Referee Neil Swarbrick apologises for wrongly sending off West Brom defender Gareth McAuley in Manchester City defeat

Craig Dawson should've seen red for early tackle

Referee Neil Swarbrick has apologised for wrongly sending off West Brom's Gareth McAuley during his side's 3-0 loss at Manchester City.

McAuley was a victim of mistaken identity when he was shown a red card after Craig Dawson fouled Wilfried Bony in the second minute of the Barclays Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium.

Swarbrick has now admitted to his error in a statement from Professional Game Match Officials Ltd, the organisation responsible for refereeing appointments.

The statement read: "In the second minute of Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion, referee Neil Swarbrick made a decision to send off Gareth McAuley for a 'denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity' offence.

"The referee has confirmed the offence was caused by a different player, which should be addressed now as a case of mistaken identity. The referee has apologised for his error."

It was the second mistaken identity controversy in the Premier League in space of three weeks and the third in a year after incidents involving Sunderland and Arsenal. It also came on a day when there was a further red-card mix-up in the Sky Bet Championship.

At the John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield's Cauley Woodrow was sent off in his side's 2-0 loss to Fulham for deliberate handball by referee Richard Clark but refused to leave the field in protest.

He had to be dragged to the touchline by his team-mates but Clark consulted the fourth official and Fulham's bench after further protests. He eventually rescinded his decision and instead sent off Shaun Hutchinson for the offence.

Back at Eastlands, West Brom boss Tony Pulis called for greater use of video technology to assist officials and avoid such critical mistakes.

Pulis was angered on two levels, not only because Swarbrick got the wrong man, but also because he did not believe the offence was worthy of a red card anyway.

He said: "Refereeing is not easy, especially at the level we are at now and how quick the game is.

"This product is one of the greatest products this country now sells all over the world, but it is no good moaning about referees. What we have to do is find a way to help referees out.

"I would definitely call now for managers to have two calls each and every game, where there are 30 seconds and they can have a video link-up with people upstairs who can watch it on video.

"It will eradicate the major decisions referees are getting wrong that actually affect games of football. We have to work hard to do that in what is the greatest league in the world. The sooner that comes in the better."

Dawson bundled Bony over just outside the box to concede a free-kick, but confusion followed because the striker attempted to play on and was then brought down by McAuley.

PA

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