Independent Review Panel Rightfully Rescinds Obafemi Martins’ Red Card

By Phil Naegely
martins- salazar
Jayne Kamin-Oncea – USA Today Sports

Seattle Sounders designated player and forward, Obafemi Martins received a controversial red card from referee Ricardo Salazar last Saturday, and it left many asking if Martins really deserved a straight red card for his tackle or if Salazar had some sort of negative bias towards the Sounders. Salazar has given the Sounders five red cards in the last five matches he has worked with them involved. On Wednesday, Major League Soccer reported that an independent review panel rescinded Martins’ red card.

Martins did not deserve the red card in the first place, so it is good to see that the panel saw the penalty didn’t fit the crime or in this case the tackle. Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid was glad to have Martins back for this weekend’s match against the Vancouver Whitecaps. He said:

“Getting Oba back is a big plus for us … Oba and Lamar [Neagle] have played together fairly well and to be able to come back with those two is a huge plus and helps us in terms of making our lineup decisions this week … Nobody cared about my opinion the last time, I doubt they care now … We’re happy that the process works.”

I can’t agree more with Schmid. MLS has a great appeals process in place that works and makes sense. The review panel is made up of three members: one representative from the U.S. Soccer Federation, Canadian Soccer Association, and Professional Referees Organization (PRO). As a side note, PRO assigns the referees weekly not MLS.

While some still think Martins deserved the red card, the review panel made the right decision by it taking back and the subsequent one game suspension and fine.

Seattle can desperately use Martins this weekend because they will be without many stars due to international duty or nagging injuries. If Martins’ red card would have stood Seattle would have had to dig even further into their bench, and Martins provides a good offensive threat for the team.

Nonetheless, the independent review panel made the right choice taking back Martins’ red card. He never deserved it in the first place, and they realized that when reviewing the incident.

I want to know your thoughts. Do you think the review panel made the right decision rescinding Martins’ red card? Do you think Salazar should no longer be able to referee  games involving the Sounders? Comment below or interact via social media.

Phil Naegely is a Soccer writer for Like him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @pnaegelyRS and add him to your circles on Google.

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