Two incidents, almost identical, with one red card rescinded but the other upheld.
Of all the controversies we have endured in the age of VAR, this one is the biggest nonsense of all.
How can a disciplinary commission revoke Southampton defender Jan Bednarek’s dismissal at Old Trafford but reject Arsenal’s appeal against his sending-off at Wolves?
The disparity between those two judgements is embarrassing.
If I were Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, I would be absolutely steaming at the inconsistency.
In both cases, the defender is not trying to play the ball – he is trying to get out of the way.
There was arguably a shade more contact in the case of Luiz and Wolves forward Willian Jose than Bednarek’s close encounter with Manchester United striker Anthony Martial, but it was the same action: A defender trying NOT to collide with his opponent.
For me, it’s obvious – either you rescind both red cards or you uphold both.
What did Luiz do any different to Bednarek? Why should he serve a suspension this weekend while the Saints centre-back is free to play at Newcastle?
In all the arguments about refereeing decisions and VAR, this is a new low – because the inconsistency is just staggering.
It is bad enough that two referees on the field – Mike Dean and Craig Pawson – reached the same conclusion and issued red cards to Bednarek and Luiz, although they would argue they were applying the law.
It is even more disappointing that neither was overturned by VAR and, in Dean’s case, he stuck to his original decision after consulting the pitchside TV monitor.
But who was on that disciplinary panel that revoked one red card but not the other? It’s a ludicrous outcome.
In my opinion, they should not be allowed to hide behind anonymity. They should explain how they reached their conclusions or never be allowed to sit on that panel again.
The right thing to do was to overturn both red cards. Neither player should be forced to serve a ban.
I accept that referees are going to make mistakes. Human error is part of the game, and VAR was introduced to overturn the worst mistakes, ostensibly to ensure there were no grave miscarriages of justice.
But the inconsistency between Bednarek and Luiz’s cases is one of the worst yet, a total nonsense, because it looks like two sets of rules governing the same incident, and Arsenal fans have every right to feel aggrieved.