The Football Association has refused pensioner Edith Perkins the right of appeal against a straight red card shown to her by off-duty football referee Ron Withenshaw yesterday. The incident occurred during a light snow shower in Sunderland when the 90-year-old slipped and dislocated her hip on her way to the post office. Withenshaw, who was sensibly positioned on traffic-exposed tarmac, spotted the incident from eyes in the back of his head, and immediately blew his whistle and trotted backwards shaking his head.
‘Players these days go down at the slightest contact, so I gave her one of those looks and gestured to her to get up,’ said Withenshaw, who had no option after the woman’s subsequent outburst at him than to show her a straight red for dissent. ‘There was no-one near her at the time. In my view it was a dive, pure and simple.’
When Perkins refused to get up and leave the High Street, the referee signalled to the arriving medics to bring on a stretcher. ‘It usually does the trick,’ he told reporters. ‘It’s funny how quickly they can recover when the alternative is the indignity of being carted off on one of those things. But she was stubborn alright. Okay, as it turns out, she’d dislocated her hip, but, I mean, come on – it’s not like she’d broken her spine.’
The FA over-ruled the yellow card Withenshaw had later shown to one of the ambulance crew for forgetting to bring his magic spray, but upheld the red against Mrs Perkins who will serve a three-week shopping ban.
‘Unfortunately this lady has a poor disciplinary record,’ said an FA spokesman. ‘Only last week the same ref had to book her for timewasting after he got stuck behind her in a supermarket queue.’