Sports Letter: Value of discretion From Mr W H Kenyon

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is difficult to accept that any referee could decide, without doubt, that Billy Clark's handling offence (Bristol Rovers v Aston Villa on 20 January) was instinctive, deliberate or accidental. So, another good match was ruined by a bad rule and the referee's blind adherence to it. The recent sending off of Southall was a similar example of a referee failing to exercise discretion and common sense.

Were all referees equally adamant in their interpretation of the rule, the situation would be more acceptable but this is clearly not the case. In the Queen's Park Rangers v Manchester United game on 18 January, the referee saw a player make a wicked tackle on Mark Hughes, watched the player carried off with a gash in his calf which required nine stitches, and deemed this worthy only of a yellow card. I know which offence I, and most of my fellow supporters consider to be the more serious.

Yours sincerely,


Former Secretary

Rochdale AFC