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FA Release Written Reasons For Owls' Wing-Back Johnson's Ban
Monday, 6th Mar 2023 16:02

The FA has released its Regulatory Commission’s written reasons for the suspension of Sheffield Wednesday wing-back Marvin Johnson for his elbow on Wes Burns during last month’s 2-2 draw between the clubs at Portman Road.

Assistant referee Ian Cooper spotted the 16th-minute incident and alerted referee Geoff Eltringham and a penalty - which was eventually saved - was awarded. However, the officials were unable to identify which Wednesday player had been involved.

The FA subsequently charged Johnson with improper and/or violent conduct and despite an appeal, the 32-year-old was banned for three matches.

According to the Regulatory Commission, which was made up of chairman Udo Onwere, Francis Benali and Paul Raven, the referee included the incident in his match report.

“In the 16th minute my [assistant], Ian Cooper, witnessed an off the ball elbow by a Sheffield Wednesday player but at the time was unable to identify which player it was.

“As no other match official witnessed the incident no action was taken at the time other than the award of a penalty kick. On review of MOAS footage the player who committed the offence was No18 Marvin Johnson who would have been sent off for his actions.”

Cooper submitted an incident report form in which he said: “In the 16th minute of the game I witnessed a Sheffield Wednesday player elbow an opponent in the face in the Sheffield Wednesday’s penalty area.

“But at the time I could not identify the individual who had done it. On video review it is timed at 15:40 and the player responsible is Sheffield Wednesday’s No18 Marvin Johnson.”

In addition, Burns, at the FA's request, as is customary in these situations, wrote a letter outlining his take on the incident and stating that he would be willing to appear as a witness in any FA proceedings if required.

Johnson denied the charge but elected not to have a personal hearing and the Commission, which also had video evidence and photos of the incident, concluded: “Having thoroughly reviewed the video evidence, the Commission noted that it showed that [Johnson] had made firm contact on his opponent (in or around the head area) when not challenging for the ball and, as such, there was no clear evidence that the Referee was obviously wrong.

“Furthermore it was concluded, on the balance of probabilities, that this contact could not be seen as negligible. In addition to this, the
Commission found the corroborating reports of the referee and his
assistant to be persuasive.

“Indeed the Commission felt that it would be very difficult to conclude, on the balance of probabilities, that [Johnson] did not make firm contact on his opponent in this particular incident.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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Steve_M added 16:35 - Mar 6
Francis Benali seems an ideal FA expert for such cases.

Robert_Garrett added 18:48 - Mar 6
Let the punishment fit the crime - so be it!

Saxonblue74 added 19:11 - Mar 6
Officials should face disciplinary action also. Very poor.

FifeITFC added 19:13 - Mar 6
While it's good to hear he's now been done, it's a shame that they had no player dismissed (even if an incorrect one, which they could have later appealed) and so a suitable punishment was administered during the game for this incident. Instead they played the whole game with 11. Could be an important factor come the end of the season.

SickParrot added 19:48 - Mar 6
I know that cases like this must be rare but I think that new rules are needed. If the referee is satisfied that a sending off offence has occurred but can't identify the offending player, the referee should be required to ask the captain of the offending team to disclose the guilty player. If the captain fails to do so he would then receive the red card instead. If the real offender is identified later, from TV footage, the captain's red card would be rescinded and the offender would serve the suspension. This way the offending team are still reduced to ten players. If the captain discloses a guilty player but the TV footage subsequently shows that the captain identified the wrong player (for tactical reasons) the captain would then also be suspended.

GeoffSentence added 20:29 - Mar 6
I cannot recall any occasion on which Town have appealed a red card and not been given an extra game ban for a 'frivolous appeal', can't understand why Johnson wasn't given an extra one here particularly given if he had been sent off during the game he would have still had a three game ban and missed 60 minutes of the matvh.

PhilR added 22:30 - Mar 6
This particular situation must be very unusual. However, all of these matches are filmed, and it must be possible to have a method of rapidly looking back at an incident, for a fourth official to check. Perhaps there are a small number of possible incidents, like this one, where justice is only done by referring to a swift check, in this case for identity, which would allow for the right thing to be done at the time. There's a suggestion for the FA/EFL.

blues1 added 23:16 - Mar 6
PhilR. There is a system like that. It's called VAR. But thats not available at lge1 level, due to both cost, and the fact some,grounds aren't able to facilitate it.

JewellintheTown added 05:59 - Mar 7
"Johnson denied the charge"? = Video evidence, pal. Deserves what he's got, but we didn't get justice on the day.
Scummy Owl fans comments in denial to the videos & blaming Burns & justifying Johnson actions says it all.
Think I've found my new hate team.

virginblue added 08:25 - Mar 7
Those criticising the officials are comical. It's not as if many at the ground saw what happened - and I actually think it was a great spot by the linesman.
In terms of the ban, and the criticism of the ban not being increased because of a frivolous appeal. Johnson wasn't sent off, so this wasn't an appeal hearing. He denied the charge, clearly more in hope than anything else. Not so sure what is wrong with that, we'd likely do the same.

Rozeeboy74 added 09:11 - Mar 7
Agree with SickParrot - I was thinking the same thing. The captain and/or manager confesses or the captain is the man to fall on his sword.

BlueBlood90 added 09:25 - Mar 7
It's absolutely no help to us now. We should've been playing against 10 men for 75 minutes and now the only teams who profit are the ones who play them afterwards. If the linesman saw a deliberate elbow and gave a penalty then why wasn't it given as a red card at the time? Seems strange to me.

bobble added 10:00 - Mar 7
just send off any 2 players if no one owns up....

BobbyBell added 10:39 - Mar 7
His ban should be doubled for not having the guts or decency to step forward and take his dues. To deck someone and then hide away is just cowardly and so disrespectful to all the other players. How about the officials having the power to give a penalty in lieu of the sending off if no one comes forward?

IpswichToon added 17:02 - Mar 7
Who'd have thought it was possible to appeal and not get an extension on the ban!

Does anybody remember that completely ridiculous red card Nsiala got against, of all opponents, Wednesday? He was favourite for the ball, slides and wins it, then Forestieri purposefully 'hangs a leg' so Nsiala would make contact with him, gets him sent off. It was ludicrous. We appeal and the ban got extended to 4 games.

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