UPDATE: Dicker appeal turned down

Gary Dicker red card appeal turned down

Carlisle United Football Club can confirm that the decision to award a red card to Gary Dicker by referee Andy Haines during the 4-4 home draw with AFC Wimbledon last weekend has been upheld following an appeal lodged by the club this week.

Dicker was sent off with just ten minutes left play last Saturday, for deliberate handball, when the ball struck his hand inside the home penalty box.

The club lodged an appeal on the basis that the offence in question was a clear case of ‘ball to hand’ when the ball was struck, at pace, in very close proximity to the player in question. 

“We set out our evidence in a letter of appeal to the Regulatory Commission stating that we felt this was a wrongful dismissal of our player from the field of play,” managing director John Nixon explained.

“The reply from the Commission has told us that the Members have ruled that it was not a case of wrongful dismissal and that the one-match suspension, obviously for this Saturday, remains in place.”

“I have to say that Gary is extremely disappointed because he knows it wasn’t a deliberate handball,” he continued. “We all felt the evidence submitted clearly demonstrated it was ball to hand and that it was in no way a sending off offence.

“We weren’t disputing the fact a penalty was given or that a goal was scored from the incident, because the ball did definitely strike his hand. You could debate for hours as to whether or not Mark Gillespie would have saved it, because of his position at the time, so that was never part of the appeal.”

“For us, as a club, it was clearly the wrong decision for the player to be sent off so we have decided to take the next step, which is to request written reasons to explain why our appeal was unsuccessful,” he said. “We have also asked if we can have a copy of the referee assessor’s report from the game so that we can see what he, as an independent source, thought of the incident at the time. 

“Unfortunately, and despite all of that, we have had to tell Gary Dicker and the other members of the squad that the decision has been upheld and they will have to plan for the weekend without his inclusion on the team sheet.”

“The reason we are going to take this to another stage is because we almost have to acknowledge, from the games we have had so far this season, that we have encountered some very strange decisions,” he told us. “We’ve seen a goal ruled out for offside at Cheltenham, which clearly wasn’t, and what a difference the extra two points from that game would have made to our situation. 

“We’ve seen a goal given when even the player who scored felt he was offside. And we now have this sending off, which took everyone by surprise almost as soon as the card was raised. Incidents like these tend to indicate that the standard of officials at the lower levels is going to make things very difficult for teams during games. We’ve made the players aware of that and suggested they need to have it in mind whenever they go onto the pitch.”

“A situation like this can probably be best summed up as rough justice,” he said. “I really don’t understand how a panel can see it as anything other than ball to hand, particularly with the evidence we supplied.

“The other question raised from this is whether there is ever any point in clubs, particularly those at the bottom end of the spectrum, going through an appeal process at all. The fact we have been unsuccessful means that we have forfeited £500, but we were willing to take that risk. It’s such a clear case that we knew we had the grounds for a very solid appeal. 

“As a group of directors we wanted to show the playing staff that we are going to back them whenever we feel it is right and proper to do so. Based on the rules of the game this was one such situation and, therefore, the cost of the appeal was never going to be a factor. 

“It is now perhaps a job for me to talk to the FA and the FA Council to raise and discuss the issue of appeals and how these processes are conducted. It shouldn’t ever be that the small, unfashionable clubs find justice hard to come by. Decisions have to be made and based on evidence and evidence alone.”
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