Ex-Premier League referee: Ritchie should get extended ban as controversial Newcastle footage analysed
Cambridge United should have had a penalty and Matt Ritchie should have been sent off as Newcastle United fell to a shock 1-0 defeat in the FA Cup third round on Saturday (8 January).
That is the view of ex-Fifa and Premier League referee Keith Hackett, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about Ritchie’s challenge on Harvey Knibbs in the first half.
As shown on the BBC’s highlights programme, Knibbs was played in behind the Newcastle defence and closing in on goal.
Ritchie brought him down but the referee waved away Cambridge’s appeals and actually awarded Newcastle a free-kick.
Hackett has claimed the Newcastle player should have been shown a straight red card and therefore handed a three-game ban.
“There is a hand on that right shoulder, he’s got a touch,” he said after analysing the footage with Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.
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“This is the dilemma for refereees. Tony Harrington is not that close to play. The thing that is going through his mind here is if he awards a penalty kick, that Newcastle player has to be sent off.
“You can see he is well behind play, well off the pace in that situation, he’s caught short.
“VAR was in operation, they didn’t think it was a foul and supported their colleague.
“Newcastle were rather fortunate not to have a penalty kick awarded against them.
“What defenders have got to understand is, when a player gets the wrong side of a defender, we’ve seen that many penalty kicks awarded in that situation.
“Honestly, Cambridge are unlucky not to have a penalty kick because it’s a careless challenge. The add on is Newcastle are lucky that player has stayed on.
“Contact has taken place. Ok, he’s gone down a bit theatrically but the referee’s off the pace. VAR should have come in. It’s a tight call but we’ve seen them given.”