Rosie Swarbrick soapbox: FA should feel red-faced at yellow card farce in the cup

New suspension rule puts lower league sides at a disadvantage - but just wait until it affects top teams

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 22nd November 2018, 8:54 am
Updated Thursday, 22nd November 2018, 9:54 am
Chorley were handicapped in their first round FA Cup replay against Doncaster after having key players suspended
Chorley were handicapped in their first round FA Cup replay against Doncaster after having key players suspended

Another year, another ludicrous rule introduced to football.

We’ve already had the palaver this season of players seeing three-game bans effectively extended to four because suspended players are not allowed to feature in Checkatrade Trophy ties (although those fixtures do not count as part of the ban).

The same situation has applied in the Lancashire FA’s Senior Cup due to the same rule. But now the FA have taken the biscuit with their new take on yellow cards.

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It is a rule change that might have passed you by, but now any player picking up two yellow cards in the FA Cup will be banned from his club’s next tie.

But how is that fair on League clubs who have been involved since the first round and non-league clubs who have come through qualifying rounds.

This week National League North side Chorley had two players ineligible for their first-round replay at Doncaster Rovers, having both picked up their second yellow of the tournament in the original 2-2 draw between the clubs.

Marcus Carver and Elliot Newby had also seen yellow in their fourth qualifying round win over Barrow and so were banned for Tuesday’s 7-0 defeat at the Keepmoat.

While I’m not saying the duo’s involvement would have prevented that thrashing, I just believe it is highly unfair that the League One side should be granted such an advantage – and of course Doncaster could have no players suspended themselves under the rule, having played only one match.

Surely it is only fair to wipe the slate clean on reaching the first round stage.

But Doncaster could fall foul of the same rule when the big boys of the Championship and Premier League come into the pot in the third round.

But if the rule were only introduced at the third round stage, that’s when we could see a furore.

Imagine the scenes if Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba or Liverpool’s Mo Salah missed a quarter-final or a semi-final due to this rule change.

I’m sure that as soon as the top clubs start to be impacted we will see the end to this rule.