Gross refereeing incompetence and vengeful corruption? Why Elneny was sent off.

By Tony Attwood

Sitting in the stands looking down on Mo Elneny being sent off all I could say to my chums sitting either side was, “Why has he sent Elneny off”?  And no one knew – at least we guessed it was for pushing, but then, everyone seemed to be pushing.  It used to be called “a bit of argy-bargy” meaning, it would calm down in a moment and matters would continue.

So Mo went off for pushing an opponent.

Yet the FA’s website says on sending off offences

A player, substitute or substituted player who commits any of the following offences is sent off:

  • denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (except a goalkeeper within their penalty area)
  • denying a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent whose overall movement is towards the offender’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick (unless as outlined below)
  • serious foul play
  • spitting at an opponent or any other person
  • violent conduct
  • using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures
  • receiving a second caution in the same match

The only one we can take from that is “violent conduct”.  So the question is how much within the meaning of “violent” was the push, and if it was violent conduct were any of the other pushes around this time violent also, because if they were, they too should have resulted in a sending off.

Here’s one version of what happened

and in case that vanishes, as these things can do, or in case it doesn’t work trying this…

Now I know that there is a common view these days that an argument about one incident can be dismissed by picking up another incident.  And of course there were other incidents going on: including a fair amount of shirt pulling.

Two issues arise from that.

First, the referee is supposed to judge the incident individually except where a player is guilty of repetitive foul play, so the action of Wilshire, for example, earlier in the game, has nothing to do with the Elneny incident – which is what I have chosen to highlight here.  (Many other sites are focusing on Wilshire, so I leave them to get on with it).

Second there was a lot of pushing and buffeting of Elneny during the incident and after as the referee was being talking to by a Southampton player.  Yet no action was taken against the Southampton players.

It was by any measure, a controversial moment in the game.  So what did the press make of it? Here I quote the commentaries of a few papers in full…

The Guardian: “Mohamed Elneny would follow him down the tunnel – Arsène Wenger suggested Arsenal could appeal against the Egyptian midfielder’s dismissal for pushing Soares.”

The Telegraph:Arsenal did ultimately still also finish the match with 10 men after Mohamed Elneny shoved Cedric Soares but Stephens will be more acutely missed for a Southampton team now in increasing danger of returning to the Championship.”

The Telegraph in its rolling commentary “Elneny is then sent off for pushing Cedric in the face!”

The Independent: “Mohamed Elneny was also dismissed for raising his hands at Cedric Soares in the ensuing melee.”

The Daily Mail:                                                                                                           (absolutely nothing)

Daily Express: “Elneny pushed Cedric and was later sent off”

So rather like the issue of “he got the ball” when considering if a player has committed a foul, the newspapers have done little to relate their commentaries to the laws of the game.  (Mind you, while driving on Saturday night I did hear Robbie Savage on the radio say in relation to an incident words to the effect that “he got the ball, mind you that has nothing to do with whether it was a foul or not”.  Surely Mr Savage can’t have been reading Untold can he?)

If the referee in this case was right to send Elneny off then he was guilty of bias since there were several other pushes of equal strength around that time as can be seen from the video and was certainly visible from my place in the stand.  And thus on that basis a number of players should have been sent off. That fact in itself doesn’t change whether Elneny should have gone, but if he should it does raise into very serious question why the referee failed to take into account all the other issues that happened around that time.

The preview we published of this particular referee suggested he was not fit for purpose, and certainly that prediction has been shown to be true.  (Arsenal v Southampton Sunday 8 April – The Match Officials: always a bad omen!)

But there is a greater issue: what will PGMO do about this display by the referee?  I think we know the answer: nothing.  And if you want a simple explanation as to why no English referees will be in the World Cup finals, the answer can be found here.  Not specifically in the incompetence or gross corruption of a referee, but rather by the fact that the PGMO will do nothing about this man.

Last, there is always the excuse that the referee sent off the player in a case of mistaken identity.  It is not after all as if Mo is easy to spot in a crowd – no distinguishing marks, very ordinary hair, speaks fluent Arabic…  It reminds me of Marriner with the case of Gibbs and Oxlade-Chamberlain at Chelsea.  There again, it was easy to see how the referee would have a problem telling the difference between them.

Arsenal – Southampton : 3-2

Man U take over from Arsenal at the bottom of the League


29 Replies to “Gross refereeing incompetence and vengeful corruption? Why Elneny was sent off.”

  1. Andre mariner.absolutely hopeless ref.another one to add to the collection.lets face he missed tadic opening attempt at a shin breaker was shocking.not even a for mo getting sent off.a joke.done merely to placate the Southampton players to even it up.that he is somehow would hope the club would appeal.though there pretty spineless as well.takie it on the chin like jolly good fellows & all that hogwash.

  2. The only positive thing here is the odious t*rd Hughes will hopefully end up in the championship with his s**t team who have been a problem to us for years. Same goes for Stoke City.

  3. Your headline is ridiculous. ‘ Vengeful corruption’. The reason we are down in sixth place is not because of useless referees despite what your one- eyed statistics show . I was at the match but in the North Bank Upper. I think Elneny was extremely unlucky to go. It was because of the intervention of the linesman who clearly deemed his act as violent conduct.. Hopefully if we appeal it will be rescinded unless the judging panel is corrupt too. If we don’t appeal maybe the corruption has spread inside the club. Or maybe a lack of an appeal will be because we’ve seen similar appeals fail in the past ?

  4. I think on the balance of play Marriner was quite lenient over the whole game; there were a few challenges which most referees would have given a yellow card for which were overlooked (in some cases not even a free kick awarded).

    Elneny raised his hands into the face of the Soton player so he had to go.

  5. Wenger has indicated that Arsenal will appeal Elneny’s red card, and I think it’s worth a shot as he’s been one of our most constently better players recently.
    Looking at the video of the incident again you can see that Marriner is looking straight at the push (which is on the neck or lower face area), and makes an immediate decision. He’s judging this on it’s card worthiness & there’s no point in comparisons with other card issue during the game.
    The cards given were all just (including Bellerin who pulled Long back after being skinned), but there were obvious exclusions of Southampton players deserving cautions, but none should impact on this one incident taken in isolation.
    Thought Marriner had a decent game TBH.

  6. Why is a neck/head high push generally considered more violent (to use the word that defines the card worthiness of the offence as stated in the rules) than a push lower down the body?

  7. Because it looks more violent Mick , however did anyone see Giroud’s push against West Ham yesterday . Strangely I can’t find it anywhere reported or on you tube.

  8. Is it possible that Elneny was in rightful position to defend the ensuing awarded free kick?
    That the ball ought to have been positioned 10yds further upfield– closer to the spot where Marriner stood talking?

    I’m steamed at Wilshere for ‘taking more than his money’s worth’ from his foul on Stephens.
    Take your YK, stop play, be done with it. Don’t wallow with the Saints.


  9. That is why non of them will be at the world cup.Its a shameful thing to the English F.A

  10. Let Arsenal appeal El Neny straight Red Card if they believe his sent off was unjustifiable and await the FA decision on their complaint. But if their appeal is turned down, of course, us know that El Neny will miss the Arsenal games against Newcastle, West ham and Man Utd all in the PL. But if they did not appeal the Red Card, he’ll miss playing the next Arsenal’s 2 PL games. But if their appeal is upheld, El Neny will not be suspended from playing any Arsenal’s game in the PL. At any rate, suspended or not suspended, he can continue to play in the Europa League Cup matches for Arsenal as long as Uefa have not suspended him from playing for Arsenal in the Europa. I am sure us the Gooners know these rules.

  11. Dear Henry Root – maybe you read this differently to me but I can’t see where Tony said that the action of the referee yesterday was the reasons we are down in sixth place.

    “Your headline is ridiculous. ‘ Vengeful corruption’. The reason we are down in sixth place is not because of useless referees despite what your one- eyed statistics show”.

    I was in NBL (as I usually am) and Tony in the Upper East Stand front row. Between the three of us we could see Mo was sent off but not why. Perhaps he raised his hand to the Southampton player’s face (that’s certainly how MoTD2 saw it) and he was certainly silly to do so (not as stupid as JW who made up for yet another ineffective performance by showing ‘pashun’ and playing the hard man.

    No we are not where we are because of the referees but over the years this site has provided ample evidence (not one eyed statistics) of at best the poor refereeing in this country (clearly accepted by FIFA who won’t be taking any of them to Russia) or worst their corruption. Untold has called out PGMOL to be transparent, to justify their allocation of referees, to comment and explain their decision making.
    The silence is deafening.

    I am frustrated that we are so poor this season but I’m even more frustrated by the so-called Arsenal ‘fans’ who seem to enjoy every set back the team have as vindication of their one-eyed desire to see the back of the manager. On Sunday, int he wake of Austin’s equaliser the two 20 somethings next to me started a pathetically quiet rendition of ‘we want Wenger out’ adding that the man was a ‘senile old cretin’. They didn’t sing, they didn’t shout support, they only clapped politely when Welbeck headed in for 3-2 and slunk off at the whistle not bothering to applaud the team’s effort.

    I hope they never come back; I’d rather swathes of empty seats than pathetic excuses for supporters any day. Not tarring you with that brush Henry btw.

  12. Adrian Clarke on suggests Elneny was concerned at the way the free kick was being taken, probably with justification. Certainly the video shows his pushing was very similar to that of the opposing players round him.

  13. I hope that within all this righteous indignation we’ve not overlooked the small matter of Auba becoming the first Arsenal player in PL history to have direct involvement in 7 goals in his first 7 starts. He’s hit the ground running and is playing with a smile on his face. I expect very big things next season.

  14. @Flares

    Quite right to. Unfortunately I can’t find a bookie who’ll give me odds of PL top scorer for 18/19 🙁

  15. Not only that, but the way Auba allowed Lacazette to take the penalty (even though he was on a hat-trick) in order to get him some of his confidence back really was wonderful to see. That’s exactly the kind of player we want in our team. Remember that there were people on here writing him off as a mercenary before he had even put the shirt on, so I’m glad he has already shown us what kind of person he is.

  16. I suppose that it is feasible to have a 98% correct decisions tattoo when you can make up the rules as you go along?

  17. Tattoo? That’s a strange autocorrect but possibly relevant given the rarity and scarcity of an english referee who meets the pgmobs rigorous selection criteria – no refs from the part of the country that contains the most clubs, registered players and practising refs at all levels have been considered as being up to the job these past twenty years.

    Did they not have the right tatoos?

    Is that a rational and reasonable explanation for the gibbering wreck that is the pgMOB? Has anyone got any better suggestions?

  18. Blacksheep. Your comments about the ‘so called’ Arsenal supporters are spot on, they must be post Highbury newbies. Real AFC supporters, although upset about the mediocre performances this season, would never want the team to lose to prove a point about Arsene Wenger. Even our so called ‘legend’ Ian Wright backs the stayaways who don’t realise (or don’t care) that an empty stadium effects team performance. I don’t believe that empty stands will force the board to sack Wenger and knowing how stubborn the man is it won’t surprise me if it has the opposite effect. One certainty is that he is on borrowed time and he knows it so let’s hope he leaves at the end of the season when I think he should be given Hobson’s choice, resign or get sacked. I hope it’s the former because he has been, arguably, our greatest manager but he should know it’s time to move on.

    I seem to be agreeing with you on all points, Jack Wilshere has been awful these past two games he seems to be 2 yards off the pace and is giving the ball away more often than Sanchez ever did.

  19. Andrew

    “Even our so called ‘legend’ Ian Wright backs the stayaways who don’t realise (or don’t care) that an empty stadium effects team performance.”

    I believe he said that on SKY sports didn’t he Andrew?

    Then we get this from the Sky commentator yesterday when alluding to the empty seats:

    ‘I think it’s amazing that following 3 FA Cup victories Arsenals fans deem it appropriate to stay away because there team is going through a poor period’

    (Now I will say at this point that that isn’t word for word but that is the gist of what he said.)

    I immediately thought, yes that’s all very well but it’s your own company, that as a matter of what seems to be policy, actively promote, endorse and ultimately encourage, unrest and rebellion amongst our fan base, on an almost daily basis.

    A bunch of hypocrites.

    As for wright, again something I’ve said on here many times, the mans a c***. Wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire.

  20. I suspect that Jack is suffering from the contract negotiator’s malaise, which takes hold when a player is trying to negotiate a better deal.

    We have seen it so many times.

    I hope for him and the club that he reaches a deal soon, so both can benefit.

    Perhaps we will see Ramsey with it soon.

  21. I still habour hopes that Southampton will win the FA Cup this season and then get relegated ; subsequently becoming only the second club (after Wigan) to achieve this unique feat !

    I’m undoubtedly sure that most of the regulars here would like to see this happen too !

  22. I’m with you on that Bricks, but unfortunately I cant see it.

    This will be a very odd experience, actually supporting a team managed by the odious Mark Hughes.

  23. An interesting, if relevant aside, to the referees debate.

    Last Saturday there was a League Two “bottom of the table” clash between Grimsby Town and Chesterfield. The referee was given fantastic plaudits by the fans of “The Mariners” who won 1-0 thanks to an 88th minute penalty for handball.

    “The best referee seen at Blundell Park for many a year” was the general consensus. Apparently the ref together with his Assistants got just about every decision right.

    Nice to see. Who was it? ..


    It was none other than PGMOL’s own Robert Madely.

  24. Mo cleared:

    The Football Association has issued the following statement:

    “Mohamed Elneny will be available for Arsenal’s next three games after an Independent Regulatory Commission accepted that he was wrongly dismissed for violent conduct against Southampton on Sunday, April 8, 2018.”

    So, no apology from the referee or PGMOL and probably nothing in the media

  25. @ Nitram – 10/04/2018 at 10:42 am – Technically we are not supporting him/them, but actually getting a good laugh on those alleged experts who always get it totally wrong .

    Anyway , other than Southampton , I truly don’t care a rat’s arse who wins the FA Cup – but the more dramatic the heartbreak , and the more severe the fan meltdown , the more joy I’d get !

    And I am not a sadist at all.

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