The Football Association has granted pensioner Edith Perkins the right of appeal against a straight red card shown her by off-duty football referee Ron Withenshaw. The incident occurred during a light snow shower in Sunderland when Mrs Perkins slipped and dislocated her hip on her way to the post office. Withenshaw, who was sensibly positioned on traffic-exposed tarmac, spotted the incident from eyes in the back of his head, blew his whistle and trotted backwards.
‘I gave her one of those looks,’ he told the FA, ‘and gestured to her to get up, several times.’ He said he had no option after the woman’s outburst at him than to show her a straight red for dissent. ‘There was no-one near her at the time,’ he added; ‘in my view, it was a dive, pure and simple.’
When Perkins refused to get up and leave the High Street, the referee signalled to the arriving medics to bring on a stretcher. ‘It usually does the trick,’ he told the FA; ‘it’s funny how quickly they can recover when the alternative is the indignity of being carted off on one of those things. But she was stubborn alright. Okay, as it turns out, she’d dislocated her hip, but, I mean, come on, it’s not like she’d broken her spine.’
The FA over-ruled the yellow card Withenshaw had shown to one of the ambulance crew for forgetting to bring his magic spray, but upheld the red against Mrs Perkins, who has 30 days in which to appeal or face a shopping ban for three weeks.