So today MLS and US Soccer hosted a conference call to discuss the new PRO (Professional Referee Organization) system and I will highlight some of those details later in the week but with MLS's Executive Vice President of Competition, Nelson Rodriquez on the call I took the chance to get some clarification to the soon to be formally announced Red Card Review system that US Soccer, the Canadian Soccer Association and MLS will be implementing for the 2012 season. It sounds like a very interesting idea.
For each team that chooses to be a part of this new system will be required to post a undisclosed bond to be part of this system that will grant each team the right to have red cards that they believe are serious and obvious errors reviewed by a independent 3 person panel (1 from US Soccer, 1 from the CSA, and 1 from PRO). If a club and player were the victim of a serious and obvious error made by the official, they would submit their evidence within 24 hours to the review, the panel would then render a judgement rather immediately. If the 3 member panel needs more time to review the incident, then it is clearly not obvious and would be rejected. Clubs will be given up to two failed reviews, before they would be unable to submit any other red cards for review for the year. If a club makes what is deemed a frivolous challenge by the panel they would lose their rights to have cards reviewed for that season and the following season, they would also lose their bond.
So what does this mean for MLS and Real Salt Lake? It means for the first time that if a call is glaringly wrong and a red card is issued that there is nothing in match that can be done, but the impact of a bad call can be lessened for both the player and the team if there is clear and obvious proof that the call was wrong. Perhaps there is no better example of this than last years red card to Nat Borchers for the phantom foul on Benny Feilhaber that resulted in both a PK and red card which kept Nat out of the next match. This has to be the type of thing MLS is trying to prevent from happening with their new PRO group, but also to lessen the impact of mistakes on a second match:
So there was one other Red Card that RSL got that I think would qualify for this rule, check it out after the jump:
Here is the clip from the October 6th match, you remember that makeup game in Vancouver:
I really think those are the only two red cards that RSL got that clearly were mistakes of a clear and obvious nature that would likely have been overturned by any rational panel.
It will be very interesting to see how this rule change impacts the calls made by officials in 2012, so what do you think about this new red card review system?
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