Sports Letters: Cards favour the poorer players

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The Independent Online
Sir: To their credit, some referees avoid whistling at the first sign of foul play, rather waiting to see if any advantage can occur. But, there comes a point during the foul, when this advantage can not only become a disadvantage, but can favour the offender. During the recent Manchester United v Arsenal game, Roy Keane tugged Patrick Vieira's shirt, while at the same time attempting to chop him down.

Vieira, to his credit did not react at first, until the provocation was too much, at which point he raised his arm. Although it was clear who the perpetrator of the foul was, both players received the same card.

This is just one incident in a long line where the perpetrator of the offence received the same punishment as the recipient.

Taken to the extreme, a poor player can kick a talented player, and draw a reaction. Both players are then sent off, and the advantage favours the offending team.

Obviously this is extreme, but how different are many other examples week-in week-out in the Premiership?


St Catherine's College, Oxford