'Stupid' rule cost Arsenal, not referee, says Platini

Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:35am EST
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By Mike Collett

NICE, France (Reuters) - UEFA president Michel Platini has repeated his call for the "triple punishment" of red card, penalty and suspension to be dropped following two controversial dismissals in the Champions League this week.

The triple punishment follows when the referee dismisses a player for an offence in the penalty area which he judges has denied an attacker an obvious goalscoring chance.

On Tuesday Manchester City defender Martin Demichelis was sent off for lunging in on his Argentine compatriot Lionel Messi of Barcelona and on Wednesday Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was dismissed for clattering into Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben.

Both City and Arsenal, reduced to 10 men for sizeable periods of their games were both beaten 2-0 at home by their opponents, making their progress in the competition unlikely.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said that Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli had "killed the game" by sending off Szczesny.

"For 15 years we have been trying to change this rule. All the technical committees of UEFA and FIFA are against this but when it has gone to the International Board it doesn't change," Platini told a news conference on Saturday before the draw for the qualifying rounds of Euro 2016.

"Arsene Wenger said the referee killed the game but the referee had no choice - he has to respect this stupid rule."

UEFA's executive committee has proposed the issue is included on the agenda at next week's meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game's ultimate law-making body.   Continued...

Arsenal's goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny (L) receives a red card from referee Nicola Rizzoli after a foul against Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben (bottom R) during their Champions League round of 16 first leg soccer match at the Emirates Stadium in London February 19, 2014. REUTERS/Darren Staples