SANDY, UT - MAY 5: Fernando Cardenas #80 of the New England Revolution jumps over Ned Grabavoy #20 of Real Salt Lake during the second half of an MLS soccer game May 5, 2012 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Real Salt Lake beat the New England Revolution 2-1. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
A independent review panel consisting of representatives from the Canadian Soccer Association, Professional Referees Organization (PRO) and U.S. Soccer unanimously determined that referee David Gantar incorrectly issued the red card in the 81st minute. (VIDEO: See the play in question here)
The appeal came at the request of the New England front office utilizing a new review process instituted prior to First Kick 2012. This allows any MLS club to request a review of a red card incident in the case of "obvious error" by the referee within 24 hours after the completion of the match. Each club is allowed two unsuccessful appeals throughout the season.
Cardenas' Red card was rescinded based on our appeal. He is available for Saturday.— Brian Bilello (@RevsPrez) May 8, 2012
The appeal was a risky decision, with its failure possibly carrying further consequences for the New England Revolution. According to the rule under this new appeal process, if the independent panel were to deem the appeal "frivolous" it would result in the forfeiture of a $25,000 bond, loss of the right to appeal this season, in addition to next season along with the punishment for the player in question doubling.
“We’re very pleased Fernando Cardenas’ red card has been overturned and he will be available this weekend. When the red-card appeal process was introduced this off-season, teams knew that there was a high standard for the type of call that would be considered and that there were serious penalties for frivolous challenges. We’ve had what we’ve felt were a number of questionable calls against us this year. However, in this case, Fernando did not even make contact with the opposing player on Saturday and was still sent off for a ‘serious foul on a tackle.’ We disagreed with the call so vehemently that we felt we had no choice but to appeal. As the video confirmed and the review panel recognized, Fernando never made contact with the opposing player and his red card was correctly lifted.”
-Revolution GM Michael Burns
Luckily for the Revs, the only thing decided to be frivolous was the referee's decision. Cardenas will be available for Saturday's match against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Gillette Stadium.