REFEREE Jon Moss should have taken control when Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to leave the field after his boss Maurizio Sarri ordered him to do so.
The farce would not have developed had Moss walked over and sent off the keeper.
Sarri was close to exploding into a thousand Italian pieces but neither he nor anyone else among the Chelsea officials was entitled to do what the occasion demanded — bring a stop to the farce.
Make no mistake about it, that someone, indeed the only person on or around the field, was the referee. Sarri was 100 per cent in the right, Kepa 100 per cent wrong.
The world’s most expensive keeper stayed on and has been fined a week’s wages — £190,000 — and lost his place against Spurs on Wednesday.
Sarri lost nothing but a little reputation although there could be peripheral damage — his job, no less.
Now in all referee training for unlikely situations, there is a high improbability they have ever been asked to adjudicate anarchy.
It has also been pointed out nothing in his rulebook gave Moss the power to order off the keeper.
But Kepa wouldn’t know that and, frankly, it would be madness to punish a referee for acting to end such an ugly confrontation.
The Spanish keeper has admitted the two leg cramps that convinced Sarri he needed to be substituted for the shoot-out were fakes, designed to waste time.
This lie ought to be rewarded with a retro red. It won’t.
Then I have to ask what Mike Dean, the Red Baron of the Premier League, would have done.
Dean is not universally loved — certainly not by Arsenal fans — but I think he would have mentally ripped up the rule book, strutted up to Kepa, looked him in the eye and called his bluff.
Dean has sent off 99 Premier League players, accompanying some executions, it is said, with the expression ‘off you pop’. Even the man from the Basque Country would have understood.
It is a little crazy there’s no onfield action available for one obstinate player holding up a Wembley final for five minutes while he tries to explain with hand movements that actually he had faked cramps.
Even more crazy when you compare the loss of a player can result from two minor yellow-card fouls.
In his 19-year PL career, Dean is far ahead of colleagues in percentage red cards and yellows, too.
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Some 100,000 Arsenal fans once signed a petition that he shouldn’t ref their games but even videos of his jumping up when Spurs score don’t convince me he is biased.
There’s no doubt he hits the high point on the fans anger chart.
I think he should curb his love of cards.
He seems to forget over-use may give huge advantage to one side yet there’s no way Kepa would have played on and that would be right.