Trotter was innocent - top offical

A TOP refereeing official today confirmed that there has been no official crackdown on players making contentious tackles.And from confirmation of the guidelines given to referees, Ipswich Town's Liam Trotter looks to have deserved just a yellow card for his challenge on Portsmouth's Pedro Mendes at Portman Road on Saturday.

Elvin King

A TOP refereeing official today confirmed that there has been no official crackdown on players making contentious tackles.

And from confirmation of the guidelines given to referees, Ipswich Town's Liam Trotter looks to have deserved just a yellow card for his challenge on Portsmouth's Pedro Mendes at Portman Road on Saturday.

A string of red cards have littered the last couple of months of Premier League and Championship football, with Trotter controversially getting his marching orders against Portsmouth in the FA Cup.


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While Town's FA Cup dreams were dashed, the 19-year-old midfielder has been left to sit out the next three games for what looked like a reckless tackle.

And, according to the guidelines referees are given, this would relate to a yellow card.

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Ron Groves, who is head of the referee assessors, confirmed that the laws are the same now as they were last season.

“We have an annual conference before the start of each season when discussions take place,” said Groves. “There has been no official crackdown on tackling.”

Groves was not prepared to go any further, while the assessor for the Pompey game at Portman Road - Suffolk based Kelvin Morton - is also unable to comment on specific cases.

A former top flight referee, Morton said: “With there being so many offences at present, referees are less likely to be taken by surprise.

“They are far more likely to recognise such offences.

“The number of red cards concerns me as, prior to this season, there were far fewer.

“A couple of seasons ago it was illegal use of the arm/elbow but, thankfully, that has been stamped out and is now hardly seen.

“If referees continue to remain vigilant and consistent then it will stop.

“But players have their own part to play, as it is they who risk injuring a fellow professional.

“On the continent there has been no increase. I watch Spanish football mostly but see the occasional German and Italian league matches and seldom do we see these challenges. For a change, we have something to learn from the European Leagues.”

And writing in his weekly column in the Evening Star's weekend football paper - the Green'Un - Morton goes on: “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Chelsea's John Obi Mikel deserved his red card for his tackle on Phil Neville in Tuesday's Carling Cup semi-final. That could easily have resulted in serious injury.

“It was a similar situation in Sunday's FA Cup match between Burnley and Arsenal when Burnley's Kyle Lafferty committed a similar challenge on Gilberto and also deserved his fate.

“In both cases the referees were close and decisive and made the correct decision.

“I am unable to pass any judgement on the red card shown to Liam Trotter as I was assessing referee Mark Halsey and his colleagues at Portman Road on Saturday.

“We must not get hung up about the two-footed challenge - rather than any other type of challenge that also deserves a red card.”

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