Referee was right, but here is why Huddersfield sending off against Norwich City was wrong

Murray Wallace of Huddersfield Town is sent off by referee Mark Brown during the Sky Bet Championshi

Murray Wallace of Huddersfield Town is sent off by referee Mark Brown during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Huddersfield defender Murray Wallace should not have been sent off for that ultimately game-changing foul on Cameron Jerome on Saturday, which left the away team down to 10 men with just 22 minutes on the scoreboard.

There, I've said it. I've taken the yellow and green tinted spectacles off for a moment to admit that at the time I didn't think it was right, and a few days later the feeling remains.

Yet referee Mark Brown got the decision absolutely spot on.

Confused? Don't be.

As far as the laws of the game are concerned, the official did everything right. A professional foul occurs when a player 'denies an obvious goal scoring opportunity' by fouling his opponent. Wallace did just that and the laws further state this is punishable by a red card.


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And that's where my problem comes. Should such an offence warrant such an outcome?

The rules of the game appear to have been drawn up largely adopting the mantra that the punishment should fit the crime. That's why a foul near to the opponents' goal (where a chance is more likely to occur) leads to a penalty, but one near the half-way line doesn't.

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The professional foul punishment is based on the fact it is highly likely the offender has prevented a goal. But is it fair that the illegal prevention of a possible goal results in the permanent expulsion of a 10th of that team's outfield?

To me it isn't. One goal is not as likely to change the whole course of the match as a sending off does, and that's where the imbalance comes.

Put me in charge of the game (if you dare) and that's one area I'd review.

Instead of a professional foul leading to the offender missing the remainder of the match, I'd consider introducing a 30-minute sin-bin. Serious foul play (violence, spitting etc) would still warrant the same treatment as now.

The governors of our beloved game appear to want to tinker with the rules much less than other sports have been willing to do in the past. They either go by the adage 'if it isn't broke don't fix it', or they're too busy wining and dining each other to be bothered. I suspect it's probably a bit of both and a lot of complacency.

But that doesn't mean the discussions shouldn't take place so, in a diversion from the usual Canary chat, I've decided to list a few other areas which could be worth a debate.

Make it so three yellow cards, not two, warrant a red. If tackles that used to be part and parcel of the game now warrant a yellow card, this could put an end to some of the many weak sendings-off we see. It would also provide more scope to clamp down on offences like time-wasting. A 10- or 15-minute sin-bin could always be introduced for two yellows.

Follow the lead of rugby and introduce a rule where the free-kick gets moved forward 10 yards for persistent dissent. We'd soon see it stop.

The use of the cricket-style Hawkeye system, but teams get only two attempts a game and can only use when the ball is out of play. I'm against the stop start nature of full blown TV replays – but this seems a decent halfway meeting point.

At the professional level of the game an unrestricted review system so cards can not only be handed out post match, but rescinded as well.

A microphone attached to referees and their assistants so we can hear what they are saying. This could help fans to understand why certain decisions are made.

The reward of an extra point if you score more than two goals and an extra point for an away victory. Would this make teams less likely to try and set their stall out for a draw and therefore make matches more open and entertaining?

These are ideas for discussion, not a blueprint for the game. I'd love to know what laws you would change. Tweet me @david_powles or email david.powles@archant.co.uk

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