No more scratching, Torres - FA amends video evidence loophole

No more scratching, Torres - FA amends video evidence loophole

The Football Association has closed the disciplinary loophole that saw Chelsea’s Fernando Torres escape action despite being caught on video scratching a rival player.

From November 22, the FA will be able to charge players even if match officials have seen part of the incident.

Torres escaped punishment for scratching Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen because the incident had been “partially seen” by an official even if the full seriousness of the actions had been missed – a case that prompted FA chairman Greg Dyke to take action to close the loophole.

The new rules will now cover:

* Acts of violent conduct that occur secondarily to a challenge for the ball.

* Off-the-ball incidents where one or more match official did see the players coming together, but the match officials’ view was such that none of them had the opportunity to make a decision on an act of misconduct that took place within that coming together.

The FA’s move to ban Fulham’s Sascha Riether for stamping on Manchester United’s Adnan Januzaj was not taken under the latest rules, however, as they only come into effect after the international break.

Riether’s case was dealt with via a three-man panel of former elite referees which was brought in during the summer to look at video evidence and in that incident no officials saw the stamp.

FA director of governance Darren Bailey said: “This enables the FA to consider acts of violent conduct, like an elbow or a stamp, which have occurred after a challenge for the ball or coming together of players.

“It is sometimes difficult for officials to see such incidents, as they are often concentrating solely on the challenge for possession of the ball, and we are mindful of this.

“Also, where off-the-ball incidents are concerned, the policy adjustment will allow action to be taken where an act of misconduct could not have been seen by the match officials, even though they may have seen some part of the players coming together.

“This is an important step forward for the game and provides an appropriate level of discretion for the FA to consider action. However, we remain of the view that the best outcome for all is that referees are able to make correct judgements on the day to benefit the teams involved.”

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