Why was a red circle card used to eject Joao Gomes in the Brentford vs Wolves game

A rare ‘circle red card’ was produced by referee Tony Harrington during Friday night’s FA Cup clash between Brentford and Wolves – and it prompted many to ask the same question… why?

In the eighth minute of tonight’s third round tie at the Gtech Community stadium, Harrington brandished a straight card to Wolves midfielder Joao Gomes for an unnecessary challenge on Christian Norgaard.

It was a decision that sparked plenty of debate on social media. Was it a tackle worthy of a red card? Was it intentional? And why was he handed a circular-shaped red instead of the usual rectangle?

One fan commented on the incident, saying: “Hang on why’s the red card a circle?” while another wrote: “Wtf was that? Why is the red card a circle? What on earth is happening?”

A third said: “Just seeing a round/circle red card for the first time to be honest.”

So why did Harrington hand out a circular-shaped red? According to a referee’s forum, the circular and oval cards were originally introduced to “assist” players who couldn’t differentiate between the colours.

They added: “It was also to help the referee who wanted to pull out the quick card, the shape telling him which card he was pulling out.”

In addition to the above, Reddit user1025Travelleronce explained why South African rugby referee Andre Watson would use a different shape to the rest.

“I met him at a train station in Sydney. He asked me about the next train and I said to him ‘Andre you referees know everything’. He laughed and we got on the train and started talking.

“He once wanted to yellow card someone but pulled out the red one in error, so he changed his red card to a circle so to not make the same mistake again.”

Fans of a certain age will remember circular reds being used previously. Uriah Rennie, a former Premier League official, would often use the different shaped card.

“Feel like I haven’t seen a circle red card in years,” one fan reminisced. “A classic of the game.”

This isn’t the first time a circular-shaped red has been brandished in the FA Cup of late. Last season, referee Dean Whitestone produced the rare card during Wrexham’s FA Cup tie with Sheffield United.

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