West Ham to appeal Fabian Balbuena's red card against Chelsea

West Ham are to appeal the controversial red card shown to defender Fabian Balbuena against Chelsea on Saturday.

Balbuena was sent off by referee Chris Kavanagh after he caught Chelsea full-back Ben Chilwell with his studs as he cleared the ball upfield.

Kavanagh did not initially blow for a foul but the incident was brought to his attention by VAR.

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The official reviewed the footage on the pitchside monitor and then decided to show a straight red card to the Paraguayan centre-back.

Hammers manager David Moyes called the decision “rank, rotten” after his side’s 1-0 defeat by their top-four rivals.


Speaking to Sky Sports, Moyes said: “I think it’s a decision made by somebody who’s never played the game. I don’t know where Fabi Balbuena is supposed to plant his foot.

“If they do think that, you’ll look at the one a few minutes later, with Coufal and Rudiger, a similar challenge, but they never did anything about it.

“I don’t know how it’s a red card. I don’t know where he’s supposed to plant his foot. I don’t think for one minute there’s a bit of malice in that. I thought it was a rubbish decision.”

In his post-match press conference, Moyes added: “The big thing for me is it’s just a really rank, rotten decision. And it shouldn’t have been given.

“I just thought it was a really poor decision. I don’t know who stopped the game, I thought it was supposed to be clear and obvious.

“The players cleared it, and planted his foot. Obviously we don’t want it to be planted in another player’s leg, but where else can he put his foot.

“It’s not a red card. Chilwell got up after rolling about and then crossed the ball in the box, so it couldn’t have been too bad.

“I think the refs I this country are really good, and I don’t think they’re refereeing the game as they should be, and that’s only coming from the top.

“I can understand the referee making the mistake, but somebody looking that at on a screen and seeing that as a red card, and then the refereeing agreeing, I find that incredible. It’s so bad, so bad.

“But that’s the world we’re in. If it’s going to be no contact it’s going to be no fun, the sport will be poor. The referees can change it. They’re the only people who can stand up and do it, but whoever they’re taking their orders from, it’s not very good.”

Ref Watch: Balbuena should not have seen red

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher told Ref Watch:

“I watched the game and it never went through my mind that it was a red card.

“I just thought he cleared the ball up field. You see the player on the floor, but I didn’t expect anything. VAR checked it and they checked it very forensically and what they did when they slowed it down and they showed a point of contact on the calf, they sent Chris Kavanagh to the screen.

“Once Chris goes to the screen and the image they showed him, it seduced him into thinking that it was endangering the safety of an opponent because they showed it in slow motion and with a freeze frame, and the more I watched it on the review area, the more I thought it would be a red card. But, on the field, I certainly didn’t think it was a red card.

“On the field, it’s just a coming together. Balbuena clears the ball, but when you show the image on the screen that they did, it looks as though he’s put his studs into his calf. And when you see that over and over again, which they did, that just planted the doubt in the referee’s mind and he sent him off for seriously endangering an opponent, and the pictures, when you freeze it, show that.

“However, the pictures on the field show it isn’t.”

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