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Appeal to Review a Red Card Decision

Appeal to review a Red Card Decision:

Within 24 hours after the completion of a match, an MLS club may request a review of a red card to rectify a case of serious and obvious error in the disciplinary decision of the referee. Each request goes to an independent review panel consisting of one representative from each of the following entities: U.S. Soccer Federation, Canadian Soccer Association, and Professional Referees Organization (PRO).

  1. Prior to the start of the 2014Regular Season, each of the 19 MLS clubs posted a $25,000 refundable bond with the League Office for the right to make up to two (2) unsuccessful appeals.
  2. If an appeal is upheld (i.e., successful), then the Red Card punishment will be rescinded
  3. If an appeal is rejected, then the Red Card punishment (and any supplemental discipline should it be administered by the MLS Disciplinary Committee) will stand and the Club will have lost one of its two allotted appeals for the Season.
  4. If an appeal is deemed frivolous by the independent panel reviewing the case, then the bond will be forfeited and the Club will further lose the right to appeal any other decisions in that League Season and the next one. Further, the Red Card punishment of the player will be doubled (i.e., an automatic suspension of two (2) games)
  5. Within 24 hours of the completion of a match, Clubs will need to send written notice to the League Office detailing the rationale for the appeal and include any and all evidence (e.g., video, photography, written statements, other) supporting the appeal.
Independent review panel procedure:
The panel’s members will independently apply the following two questions to the action that prompted the referee’s decision to issue a red card:
  1. Did the referee correctly identify the offence in accordance with the Laws of the Game?
  2. Is the disciplinary sanction applied appropriate for the offence?
If the answer to both of the above is YES, then the appeal is not upheld (i.e., unsuccessful) and the Panel will determine:
  • Was the appeal frivolous in line with the wording below:
    • A frivolous appeal is one that does not contain any objective rational basis.  In other words, an appeal is not frivolous if a reasonable observer with knowledge of the Laws of the Game would find that there is a rational basis for arguing that the red card should not have been issued.
If the answer to the questions is NO, then the appeal will be upheld (i.e., successful)
  • The decision has to be unanimous (including if determining frivolous); where there is any discrepancy on the answer to the first two questions the panel will review the game tape together and come to a decision, if no unanimity can be achieved then the decision automatically defaults to YES.  (In the case of determining frivolous appeals, the decision automatically defaults to NO if there is any discrepancy). The panel is not re-refereeing the game; it is rectifying obvious errors in the referee’s disciplinary decisions.  Therefore if it is not OBVIOUS it does not need to be rectified.