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Marriner apologises to Arsenal for error

ESPN staff
March 22, 2014 « Praying for Wenger to stay | Test Wayin World Cup »
Referee Andre Marriner explains his decision to send off Kieran Gibbs. He would later apologise for his mistake © Getty Images
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Referee Andre Marriner has apologised to Arsenal for the mistaken identity that led to Kieran Gibbs being sent off against Chelsea, when it should have been Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The incident occurred 15 minutes into what became a 6-0 defeat for Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, when Oxlade-Chamberlain handled an Eden Hazard shot.

A penalty was awarded, but Marriner then sent off Gibbs, despite Oxlade-Chamberlain approaching him to confess it was his hand.

Wenger's special day - to forget

Arsene Wenger can barely watch the 6-0 drubbing © Getty Images

A statement from the refereeing organisation Professional Game Match Officials Limited read: "Incidents of mistaken identity are rare and are often the result of a number of different technical factors.

"Whilst this was a difficult decision Andre is disappointed that he failed to identify the correct player. He expressed his disappointment to Arsenal when he was made aware of the issue."

Marriner has had a controversial season at Stamford Bridge, having previously awarded a penalty to Chelsea in the last minute of their match against West Brom, which ensured they drew the game and preserved Jose Mourinho's unbeaten record at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea manager, which now stands at 76 matches.

Meanwhile, former World Cup referee Clive Thomas has called for Marriner to be stood down for the rest of the season, but ex-Premier League ref Dermot Gallagher told BBC Radio Five's Sportsweek programme: "I can't see that would do a referee any good. I can't see it would do Andre any good.

"You've got one of the leading referees in not only England but in Europe, and you're going to stand him down? That doesn't do the Premier League any good because he is a top top-flight referee - he's made one mistake and his confidence would be shattered if that happened.

"I can't see that would do him any good whatsoever."

He added: "It's an error that can be corrected off the field for Arsenal later this week. Arsenal will appeal that Kieran Gibbs didn't handle the ball, which the DVD quite clearly shows, and his red card will be rescinded and obviously Oxlade-Chamberlain will say he handled the ball and he will be the one suspended [for Tuesday's match against Swansea]."

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