Cotterill seeking FA answers over refereeing controversy

Ricardo Rocha is sent off at Cardiff last weekend
Ricardo Rocha is sent off at Cardiff last weekend
Mohamed-Labib Maouche. Picture: Colin Farmery

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The Football Association have been contacted in a bid to get to the bottom of Pompey’s disciplinary problems.

And it is Steve Cotterill who made the phone call.

The Blues boss is eager to discover the motives behind a string of debatable decisions which have been inflicted upon his side of late.

Pompey have received nine red cards and 82 yellow cards in all competitions this season.

In terms of the Championship, only Sheffield United have a worse record.

Cotterill believes the dismissal of Ricardo Rocha against Cardiff last weekend was one in a long line of refereeing errors against his side.

That has prompted Pompey’s manager to approach the FA for their views.

Cotterill has also taken advice from a referee’s chief.

In the meantime, the Blues take on Swansea tomorrow, minus the suspended Rocha, of course.

And Cotterill is hoping football’s governing body can soon provide him with the answers he seeks.

He said: ‘The FA aren’t looking into our sending offs. What they are looking into is what I have asked them to look into.

‘There have been some sending offs this season that have been justifiable and some bookings that have been justifiable.

‘But I am not fining Ricardo because he hasn’t headbutted him (Jay Bothroyd), so that’s my conclusion.

‘I’ve looked at the incident, I’ve spoken to people at the FA this week and I’ve spoken to the referee’s secretary and I will speak to him again before tomorrow’s game.

‘I think there are a few incidents that need looking at – and that’s not me trying it on.

‘We’ve been on the rough end of them.

‘After five minutes of the Reading and Cardiff games, I could have told you we would not get a thing.

‘In a referee’s mind, they have gone there and they know who they think is potentially going to win the game that day – and I think that has influenced them, for sure.’

Rocha will not play again for Pompey this season following his Cardiff red card.

It means Aaron Mokoena is lined up for a recall at the heart of the defence against Swansea tomorrow.

Others sent off this season are Liam Lawrence, Richard Hughes, Carl Dickinson, Greg Halford, Jonathan Hogg, Dave Kitson and Hayden Mullins.

Several of those decisions have certainly looked harsh.

Mullins was the most recent example when he was given his marching orders against Coventry City for intentional handball.

Hughes was sent off for swearing against Leicester in the Carling Cup.

Meanwhile, Hogg and Lawrence were harshly dismissed after picking up second yellows for handball incidents.

The cases for Dickinson, Halford and Kitson were more straightforward.

Still, Rocha took that tally to nine for the season after his Cardiff exit.

That decision by referee Kevin Wright brought fierce protests from the defender and the Pompey management at the time.

Cotterill has since had time to study the video evidence.

And he is adamant that decision represents another ill-deserved red card.

He added: ‘I’ve seen that Dave Jones said it was the correct decision that Ricardo was sent off (against Cardiff).

‘But I’m sorry, Dave. If that’s the correct decision then Jay Bothroyd should have gone as well and I’m not an advocate of sending players off.

‘If Ricardo was sent off, then I have seen probably three games since where players should have been sent off.

‘If walking back to a player now is deemed as aggressive behaviour then you will be sending 10 players off this weekend.’