Case Study: Atkinson Shows Cards Aren't Always Necessary

On 25 August 2012, Martin Atkinson was the referee in a Premier League (ENG) match between West Ham United (blue) and Swansea FC (white).

Early in the match, #4 white was attacking down the right side and lost possession of the ball to a blue defender (images 1 to 3). He subsequently fouled the defender, which was rightly called by the assistant referee and whistled by referee Atkinson. After #4 white got to his feet, he promptly kicked the ball away (image 4).

While the Laws explicitly state that this is a cautionable offense, referee Atkinson chooses not to issue a caution. That is not to say that he let the tactic go unnoticed, as seen in the last image.

A small illustration that player management doesn’t always require the use of cards.