Former Leeds United defender Danny Mills has demanded that the English Football League and referee James Linington issue an explanation over what he saw to show Gaetano Berardi a straight red card against Millwall on Saturday.
Linington issued Berardi a straight sending off in the 14th-minute of the Whites’ trip to London over the weekend for an alleged foul on Millwall striker Tom Bradshaw, although replays suggested there was little to no contact.
United midfielder Kalvin Phillips was also in a position to cover for Berardi after Bradshaw got goal side of the Swiss centre-half, but Linnington decided that the incident was worthy of the double jeopardy of going a man down and conceding a spot-kick.
An independent commission has since overturned the one-game suspension Berardi was due to face, with the panel agreeing with Leeds’ claim of wrongful dismissal.
The damage was already done for Leeds by falling to ten-men and conceding a penalty at the Den, however, as Jed Wallace converted the spot-kick before Bradshaw struck his side’s second of the day shortly before half-time.
Ezgjan Alioski pulled one back for the West Yorkshire outfit immediately after the break, but could not prevent Leeds slipping to their third defeat of the season and heading into the international break fifth in the Championship standings.
Mills has now called for Linington and the EFL to explain why the double punishment was issued, after changes were made to the rules of the game to prevent such from happening without due cause.
“I didn’t understand it, Mills told Football Insider. “I thought the double jeopardy rule had gone – I thought if you were making a deliberate attempt for the ball, or it wasn’t deliberate act to bring somebody down, then it’s just a penalty.
“I don’t understand where the red card’s come from. It’s easy to say he lacks discipline and this, that and the other but in this case, he was just unfortunate. I think the red card wasn’t warranted, it wasn’t necessary.
“What I would like, what I’m sure everybody would like, is an explanation as to why he was sent off. What, under the laws of the game, did the referee [see to] decide [it] was a red card offence? That would be most impressive to hear, but don’t hold your breath.”
Given the independent commission has removed Berardi’s one-game suspension with immediate effect as they agreed with Leeds’ appeal for wrongful dismissal, it would be good if the EFL came out and explained why Linington decided to show the Swiss defender a straight red card as well as awarding a penalty.
But by doing so, they could be seen to be throwing one of their officials under the bus, and open Linington up to further criticism and abuse in future fixtures, should he make any other questionable calls in his next outings in the centre.
That is a scenario the EFL can ill-afford, though it will be telling of where they stand on the matter if they task Linington with officiating any matches in the first week back from the international break.
Leeds fans, do you want to see Berardi back in the starting line-up against Birmingham City now that he is not suspended? Let us know in the comments below…
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