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Chelsea's Robben sent off after "over celebrating"

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Today, a controversial decision was taken by referee Chris Foy in a recent match between Sunderland Association Football Club and Chelsea Football Club in the U.K. to send off Chelsea's Robben after "excessive celebrations". The decision was taken after Robben proceeded to embrace fans beyond the barriers of the club, which was seen by the referee to be a breach of safety regulations, as well as FIFA policy.

As consensus, ex-match officials watching the game agreed the decision was thought to lack common sense. However, the policy of restricting player celebrations was introduced into FIFA policy last year after safety concerns from various match officials. FIFA rules state several situations in which celebrations may lead to booking;

  • If, In the opinion of the referee, a player makes gestures which are provocative, derisory or inflammatory.
  • If the player climbs on to a perimeter fence to celebrate a goal being scored.
  • If the player removes his shirt over his head or covers his head with his shirt.

However, the rule which BSkyB stated in the pre match commentary was more relevant, because the aforementioned rules were not in any way broken; referring to the fact that perimeter fences were only common in Spanish football. The guideline stated that "leaving the field to celebrate a goal is not a cautionable offense in itself but it is essential that players return to the field as soon as possible".

Despite the justification of the referee's call, both Robben himself, and commentator Andy Gray questioned the common sense nature of the decision, noting that quick thinking and spontaneous decision should be something a referee focuses on, rather than the implicit enforcement of minor rules.

In response to the decision, Andy Gray noted;

"I can't believe it, celebration is a natural thing to do.. all he was doing was simply celebrating after a job well done with his fans. It wasn't like he was actually inciting fans because it was his own side. This really is the most silly call I have ever seen a referee make in my history of commentating."


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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.