Yesterday, the FA charged Martin Skrtel with violent conduct for stepping on David de Gea late in Sunday’s match between Liverpool and Manchester United. If uncontested, the charge would have seen the defender serve an automatic three match ban, the same as if the referee had seen the incident and decided it merited a red card.
Skrtel has today decided to contest the charge and, with the backing of the club, has already submitted a challenge on the grounds that the stamp he is accused of was accidental and unavoidable given his forward momentum and that the United goalkeeper dove directly in front of him. A final ruling from the FA’s disciplinary committee is expected by the weekend.
The FA reserves the right to add an additional game to any punishment if a player appeals and it is deemed frivolous. They can also following a challenge chose to uphold the basic three-match ban or reduce the punishment. If the punishment is upheld—or increaded—it is likely one of Kolo Toure or Dejan Lovren would be given a chance in Skrtel’s place.
"I don’t think he caught him with intent," was manager Brendan Rodgers’ take on the incident. "I think he’s trying to nick the final contact on the ball, and if he does then he probably gets a penalty, so he’s stretching. He’s just trying to get a toe on the ball, and if he does that and gets brought down it’s probably a penalty."