Leeds United’s Gaetano Berardi wins appeal against red card at Millwall

APPEALING: Gaetano Berardi is sent off at Millwall. Picture: Simon Hulme
APPEALING: Gaetano Berardi is sent off at Millwall. Picture: Simon Hulme
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GAETANO BERARDI’S controversial red card in Leeds United’s defeat at Millwall has been overturned by an FA regulatory commision.

The commission opted to reverse the decision of referee James Linington to send the defender off in the 14th minute of Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Lions.

Millwall's Tom Bradshaw goes down under a challenge from Leeds United's Gaetano Berardi (left) at The Den on Saturday. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA

Millwall's Tom Bradshaw goes down under a challenge from Leeds United's Gaetano Berardi (left) at The Den on Saturday. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA

Berardi will now be free to face Birmingham City at Elland Road after the international break.

An FA statement said: “An independent regulatory commission has removed Gaetano Berardi’s one-match suspension with immediate effect following a claim of wrongful dismissal.

“The Whites defender was sent off for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity against Millwall in the EFL Championship on 5 October 2019.”

Berardi was adjudged to have fouled Tom Bradshaw in the penalty area and saw red for the challenge.

If he’s touched, maybe he gets a little touch. But it’s not a penalty for me and it’s certainly not a red card.

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher on the red card handed out to Leeds’ Gaetano Berardi

Replays showed little contact between the players and Kalvin Phillips was close enough to cover for Berardi, whose initial mistake gifted the ball to Bradshaw.

The FA reviewed footage from a number of angles but no retrospective action will be taken against Bradshaw.

It was decided that the threshold was not met for the incident to be referred to a ‘successful deception of a match’ official panel.

Jed Wallace fired home the resulting penalty and 10-man Leeds went on to lose 2-1 at The Den, despite enjoying 68 per cent of the possession. Linington’s decision came under scrutiny following the game.

Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa refused to analyse the referee’s performance but club owner Andrea Radrizzani Tweeted his dismay at ‘wrong decisions’ costing the Whites.

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher disagreed with both the penalty award and the sending off.

“Even if it is a penalty I don’t think it is a red card because Kalvin Phillips will cut him off when he goes down,” he said. “If he’s touched, maybe he gets a little touch.

“But it’s not a penalty for me and it’s certainly not a red card.”

Former Leeds defender Stephen Warnock called it an ‘incredible’ decision.

“When you talk about the players in and around, for a red card to be brandished is just incredible,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been best pleased if that was me.”