Jordan Pickford has escaped retrospective punishment because of a “flawed process.”
That is the view of former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher who even provides official updates to broadcasters on match days and expert analysis for their overseas TV shows.
Everton keeper Pickford has escaped a three match ban after his X-rated challenge on Liverpool ’s Virgil van Dijk because the Football Association deemed the match officials saw the incident at the time.
They will not then go back and change decisions.
It is understood that referee Michael Oliver’s view was obstructed, a linesman had a good view and VAR David Coote saw it and did not deem it a red card or – in line with the Premier League guidance – suggest the referee go over to check on his pitch side monitor.
That must be seen as a major mistake on Coote’s part and it is also understood the decision not to take retrospective action took longer than usual while they tried to ascertain whether he checked for a possible red card and not just a penalty.
They could have had an escape route if Coote said he had not checked for a sending-off which would may have allowed for retrospective action but it has left left the officials plus the Premier League and FA feeling embarrassed at what is clearly a major error.
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Gallagher said: “I think the process was followed in some ways but it was flawed. When the officials see it, they think ‘we have to check for a penalty’. There’s three steps – is it offside, is it a penalty, is there further sanction?
“What they have done is thought ‘is it a penalty?’, which it is, so you have to go back and check if it is offside. They check that and it is offside so that negates the penalty.
“It then got overlooked to go to step three, which it shouldn’t have done and we all know it should have been a red card, but it was a human error and all we can do is apologise for it.
“There’s nothing more you can say. The process went backwards to go forwards, it stopped at step two and didn’t go to step three. Simple as that.
“It’s easy looking back now, it’s a red card and I think anybody looking at it on the day from an outside position would say red card, it was just going through the protocol didn’t work as it should have done.”