Portsmouth chief blasts FA Cup rule change after Jamal Lowe ban

Mark Catlin has blasted the '˜morally and principally unfair' regulations which have barred Jamal Lowe from Pompey's next FA Cup step.

Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 11:24 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 2:58 pm
Jamal Lowe is suspended from Pompey's FA Cup clash with QPR following new competition-specific punishment rules. Picture: Joe Pepler

The in-form winger is suspended for the Blues' fourth-round clash with QPR having collected two bookings.

Following this season's introduction of competition-specific suspensions, two FA Cup cautions automatically warrant a ban, without affecting league availability.

Lowe collected yellow cards in the second-round trip to Rochdale and then last weekend's 1-0 triumph at Norwich.

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Jamal Lowe is suspended from Pompey's FA Cup clash with QPR following new competition-specific punishment rules. Picture: Joe Pepler

Yet while Catlin agrees with the concept of competition-specific punishment, he believes the changes have handed an unjust advantage to Championship and Premier League clubs.

As it stands, bookings collected by clubs featuring in the first and second rounds of the FA Cup are not wiped upon arrival at the third round.

Effectively, players from lower league clubs are already walking a disciplinary tightrope at the stage Championship and Premier League clubs first enter the competition.

And Pompey's chief executive has contacted the Football Association calling for rules to be amended as swiftly as possible.

He said: '˜The FA, along with the EFL and Premier League, were looking for more competition-specific sanctions, which in principle we agreed with.

'˜However, the Jamal suspension has thrown up the fact that, no matter how much you dress it up, the competition is unfair.

'˜QPR coming into the competition in the third round are not subject to the same competition sanctions as regards yellow cards that clubs in the earlier rounds have to contend with. The whole concept of competition is that it is equal and fair.

'˜So, if you take Lowe out of the equation, we could at this stage have multiple suspensions '“ whereas any Championship or Premier League club wouldn't because they've played just one game.

'˜We think that is morally and principally unfair.

'˜We held discussions with the FA on Monday about it, I sent an email on Tuesday morning to the FA and a letter is also going to them as we feel this is morally and principally indefensible.

'˜We are requesting a change to the competition rules in regards of suspensions being wiped at the third round when all clubs come into it so we all are at an equal starting point.

'˜I have to be fair to the FA in that they were very sympathetic. However, they explained they did not foresee a change in the rules mid-competition.

'˜I cannot agree with that, if something is clearly wrong it needs changing.

'˜This isn't about the person Jamal Lowe, this is about fairness and equality of the whole competition.'

Pompey will now be without their 11-goal leading scorer for QPR's visit, pencilled in for January 26.

Yet despite his protestations, Catlin is not anticipating a rule change this season.

He added: '˜There are a number of reasons why they went competition-specific and on the whole I am not against that. I think that is seen as a positive and not a negative.

'˜But when they've gone to rewrite the rules, they have clearly not taken into account that this is unfair to clubs entering the competition early.

'˜We believe they should be wiped at the third round, that is the logical, sensible, sane, rational thing to do '“ I cannot see how anyone could argue with that.

'˜To a point, the FA also agree it needs to be looked at, they have picked up on that, but we are saying 'Why wait to change it? Change it now'.

'˜I am asking the FA if they can change it mid-competition. I don't think they will, but it's important we highlighted it and expressed our disappointed.'