Keith Hackett confused by Craig Pawson process before Pascal Struijk red card for Leeds United
We’re delighted to welcome former Premier League referee Keith Hackett to the MOT Leeds News team. Each week, Hackett will discuss the big moments from the latest Leeds United games and deliver his verdict on whether his successors got their calls right or wrong…
Keith Hackett was confused by Craig Pawson’s process prior to sending Pascal Struijk off as Leeds United lost to Liverpool on Sunday.
Struijk, 21, was shown a straight red card by the referee after a challenge by him led to a serious ankle injury for Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott.
While Struijk seemed to win the ball and Pawson allowed play to go on until the severity of Elliott’s injury was realised, the Leeds defender was still handed his marching orders and will be banned for three matches unless a successful appeal is made.
Former Premier League referee Keith Hackett has sympathy for Pawson because it was not an easy decision.
And he suggests that upon seeing Elliott’s injury, Struijk’s challenge could have been deemed as endangering an opponent because that is technically what it did despite the lack of malice.
“The outcome of the challenge was dreadful and I hope for the speedy recovery of the player. I think the difficulty here was the process for the referee,” Hackett exclusively told MOT Leeds News.
“He’s got the make the judgement call on seeing it once and I don’t think there’s malice in the challenge but of course, the difficulty is the outcome.
“I sympathise with the referee because he’s got a very difficult decision to make, he’s got to be accurate.
“He didn’t whistle which is an indication that initially, he didn’t see it as a foul. Because he didn’t make the decision in that situation, if he made the call and there was an indication he made a clear and obvious error, the VAR could have come in but on this occasion, it couldn’t.
“The referee points to his ear, which is confusing because he’s sort of talking to the players as he’s hovering around, he’s indicating that he’s having a conversation and it can only be with his assistants and fourth official, they might be feeding information into him.
“In these scenarios, these are difficult times so I think that he’s reacted by determining the outcome of the challenge endangered the safety of a player and as a consequence, has issued a red card.
Leeds are yet to decide upon whether they will appeal against Struijk’s red card but there is solid ground to do so based on a similar recent case.
Tottenham’s Heung-min Son was red-carded after a challenge by him seriously injured Everton’s Andre Gomes in November 2019.
Gomes suffered a dislocated and broken ankle but Son was sent off in a reactionary manner, similar to how Struijk was given his marching orders.
In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has shared what fans did to Bielsa in the West Stand after the 3-0 loss.