Ex-Premier League referee issues verdict on Reece James getting extended ban as controversial Chelsea footage analysed
Craig Pawson was right to show Reece James a yellow card and not a red card as Chelsea lost 6-5 to Liverpool on penalties in Saturday’s (14 May) FA Cup final.
That is the view of ex-Fifa and Premier League referee Keith Hackett, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the showpiece occasion at Wembley.
Craig Pawson only showed one yellow card to James in the 77th minute as the game passed without major controversy.
As shown on the BBC‘s full match replay, the 22-year-old was booked for a foul on Thiago Alcantara as he went in high to challenge for a loose ball.
A red card would have seen him banned for Chelsea’s next three domestic games meaning he would miss the rest of the season.
“The lack of yellow cards was down to the player and I thought the behaviour of the players was terrific,” Hackett said after analysing the footage with Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
“For me, I think Craig has got it right, it was a yellow. “I made a note on this and I did think he was high, he has not necessarily gone for the ball, he’s gone for the man and he’s fortunate he’s only got a yellow.
“I do support Pawson on the yellow and not giving the red because of the occasion and the behaviour of the players. For me, I’m giving a yellow.
“The behaviour of the players was exemplary and it demonstrates how easy it is to referee a football match when they are like that. It’s a great credit to them. Let’s give them some praise.”
James scored his penalty in the shootout but his fellow Cobham graduate Mason Mount missed to open the door for Liverpool to win.
Mount has now lost his last five Wembley finals, including with England and while on loan at Derby County.