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22nd Jan 2017

Marco Verratti’s incredibly bizarre booking was actually a deserving one

This one had fans scratching their heads.

Ben Kiely

It was a strange sight seeing Marco Verratti receive a yellow card against Nantes, but it was completely warranted.

Verratti was given an unusual yellow card during Paris Saint-Germain’s 2-0 win away to Nantes on Saturday for non-sportsmanlike behaviour.

Referee Johan Hamel flashed the Italian midfielder the yellow after he dropped to his hands and knees and nodded the ball with his head back to his goalkeeper Kevin Trapp .He did this as a supposed loophole to the back-pass rule which forbids goalkeepers from picking the ball up with their hands if it is kicked to them by a teammate.

It was a particularly strange move from Verratti because he was under zero pressure from the opposition and had plenty of time to figure out his options. The fact that Trapp played the ball back to Verratti who looked to pass it out from the defence only made it look stranger.

Some fans were left scratching their heads of the unusual booking, so the referee made the unusual move of explaining the booking on Canal Plus after the game (translation via ESPN).

“The player deliberately bypassed the laws of the game. This is trickery whether the goalkeeper collects the ball or not. The defender, Verratti in this case, should be punished for anti-sporting behavior. He is using improper means to get around the laws of the game. This means an indirect free kick and a booking.”

“I know this is a bit unusual, but in my mind it was clear. I’m here to apply the laws of the game, it’s part of our duty. We’re here to make this kind of decision, we’re prepared for it.”

Indeed, he was well within his rights to book Verratti. According to the Laws of the Game of association football, it is an infraction if a player uses a trick to pass the ball to the goalkeeper, such as kicking the ball up and then using their head. When this happens, a player must be cautioned.