Home » Ex-Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher issues bizarre verdict on Diogo Dalot’s red card vs. Liverpool

Ex-Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher issues bizarre verdict on Diogo Dalot’s red card vs. Liverpool

by Derick Kinoti
Diogo Dalot

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher has indicated that Diogo Dalot’s act of dissent against Liverpool that resulted in his controversial sending off “didn’t look good” and it’s likely Michael Oliver didn’t have much choice.

As United and Liverpool played out a goalless draw, the only real moment that sparked debate after the game was Dalot’s sending-off.

During the dying embers of the game, Dalot engaged in a duel against Mohamed Salah. The defender managed to overpower the Liverpool winger and run past him to claim possession. The ball clearly came off Salah to go out of play.

Oliver instead awarded a throw-in to the Merseyside outfit.

Understandingly angry and annoyed with the decision, Dalot protested the decision before Oliver sped towards him and showed the United star a yellow card.

Five seconds later, Oliver brandished a second yellow card and gave Dalot his marching orders.

Luckily for United, the incident did not prove too costly. Erik ten Hag’s men managed to hold on to grab a crucial point at Anfield.

After the final whistle, an angry Ten Hag refused to speak about the matter and indicated that if he spoke his mind, it’s likely he would find himself at the end of punitive action from the FA – a wise decision made by the United boss.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Dermot Gallagher weighed in on the situation and gave his perspective.

He said, “The throw is not clearly given the wrong way. It is a United throw when you look at it again but when I first saw it I wasn’t convinced.”

“You can’t act like Dalot did. It doesn’t look good and isn’t a good image to be portraying around the world. Whether you like it or not, that is the remit referees have been given this season.”

“That is why there is such a high number of yellow cards for this type of offence.”

Peculiarly, when pressed to give his verdict on the actions of Liverpool players such as Salah and Darwin Nunez, Gallagher could only provide a haphazard and unsatisfactory response.

Salah waved an imaginary card at one point in the game. Nunez on the other hand reacted sarcastically after he was booked for a blatant foul on Jonny Evans.

The Uruguayan striker mockingly clapped at Oliver but was not shown a second yellow card.

Gallagher said on this, “It’s so, so difficult because this is not an exact science. On the one hand, you say to me I don’t want two yellow cards for Dalot, but two minutes later you say you want a yellow for Salah and three for Nunez.”

“I have nowhere to go. Whichever way I jump, you will say I’m wrong. In the current climate the referee has no choice. I get that United fans will call for Nunez to be sent off but the referee didn’t choose to do it.”

According to The Telegraph, who conducted a deep dive into the incidents at Anfield on Sunday, it’s highly likely that Oliver’s “ill-tempered final act at Anfield” was motivated by Howard Webb’s ongoing campaign to curb dissent in the Premier League.

The newspaper suggests that in comparison to Nunez’s behaviour when shown a yellow for taking down Evans, Dalot’s dissent was trivial.

It’s understood that Webb, the PGMOL chief, has “urged the harshest response” for vigorous protestations aimed at match officials.

The Telegraph rightly points out, “By what metric does an innocuous tantrum invite two bookings, while a brazen piece of provocation merits nothing? It is a paradox that needs clarifying if fans’ faltering faith in referees is to be restored. Defending the dignity of their profession is a noble enterprise. And there is no doubt the game has been disfigured for too long by too many instances of wanton abuse.”

“Dalot’s fit of pique, though, did not belong in that category. It was a reasonable reaction to an erroneous call, which gave Liverpool a dangerous attacking platform with only a minute left. And unlike Haaland, who had turned on Hooper for refusing to play advantage by screaming in his face, Dalot did not even appear to be directing his ire at Oliver in particular.”

The manner in which Oliver handled Dalot’s dissent raises questions about the new standards for a red card and how games can be regulated going forward.

Both Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher, who were on Sky Sports duty for the gam,e were in agreement that Dalot did not deserve the harsh punishment levelled against him.

On the other hand, The Telegraph explores the issue from Oliver’s and his peers’ respective points of view.

There is a feeling that referees are not receiving adequate protection and are “nervous” about what awaits them after highly-charged fixtures.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was recently cleared of a misconduct charge after describing VAR as “embarrassing” and a “disgrace.”

Haaland also escaped any action from the FA after he took to Twitter to launch a thinly-veiled attack against Simon Hooper.

While many United fans accused Oliver of trying to make the game all about himself, The Telegraph argues that what referee would want such attention when their jobs are already the stuff of nightmares considering they’re subjected to a cascade of abuse even after the slightest misjudgement.

“The most logical interpretation of Oliver’s severity towards Dalot is not that he was courting publicity, but simply that he was seeking to implement Webb’s crackdown on dissent to the letter.”

Another alternative way of thinking as outlined by Oliver Brown is that Dalot’s dissent was simply unacceptable and Oliver did the right thing to end his participation in proceedings at Anfield.

After all, Webb, with the full support of the authorities, published a Participant Behaviour Charter which was shared in the media and with all relevant stakeholders in the game. The document had the intention of promoting value, respect and protecting the reputation of the sport.

The result of Webb’s crusade has been that since the inception of the Charter, the average number of yellow cards has sharply risen from around 3.3 per game to 4.98. In 160 games this season before this round of fixtures, a total of 798 yellow cards have been issued.

Brown divulges on this statistic, “I am sure that this is the result of Webb’s clampdown and it is likely that this increase is a reflection of the action taken against dissent kicking in early as we are already witnessing suspensions under the totting-up procedure.”

As Dalot received two yellow cards, United are limited in the course of action they can take to overturn the 24-year-old’s suspension.

Dalot may have to be content with not featuring against West Ham at the London Stadium on Saturday.

Latest Top Stories...