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Mid-Day Ticker: AZ goalkeeper has card rescinded, Neymar rumors swirl & more

AZ (Reuters Pictures)

Common sense has prevailed.

The Dutch football federation has rescinded the red card given to AZ Alkmaar goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado in the aftermath of Wednesday's pitch invasion during a cup game against Ajax. 

The goalkeeper was the target of a fan who ran onto the field right at the player in the 36th minute of the match. Acting in defense, Alvarado got the assailant to the ground before continuing to kick him until he was restrained. 

While the FIFA Laws of the Game stipulate that referee Bas Nijhuis was in his right to give Alvarado a red card for violent conduct, the circumstances were clearly a bit unusual, as the fan could have easily been of more harm to Alvarado and anybody else on the field, and the player was acting in preservation of his own safety. In addition to the card being taken off the books, Alvarado will not face a suspension.

No decision has been made yet on how the game, which was suspended after the incident, will proceed. Ajax was leading, 1-0, when the fan rushed the field. The options, according to the Dutch federation, are either to replay it from the beginning, pick up where the teams left off or call the 1-0 score final.

Here are some other stories from around the soccer world:


As one of the most sought-after young prospects in the world, it comes as no surprise that rumors linking Neymar to Barcelona have begun to emerge.

Though Santos has denied the claims that Neymar is slated to ink a contract with the La Liga giants, Barça president Sandro Rosell refused to rule out the possibility and admits to having tracked the Brazilian striker recently.  

The player's father, however, claims that Barcelona is "a great option" for his son.

Santos released this statement on its club website regarding the rumors saying that the rumors are untrue and that Santos fully expects to have him through the 2014 FIFA World Cup, when his contract with the club expires.


Juan Carlos Garrido's disastrous start to the 2011-2012 campaign has come to a close.

Languishing just one spot above the La Liga relegation zone, and now, recently ousted from the Copa del Rey by third-tier opposition Mirandes, Villarreal finally pulled the plug on Garrido.

Villarreal had also failed to secure a solitary point in this season's edition of the UEFA Champions League, finishing its group play as the cellar dwellers of Group A.


Garrido wasn't the only manager in Spain to not last after an embarrassing Copa del Rey loss, as Atletico Madrid fired Gregorio Manzano after the club's loss to third-tier Albacete.

Former Atletico midfielder Diego Simone is a leading candidate to replace Manzano, who exits with the club four points clear of the relegation zone. Although the club lost Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan in the offseason, reinforcements like Radamel Falcao, Diego and Arda Turan had been brought in to stem the tide, something Manzano was ultimately unable to do.


Think rescinding the red card was the right move? Think it is only a matter of time before Neymar joins Barcelona? What do you make of the firings in Spain?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. What’s funny to me is that the Dutch federation has THREE very different options in the rule book for how to deal with suspended games. Sounds confusing. Upon what standard would they decide which avenue they take?

  2. +1

    He’s been going around defenidng the ref since yesterday. Quite pathetic in my book but oh well… He’s probably never been in a fight or had to defend himself; the guy kept trying to get up until security got there.

  3. conspiracy? His argument sounds pretty logical, people only result to personal insults when they are losing in an argument. Talk is cheap so I don’t care what the FA said. The only thing that matters is the actions that they took and that was taking the card away.

  4. Why is everyone getting so upset on this topic?

    It’s a damn hard job being a ref. You have to make split second decisions with partial and imperfect information based upon rules that are not black or white, they are grey. The ref made the wrong decision, but it was a very unusual circumstance. 99.87675% of the time, when there is any kind of punch or kick by a player, automatic red.

    I really don’t know how anyone can judge the keeper after watching the video and the circumstances. He is in a hostile stadium being attacked by who knows? A psycho, a drug addict, maybe just an idiot. The keeper is kicking the attacker while the attacker is getting up and kicking out at the keeper. I’m pretty sure the keeper was restraining himself. There are no reports of any injury to this idiot. This is speculation, but I’m guessing that the keeper could have knocked the attacker’s head into the stands if he chose to do so. He didn’t.

  5. oh!! a conspiracy!! I think your tin foil hat is a little too tight today.
    Why don’t you just admit you were wrong and learn a little about the game from this incident? It will stop you from looking foolish next time.

  6. dude, you are confusing me. the dutch FA rescinded the red card and therefore does not support your view. the part of the statement about the card being given correctly is just lip service (perhaps to protect the ref and the FA’s ability to come down hard on players who hurt fans under different circumstances), as proven by the fact that what they actually did is rescind the freaking card. if they really thought the ref made the right call then they would not have overturned it.

  7. I didn’t say that I agree with the ref’s interpretation, only that it was within the scope of the rule as it is written.

    Kicking the fan is violent conduct. The question was never if the conduct was violent. The question was whether the goalie has a right to defend himself when he is attacked on the pitch. And whether the ref should have chosen to exercise a penalty against the player attacked.

    The uproar in the wake of this instance is directed to the issues of workplace safety. The goalie has a right to a safe work environment.

    The referee does have some discretion. He could have opted to not issue any cards, issue a yellow or issue the red that he did. The rule as it is traditionally applied leans heavily toward issuing a red card when a player assaults a fan. This is an unique circumstance where the ref should have chosen differently due to the advantage that it would have given Ajax and the fact the player was the victim of an unprovoked on field attack. I would argue that his best course of action would have been to let the issue pass on the field and then comment on the incident in his match report. The league could then decide whether a penalty was warranted for the player’s action. This would have been the best solution for both diffusing the atmosphere and for insuring that the fan did not influence the outcome of the game.

    But to claim that the ref was not acting within the context of the rules as they have been historically interpreted is also not fair. Most issues of player violence toward a fan do warrant issuing a red card. The player did continue to kick at the fan after he was down. I would have done the same and damn whether I was ejected or not. Some things must take precedence over a silly game. My life and safety fall in that category.

    I would also argue that the refs need more direction for dealing with this set of circumstances.

    At the end of the day this was a sad incident. And it appears that in the end, the final take on the situation will be just.

    We can all be thankful for that.

  8. I understand the decision to give the red card and the decision to rescind it. While this case probably falls within the gray area, it seems there are a lot of people spreading misinformation. In most places, Esteban would have been jailed along with the fan had this happened in the street.

    You may use reasonable force until the attack stops. In this case, the attacker was on the ground and seriously outnumbered. Esteban continued to kick him in anger. Contrary to popular belief it seems, you do not have the right to use any amount of force you wish if you are attacked.

  9. So, the referee and the Dutch FA are wrong but you are right? Suuuuure. No offense but I think I’m going to go with the Dutch FA on this one. I think they know a little more about football than you do.

  10. The ref was completely wrong. Reading the ref report he gave the red for the SECOND kick. So apparently he is allowing some “violent conduct” since no red for the first kick. Does the ref get “kudos” for that also? If you watch the tape it is clear the keeper did not see security when he kicked him the second time. He stopped “violent conduct” immediately when security arrived. Watch the tape again. No way a ref can allow one kick and not the other if a player is defending himself from assault.

  11. It was not “a dopey call on the field”. The FA admits it was the correct call all along. If anything, kudos to the referee for having the guts to make the right call at the time.

  12. LiquidYogi – You are a fool. The reason people referee matches is to allow common sense to prevail. Laws are there to provide guidance, referees are there to be arbiters, to create a fair and even playing field.

    Do you realize what would happen if teams are rewarded for their fans attacking opposing players? People would attack and goad athletes into red cards. There can be NO negative consequences for the away team and in my opinion, the match should be awarded to AZ. This will encourage Ajax to control their fans

  13. I think everyone is right. Basically the Federation is trying to thread some logical needle that doesn’t exist by saying both that the card was correctly given and that they are rescinding it.

    They’re probably doing this intentionally: they’re trying to stand up for and protect their referee (who maybe is generally a good referee, I don’t know) but also make the logical decision and keep the player’s union happy by rescinding the card.

    In short, I don’t think it’s possible to get to the bottom of the Federation’s position on this. I think it’s inherently ambiguous and probably intentionally so. And likely the right move by the Federation. Now let’s see what they do about the result of the game.

  14. really nice to see a sports league make a sensible decision and overturn a dopey call on the field. props/kudos/big ups to the dutch football federation!

  15. It also would have been within the rules for the ref to not give a card. That’s the point. Where specifically was the “violent conduct”? The first kick? The second kick? It’s patently absurd to suggest a player can not defend themselves from an assault and/or murder by a fan. How is the player supposed react according the ROTG? Stand there and allow themselves to be assaulted? Of course not…

  16. Most likely. They are going to do everything possible to fool people into thinking he is worth whatever inflated price they’re asking for him.

  17. sounds like they’re basically saying technically he could give the card but with common sense he should have given the goalie a break here.

  18. Glad to see some common sense. For the record, LiquidYogi was correct in stating that the referee was operating within the rules. The review acknowledged that the referee made a ruling that was in keeping with the written rules.

    However, the ruling then went on to state that this was a highly unusual situation and rescinded the red card. If the game is restarted or replayed, the GK should be able to take the pitch with his team mates and Ajax will not have gained a competitive advantage from this fan’s actions.

  19. That’s what I get out of it as well. The red card was correctly given by the referee but the ban was taken away because the specific circumstances.

  20. “To be clear the Red Card was not Rescinded at all.”

    That’s you right there. A liar. And then to support your lie you leave out of the part of the translation that disproves your lie.

    You’re pathetic.

  21. Sigh. You fail to realize the inherent ambiguity in the law allowed for the by through official discretion (which is probably why you’re a sad sack referee instead of a lawyer). You pathetically trumpet your refereeing credentials. You leave out the first paragraph which plainly states that the card was rescinded.

    Koman Coulibaly is that you?

  22. Need to disuade more pitch invaders… Ajex fan rushes the field, take away the 1-0 advantage and replay the game…

    Still think the Alkmaar coach acted best in getting everyone off the field-situation could only escalate…

  23. Except there is no absolute right or wrong in this case. He was within his rights to give the card, but he also could have not given the card. You are only exposing yourself as a ridiculous stickler and pedantic fool, a Javert of refereeing.

  24. LOL

    You failed to include the first paragraph in your translation. But given your comments attacking everyone saying it was the right decision I’m not surprised at your blatant lack of honesty.

    “The prosecutor announced Thursday afternoon football that the red card give to AZ goalkeeper Esteban, in the Asian Cup match Ajax AZ on Wednesday, December 21, was rescinded, after having taken note of the declarations and the television images.”

  25. “The prosecutor indicated that referee Bas Nijhuis under the rules field football the red card given correctly. Nevertheless, the prosecutor – looking at the specific circumstances – believe that the goalkeeper is in a situation of such an emotion has established that he entered reaction is carried out. ‘The keeper was unexpectedly attacked, he saw his assailant not arriving. The prosecutor believes that such a reaction prompted no disciplinary consequences should have. This action will bring Esteban therefore not suspended, “said a spokeswoman for the union. ,, Further, the union at this time because of the ongoing investigation by the prosecutor not discuss the substance of the events.”

    There’s the translation from Ives link. So you can take from that what you will.

  26. Not sure firing Garrido is going to do much. Villareal keeps selling it’s best players; they were always going to struggle this year even with Rossi.

  27. To be clear the Red Card was not Rescinded at all. The KNVB stated clearly that the Red Card was correctly given. They decided to not enforce the further BAN that the red card would entail.

    So everyone arguing that the Referee was wrong to give the red card, here’s the confirmation from the Dutch FA themselves that the referee was Correct.


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