Emma Byrne was sent off for a foul on former teammate Ellen White on Sunday; it was obviously the correct decision no doubt about it, but was the red card given for the right reason?

Let me explain.

The match reports points to a professional foul:

“Ellen fell awkwardly after a challenge from Arsenal ‘keeper Emma Byrne, who received a red card for the professional foul.

“White was forced off after the incident, and scans later showed that the England international had fractured her clavicle.”

Here is a video of the incident:

The laws of the game on a red card offense is as follows:

Sending-off offences

A player, substitute or substituted player who commits any of the following
offences is sent off:

• denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by
deliberately handling the ball (except a goalkeeper within their penalty area)
• denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent moving
towards the opponents’ goal by an offence punishable by a free kick (unless
as outlined below)
• serious foul play
• spitting at an opponent or any other person
• violent conduct
• using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures
• receiving a second caution in the same match

We can clearly see on the video that Ellen White is not running towards the goal but towards the corner flag. The angle of her run is quite clear, so giving a red card for DOGSO is really debatable in my opinion.

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Serious foul play
A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses
excessive force or brutality must be sanctioned as serious foul play.
Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the
front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force
or endangers the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play.

It makes more sense to give the red card for serious foul play as Ellen White’s safety has clearly been endangered as she ended up with a broken clavicle.

It will be interesting to see the length of the Arsenal goalkeeper’s ban considering the precedent from the FA that only banned Abby Holmes for one game after destroying Kelly Smith’s ankle. A clear indication that the FA did not see the danger of the foul from the Sunderland defender at the time.

Hopefully Ellen White will have a quick recovery and will be back soon on the pitch.