Soucek’s controversial red card overturned on appeal after Dean’s VAR decision left West Ham baffled

The Czech midfielder was sent off during a Premier League meeting with Fulham after tangling with Cottagers striker Aleksandar Mitrovic late on

Tomas Soucek’s controversial red card against Fulham has been overturned on appeal, with the Czech midfielder avoiding a three-match ban for catching Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic with his elbow.

An uneventful Premier League meeting at Craven Cottage on Saturday had David Moyes’ men playing out the closing stages of a 0-0 draw with 10 men.

Referee Mike Dean was asked by his VAR colleagues to review the incident in question on a pitch-side monitor, with many left baffled as to how he came to a sending off call that West Ham have now had rescinded.

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What has been said?

Prior to West Ham confirming their appeal had been successful, manager David Moyes had told reporters: “My reflections are that I’m disappointed with football in general, that the officials involved would allow these situations to take over the game. The first question is about that. Given the decision, there was no decision to give.

“I think every footballer’s got a responsibility to do the correct thing. I feel that officials are giving footballers the opportunity to gain success in some way from their actions.

“The only people who can stop it are the officials. If players are going to be successful, gaining an advantage in the game, we can’t let that happen.”

West Ham left-back Aaron Cresswell has added: “I’ve watched it back and I don’t understand what they’ve seen.

“Everybody who knows Tomas knows he’s not that type of person, far from it, and even Mitrovic has said he hardly touched him.

“He’s not even looking towards Mitrovic so it’s clearly frustrating.”

What happened?

Soucek was looking to attack a late free kick prior to his dismissal against Fulham.

Mitrovic had been asked to keep an eye on the in-form midfielder and was keen to get to grips with the 25-year-old’s shirt.

As Soucek sought to free himself, he raised his arms and caught the Cottagers striker in the face with the point of his elbow.

There appeared to be little intent on the part of the Hammers talisman, but he was still sent for an early bath.

The bigger picture

VAR is now back under the spotlight, in a season that continues to be dominated by contentious calls.

West Ham wasted no time, though, in asking the relevant authorities to reassess the incident in question and will be delighted to learn that Soucek has avoided a suspension.

He will now be available for an FA Cup fifth-round clash with Manchester United on Tuesday and Premier League meetings with Sheffield United and Tottenham.

Further reading

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