MANCHESTER, March 22- Referee Neil Swarbrick issued an apology on Saturday after mistakenly sending off West Bromwich Albion defender Gareth McAuley during his side’s 3-0 Premier League defeat at Manchester City.
West Brom’s Craig Dawson fouled City striker Wilfried Bony just outside the box in the second minute of the game at the Etihad Stadium, but Swarbrick showed a straight red card to an incredulous McAuley.
“In the second minute of Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion, referee Neil Swarbrick made a decision to send off Gareth McAuley for a ‘denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity’ offence,” Professional Game Match Officials Ltd, the body responsible for Premier League referees, said in a statement.
“The referee has confirmed the offence was caused by a different player, which should be addressed now as a case of mistaken identity. The referee has apologised for his error.”
It was the second such case in the space of three weeks, following Sunderland defender Wes Brown’s dismissal at Manchester United after Radamel Falcao appeared to have been fouled by John O’Shea.
Brown’s red card was later rescinded, but his suspension was not transferred to O’Shea, with referee Roger East explaining that he mistakenly thought that Brown had committed a foul.
A similar incident also occurred last season, with Kieran Gibbs wrongly sent off after Arsenal team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain handled the ball on the line during a 6-0 loss at Chelsea.
Following Saturday’s incident, West Brom manager Tony Pulis called for match officials to be able to make use of video technology.
“I would definitely call now for managers to have two calls each and every game, where there are 30 seconds and they can have a video link-up with people upstairs who can watch it on video,” he said.