Wellington Phoenix seek legal advice to challenge Tim Payne’s ban after red card

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The Wellington Phoenix are seeking legal advice to see if the club can challenge a one-match ban handed to defender Tim Payne for his red card last weekend.

The Phoenix believe the incorrect process was followed by officials to off Payne on Saturday afternoon.

The All Whites defender was sent off early in the second-half of the Phoenix’s round 14 Isuzu UTE A-League match against the Perth Glory in Palmerston North, following intervention from the video assistant referee (VAR).

Payne was initially issued a yellow card by the on-field referee for a foul on Perth forward David Williams. The VAR then intervened and after a long consultation with the referee, Payne was issued with a straight red card.

Main photo: Tim Payne … suspended for one match.

The referee watches the replay from the sideline.

It is the Wellington Phoenix’s view that the VAR should not have got involved and due process was not followed.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) rules state:

“A video assistant referee (VAR)…may assist the referee only in the event of a ‘clear and obvious error’ or ‘serious missed incident’ in relation to:

  1. Goal/no goal
  2. Penalty/no penalty
  3. Direct red card (not second yellow card/caution)”

It is the club’s contention that there was no clear and obvious error made by the referee and therefore the VAR should not have intervened.

The video evidence provided, and the time taken to review the decision support the view that there was no ‘obvious error’.

Without the intervention of the VAR the yellow card given to Tim Payne would not have been upgraded to red.

It is the Phoenix’s contention that the officials did not follow the regulations as prescribed and therefore the red card should be voided.

The Phoenix submitted an obvious error application to Football Australia, which was considered by the A-League’s independent match review panel on Monday.

After due consideration, the panel determined no obvious error was made in the issuing of the red card and denied the club’s application.

Watch the incident

Tim Payne will serve a one-match suspension, being the minimum sanction for the offence.

However, it wasn’t in the match review panel’s remit to consider whether or not the VAR correctly intervened.

The club believes this is the key issue.

The Phoenix are seeking legal advice as there is no avenue to appeal Payne’s sanction.

Wellington Phoenix general manager David Dome is calling for additional funding and investment for referees.

“This needs to happen as a matter of urgency but there also needs to be a review of the disciplinary and dispute regulations that do not reflect the laws of the game,” Dome said.

“The VAR interventions often appear to arbitrary and certainly vary depending on who the officials are.

“There are regulations that officials need to follow and there needs to be consistency across the A-Leagues.

“Furthermore, the appeals process needs to be revised. Players are guilty until proved innocent and the natural law provision of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ does not seem to apply in the application of football regulations.”


This story is published with the help of the Wellington Phoenix.

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