, The FA would be legitimising his response and creating a precedent which would allow players to react violently.  In a mild sense, it would permit a sort of footballing vigilantism.

The ‘greater good’ argument isn’t much consolation to Chelsea, but there’s just no way of reversing the decision without creating a troubling ambiguity in this area.

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