Jamie Redknapp says referee Mike Dean's decision to send off Tomas Soucek is genuinely worrying, especially after a lengthy review of the incident with VAR.
The forward grazed Aleksander Mitrovic in the face as the pair prepared for a West Ham free-kick. The Fulham forward went to the floor clutching his face and VAR reviewed the incident.
VAR official Lee Mason instructed Dean to use the pitchside monitor - reportedly on his opinion of a clenched fist from the West Ham man - and after a long look, the referee showed Soucek a red card, despite there appearing to be no intent behind the contact.
- Fulham 0-0 West Ham - Report and highlights
- How the teams lined up | Match stats
- Get Sky Sports | Get a Sky Sports Pass
It has thrown red cards and VAR back into the spotlight after midweek incidents involving David Luiz and Jan Bednarek, and Redknapp was furious at the latest decision.
He told Sky Sports: "What is happening to our game? We all love football, but when you see decisions like that… you can blame Mike Dean, VAR, whoever you want. What is he seeing there? He goes over to the screen and still decides to give him a red card.
"He's tried to get his arm out of the way. Mitrovic has tried to grab him, and he lifts his arm to get it out of the way, and completely by accident he catches him. What is football coming to when we give that as a red card? Even the players can't believe it.
"Mike Dean has had so many years officiating, and he thinks he's meant to do that? This is why people get so frustrated when people watch football now, when they see things like that. It goes away from what we love about the game.
"The fact that Mike Dean went over there and though it was a red card is a genuine worry for me. I'd like to see Mike Dean come out, say he's looked at it overnight and admit that he's made a huge mistake."
West Ham fixtures Tomas Soucek will miss with a three-game ban
|Tuesday February 9||Man Utd||FA Cup|
|Monday February 15||Sheff Utd||Premier League|
|Sunday February 21||Tottenham||Premier League|
Redknapp added: "The game has become so sanitised now. There is no way that should be a red card. It has to be rescined.
"The people using VAR are not using any common sense whatsoever when they get to the decisions they do. Football was always a simple game, but now it's become so complicated with the rules. It's not always VAR's fault, but I want to get to a situation where things are made simpler."
Moyes 'embarrassed' for Mike Dean
West Ham manager David Moyes said he was "embarrassed" for referee Mike Dean over his decision to send Soucek off.
Referee Dean consulted the pitchside monitor, after being invited to do so by VAR official Lee Mason, having initially waved play on.
The pair were also involved in another controversial decision earlier this week, when Dean sent off Southampton's Jan Bednarek during a 9-0 defeat by Manchester United, with the club launching a successful appeal that saw the red card rescinded.
"That worries me even more that they've made that decision tonight," Moyes said. "I'm amazed they've even sent them to look at it.
"Even more amazed that Mike chose to do something with it. What can we do? I don't think anyone in football or football management are convinced by the rulings we're involved in.
"It's an accidental clash. I'm more embarrassed for whoever was on VAR and made that decision and thinks that is in any way deliberate. I think he makes contact, but if VAR don't see that it's an accidental thing then it's difficult, isn't it? I don't know what to say.
"Sometimes these decisions can affect you badly. We hope that it doesn't, but I'm amazed that they're even considering letting that go to VAR and not seeing it as accidental. It's an incredible decision.
"I'm actually quite embarrassed for Mike that he would have made that decision."
Asked whether West Ham would follow in Southampton's footsteps and lodge a formal appeal against the Soucek's suspension, Moyes added: "You very rarely win any appeals these days.
"There will always be a reason why they think it should be, so I think we find all of these decisions very difficult at the moment."
Soucek's red card - The Twitter reaction
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher tweeted: "What is going on! that's not a deliberate elbow!!" before adding the below...
VAR has not helped officials, it’s making them look worse.— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) February 6, 2021
Can’t find a soul on here that thinks that’s a red card. How can both Lee Mason and Mike Dean both see it as a red? Tomas Soucek must get that overturned.— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) February 6, 2021
Madness. Utter madness. No way is that a red card for Soucek. It is obvious it is not a malicious act. Mike Dean is having an horrendous week.— Darren Lewis (@MirrorDarren) February 6, 2021
Soucek sending off is absurd but it is nothing to do with VAR. VAR can't fix bad judgment.— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) February 6, 2021
My pointy elbows wouldn’t stand a chance in today’s game 😂— Peter Crouch (@petercrouch) February 6, 2021
Parker: Football is going sterile
Fulham manager Scott Parker said the game is going "very sterile" and that the same decision would not have been upheld when he was a player.
"I've not really seen it. It looked a little bit harsh but the way the game is going it's become very, very sterile hasn't it? In this modern day or the game we're now involved in, it's probably a sending-off.
"It's certainly not one that would have been five years ago and it's probably where Mike Dean was looking at it from. He's been refereeing for a long time and probably looks at it and thinks, 'this is a contact sport' but it looked harsh.
"That (the sterile game) is the game it seems that everyone wants. It seems like we want to slow things down on TV. I think sooner or later there's no use in wearing shin pads, I think we're only a matter of time away from that with lack of contact in a sport."