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COMMENT: The FA's own rules and explanation mean they must rescind Gabriele Angella's red card
Below is a comment piece written by deputy sports editor Frank Smith on Watford's bizarre red card on Saturday and the events which should unfold this week.
Gabriele Angella's red card at the weekend must be rescinded - The FA's own rules and subsequent explanation for the dismissal mean they have no choice.
Those in the press box at the Goldsands Stadium on Saturday knew something was wrong immediately after Angella was sent off in the contest between Bournemouth and Watford.
When referee Carl Boyeson awarded a penalty an hour into the match, he had two potential reasons. It could have been for Fitz Hall's tug on Lewis Grabban's shirt or for Joel Ekstrand's tackle on the Bournemouth striker.
The referee did not award the spot kick initially, it was his assistant who persuaded Boyeson to blow his whistle and the assistant immediately indicated it was for a pull on Grabban's shirt.
So based on the above events, it appears Hall should have been the one sent off if a red card was going to be handed out.
Therefore the only possible explanation for Angella being dismissed would be if the Italian had used foul or abusive language as the officials discussed their decision or if there had been an off-the-ball incident. However, that possibility was quashed this morning when the FA's website stated Angella had received a one-match ban under Law 12 section five, which is for "denying 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".
It appears to be a clear case of mistaken identity so what happens now?
Well Watford had until 1pm today to inform the FA if they were going to lodge an appeal due to mistaken identity and all evidence has to be submitted by 1pm tomorrow. The FA are very strict on the time frames and claims launched after those deadlines will not be considered.
The FA refused to confirm whether Watford had appealed, stating it was the club's job to do so and, at present, the Hornets have remained tight-lipped, however, we understand Watford have launched a claim for mistaken identity.
In such instances, The FA guidelines say the club's evidence must include a DVD of all available angles and a signed statement from the player sent off, in this case Angella, stating he was not the one involved and identifying who was. In such cases The FA also welcome written statements from the player who did commit the offence where possible.
The DVD and written statements are the only evidence used by the regulatory committee when making the decision, according to The FA.
Claims are dealt with before the club's next match so the club will know if Angella is eligible for Saturday within a couple days.
When a club does not lodge a claim, The FA can request a commission to do so within seven days and if the governing body decides the club attempted to gain an advantage by not notifying the FA about the case of mistaken identity, they could be charged with misconduct.
It is worth noting that the result of a mistaken identity claim cannot be appealed, although in this instance it would be remarkable if The FA do not find in Watford and Angella's favour.
Red cards can be transferred to the correct player though so the only one who is unlikely to be happy at The FA's decision is Fitz Hall.
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