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Troy Deeney is facing a four-match ban for his middle-fingered gesture against Chelsea, depending on whether the referee saw the incident.
The FA is waiting for Mike Dean’s match report before they decide on their next steps. If Dean didn’t see the incident, Deeney could receive a two-match ban for making an obscene gesture.
That two-match ban would automatically increase to four matches, because the striker already has two red cards this season. Each red card adds an extra match on to any subsequent bans.
This means, if Deeney does receive the ban, he’ll miss Watford trip to the Emirates on March 11.
If the referee did see the incident, then as usual, the FA can’t act on it. On the one hand, I understand this rule stops the FA reviewing every single decision a referee makes. That would be extremely time-consuming and put the officials under unnecessary extra scrutiny.
On the other hand, there are many occasions where the referee might have seen something, but not had the best angle. To stick with his decision in that scenario seems bizarre. I’d like it if they brought in a VAR-style review system instead.
Under VAR rules, a decision can only be overturned if it’s a ‘clear and obvious’ error by the referee. Whether he’s seen the incident or not, the same rules apply. That would give the FA some leeway to retrospectively overturn the worst refereeing decisions, without questioning every single one.
Jack Wilshere received a two-match suspension for the gesture against Manchester City in 2013. Troy Deeney is likely to receive the same basic punishment for the same thing. Yet Dele Alli only picked up a one-match ban when he did it.
Clearly FIFA felt a lot more lenient towards the Spurs player than the FA did towards Wilshere and Deeney. I can’t say I’m surprised.