Keith Hackett questions decision to overturn Kouyate red card, compares it to Bannan incident

West Ham United midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate saw his suspension overturned but Sheffield Wednesday's Barry Bannan wasn't so lucky.

Former referee Keith Hackett fears the decision to overturn Cheikhou Kouyate's red card will open the door for players to get away with "over the top challenges".

Kouyate was dismissed during West Ham's 2-2 with Crystal Palace on Saturday but will not face a suspension after his appeal was accepted by the Football Association's disciplinary review panel.

And Hackett, who educates officials worldwide for You Are the Ref, suggested in his blog for the website that the midfielder's appeal did not fit the "very specific" criteria required to be overturned.

"Kouyate launched himself off the ground and the law interprets this as a reckless act because, by being off the ground, the Senegalese midfielder was unable to change direction or stop any outcome to his actions," Hackett wrote.

"The leading foot was over the ball and made contact with his opponent.

"The challenge was made with excessive force and the law is specific that a foul challenge made with excessive force is a red card offence.

The appeal process on a red card has very specific criteria, and a serious and obvious error by the referee opens the door to the appeal process. We at You are the Ref, who educate referees around the world, are interested to learn if the criteria has changed."

Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Barry Bannan recently saw his own three-match ban upheld, having been sent off last month for a challenge that Hackett also felt did not meet the criteria outlined above.

Fortunately for Wednesday, they managed to win all three games in the Scotland star's absence, as well as the one in which he was sent off.

And even though Kouyate is free to return for this weekend's crucial clash against Arsenal, many West Ham fans will feel the damage is already done after they squandered a one-goal advantage to draw with Palace after he'd left the field.

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