Clubs are investing more and more money into their teams today, and surely we should be asking we protect these players in their work place and the club’s millions they invest in them.

Now that West Ham superstar Dimitri Payet is back to his magical best, l thought it would be a great time to look at that almost season ending tackle from Everton’s James McCarthy and punishment rendered by the Premier League, or lack of it!

I’m from Australia and in our AFL League we have the match review panel MRP, this is made up by retired senior players with a great deal of experience. They are tasked with reviewing every game, picking up infringements missed by umpires and taking action.

They grade these offences into three categories…

A – CLASSIFIABLE – Includes striking, tripping, kicking, kneeling stomping, etc

B – DIRECT TRIBUNAL OFFENCE – Any offence deemed serious enough to be referred directly

C – FIXED FINANCIAL – Fixed fines for minor transgressions

The MRP will then decide if the offence was intentional or due to carelessness, whether the impact was severe, high, medium or low, and if contact was high to the body or groin.

An intentional or medium impact hit would normally attract a three to three match penalty, which could be reduced by one week with an early guilty plea, if the player involved has a relatively clean record, but a high impact would be automatically referred to the tribunal with no discount for early plea.

Let’s look at McCarthy’s tackle on Payet….

Intentional or careless? – l think 30,000+ plus Hammers fans were able to see the intent

Impact? – Given Dimitri was out so long, l would say severe.

Result? – West Ham lose Dimitri for seven games and McCarthy gets nothing more than a yellow card. Fair? Hell no!

Under MRP guidelines that would attract a referral directly to the tribunal.

The tribunal would hear evidence from the MRP, the player injured and also any video evidence, they would also have access to the medical evidence and the forecast for the injured player.

If found guilty, the tribunal would then look at McCarthy’s past before arriving at a penalty and let’s be honest, his past history is pretty poor.

A player charged with a Classifiable Offence, which attracts a base sanction of two or more matches, will receive an additional one-match suspension if he has been suspended for at least two matches in total in the two previous AFL seasons.

Prior to his yellow against West Ham, in eleven games this season McCarthy had received three yellow cards, two for bad tackles against Southampton and West Brom and one for diving against Liverpool. Last year in 28 games, he was given seven yellow cards. Hardly a stellar record.

So, by following the AFL guidelines, McCarthy would have been referred directly to the tribunal, received a minimum three match penalty, plus a further one match penalty based on his past history.

A lot fairer result, wouldn’t you agree? Instead, McCarthy walked away without punishment.

The AFP system may not be the best in the world but it’s aimed at protecting the players by stopping thugs and bad boy wannabes.

In my opinion, changes need to be made in the Premier League because we can’t go on with this stupid yellow card system. We need to change it, and the quicker that happens the better.

This season, theoretically, McCarthy could have seriously injured three players and what punishment does he receive? Just three yellow cards.

It’s only when the penalty fits the crime will players and clubs realise this can’t continue – if McCarthy was facing three heavy bans instead of a meaningless yellow card then surely he would have had second thoughts? Do you Everton would be happy if a player was constantly suspended for dirty tackles?

The yellow card system is nothing but an enabler. It’s not working!

The Premier League is the best in the world, clubs are investing more and more each year and we need to do everything we possibly can to protect our biggest assets – the players.

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