“Intent doesn’t come into the law” Luiz’s red card explained by former ref

Former Premier League referee, Peter Walton has attempted to justify Craig Pawson’s decision to send off David Luiz for a foul on Willian Jose in Arsenal’s 2-1 loss to Wolves.

Arsenal had started the game well and took the lead through a Nicolas Pepe goal, but Luiz was penalised for bringing down Jose just before half-time.

Pawson pointed to the spot immediately. Surprisingly, VAR deemed the call to be the correct one, and Ruben Neves stepped up and scored the ensuing penalty.

Walton has now defended the referee and insisted that it was the right call.

He insisted that Luiz challenged the attacker, and if he had attempted to play the ball, it would have been a yellow card and a penalty.

However, because he didn’t, and the ball wasn’t even close to him, it was a clear red card.

He added that the referee simply went by the player’s action since he cannot read his intentions.

The ex-Prem official said on BT Sport as quoted by the Star: “Intent doesn’t come into the law because you can’t read what’s in a player’s mind.

“So you go by his actions and his actions there were rather careless.

“In terms of bringing the player down, he doesn’t make an attempt on the ball – that’s the important thing.

“Had he made an attempt on the ball, it would’ve been a yellow card plus a penalty kick.

“But because he hasn’t made an attempt on the ball and the ball is not within playing distance, that becomes a red card.

“Craig Pawson has got no opportunity at all to issue a yellow – it has to be a red card and a penalty kick.”

Tags David Luiz Peter Walton


  1. I think that’s like the third or fourth time Luiz has done this at Arsenal.

    Chelsea will always have the last laugh!

    1. Three red cards and six penalties conceded. But yeah whether you blame Luiz, the refs or something else – it is too much.

    2. With all due respect,this is stupid believe. How could any sane mind blame Luiz on this? EPL refs are just useless and bunch of cheats and corrupt individuals,especially when it comes to officiating agaist Arsenal.

      1. Rules are rules and no sentiment about it. Luis is faulty to be out of position and the useless challenge.

  2. That might be according to the letters of the law, but then I would say that needs to be reviewed. No way in hell you should be penalized twice for something like that.

    Yellow and penalty would have been fair, even if the law states otherwise. I think almost anyone with any interest in watching football can see that.

    For anyone, but a Wolves fan, that single action ruined the entire game.

    1. Agreed, I find these justification nonsense. He didn’t attempt to play the ball “Nor did he attempt to foul the player”. His leg didn’t stretch to foul and you can’t run with your legs straight up, even Cangaroos of Australia do move their legs forward. Joze exrended his leg backward in normal running so as Luiz… Ridiculous send off, period amid some refs justification.

  3. Walton and Pawson are both wrong, they obviously do not understand the double jeopardy rule. Arsenal will appeal and it will be downgraded to yellow, not that it helps last nights result.

  4. I remember Luiz getting a straight red for going for the ball but brough Abraham down in that 2-2 draw against chelsea so i don’t understand what this man is on about.

  5. That argument is quite silly. To penalise a player for not challenging for the ball you have to argue he was challenging the other player.
    It’s not at all about “intent,” that’s a red herring. The rules refer to players “challenging for the ball” or not, but the question isn’t “is the player trying to PLAY the ball?” but “is the player going after the ball or the other player?” If we’re going by the rules, Luiz is looking at the ball, the contact is incidental (“unintentional,” if you will), therefore, it’s a (super-soft) pen and a yellow. A red for an accidental clip (and a ballerina fall) establishes a dangerous precedent and I wonder why Pawson failed to observe it in other moments in the game, when defenders held up attackers in the box. According to his reading of the rules, that’s a no-no, right?

  6. The law should be changed if the forward is through on goal and the defender clips him like Luiz did and its outside the penalty area, it should be a red card and a free kick,
    And if he is the last man and he fouls inside the area it should be yellow and a penalty..

  7. The law is not right if he has made an attempt on the player that one could have been at least a yellow card and a penality but here he did not make any attempt on the ball or neither the player it was even the player that hit him and fail so how is that a planet and to add with a red card

  8. I have always been firmly against this double jeopardy penalty rule. When a foul in the box is given, then rightly a penalty is awarded. The penalty is in fact a real odds on chance to score a goal, so any foul IN the pen area, is NOT denying a proper chance of a goal at all, though one just outside may well BE doing so.
    If an attacker is clean through but is fouled just OUTSIDE the area, he only gets a free kick with all the defence lined up infront , so that is denying a real goal chance and so the foul SHOULD BE RED CARDED.

    But when the attacker gets a penalty for INSIDE the box, he is NOT being denied a great chance of a goal; he is often given a far better chance, in having the penalty itself.

    SO in that situation, a red card as well is totally unfair! Surely? Anyone else think as I do ?

    1. i think exactly the same as you, its just simple logic..
      if its outside the box the attacker does not get an advantage so the defender can get a Red and if they score the freekick its just bad luck, but inside they get a better chance like you said so a red on top of it is just ruining a game and too much of a deciding factor

    2. jon, I completely agree with you. This is actually a triple jeopardy and it’s giving more unnecessary advantage to the attacker. Just imagine a poor finisher was fouled in the box, but the odd now improves because the team will use a specialist penalty taker to score. Also, it doesn’t make sense if a defender goes for the ball or not. A foul is a foul as long as it’s not a dangerous tackle. Having a rule like giving a yellow for playing ball and red for not playing is just ridiculous.

  9. Peter Walton, who always supports the decisions made by referees and VAR, entirely ignores the fact that the contact was initiated by the Wolves player. The replays clearly show that Willian’s heel clipped Luiz’ knee, not the other way round. Luiz was trying to avoid contact. Why should contact initiated by the attacker be rewarded with a penalty? That would simply encourage players to seek a collision, fall over and claim a penalty. Furthermore Walton’s argument that, as the law stands, the referee had no choice but to show Luiz the red card because he had made no attempt to win the ballistic wrong. He ignores the fact that Luiz had made no attempt to tackle the man either. The logical consequence of such a perverse interpretation of the rules is that if Luiz had attempted to win the ball by a reckless tackle from behind, he would only have got a yellow card, but as he wisely decided to avoid tackling Willian, he deserves a red card. The argument that the referee has no discretion is also untrue. Even in the case of ordinary legislation, when there is a dispute over the correct interpretation of a law, the courts always look at the intentions of Parliament. The same must be true of football. The intention of the law about making a genuine attempt to win the ball was to stop players cheating by tripping their opponents up, pulling them back etc. It was not intended to penalise players who are trying to avoid contact. The referee should have used a bit of common sense.

  10. Such happen agens saka he was brought down bay wolve deffender but VAR can no tolk about that one
    I think that Luiz own is a penality but no red card probably a yellow card so it is a harch dicision
    An my question is that that match ended 45+2 but the penality incident occurred in 45+3 dot

  11. It’s just ridiculous!!!

    What about the challenge on Laca by Fernandes? Is it a RED Card Offence or YELLOW?

  12. No one seems to reading the rule book or no ref. Cause the law was updated . It is a yellow card. and that is no where near a foul.

  13. Exactly Luiz didn’t challenge the ball neither the player there’s no intention of challenge or whatever that guy is talking about the last time he challenged the ball was in Chelsea game when he brings Abraham dawn n he got a red card Walton or whoever and Damet must explain that as well because it’s like they are against their rules

  14. The rules are ridiculous.
    A penalty is more than enough compensation for an accidental challenge like this.
    What do you think the outcome of this type of challenge in the centre circle would be? Free kick ? Play on?
    A player would feel hard done by to pick up a yellow for that.

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