David Luiz red card rule explained as Arsenal star slammed for "third offence"

David Luiz deserved to be sent off in Arsenal’s clash with Wolves on Tuesday night because he didn’t “make an attempt on the ball”, says former Premier League referee Peter Walton.

Luiz was shown a red card deep into first-half stoppage time at Molineux, having brought down Willian Jose in the box as he raced through on goal.

Referee Craig Pawson immediately pointed to the spot and gave the Brazilian his marching orders, with VAR officials deeming both calls correct on the night.

Ruben Neves stepped up and equalised for Wolves from the penalty spot, but Luiz’s dismissal has divided opinion amongst fans.

Certain supporters have pointed out that the previous ‘triple-punishment’ rule, which saw any player who denied a goalscoring opportunity automatically sent off and handed a suspension as well as giving away a penalty, has been changed so that any player committing an accidental foul would be cautioned instead of shown a red card.

However, Walton says Pawson was justified in sending Luiz off because the ball was not within playing distance when he made the challenge.

The ex-Prem official said on BT Sport: “Intent doesn’t come into the law because you can’t read what’s in a player's mind.

“So you go by his actions and his actions there were rather careless.

“In terms of bringing the player down, he doesn’t make an attempt on the ball – that’s the important thing.

“Had he made an attempt on the ball, it would’ve been a yellow card plus a penalty kick.

“But because he hasn’t made an attempt on the ball and the ball is not within playing distance, that becomes a red card.

“Craig Pawson has got no opportunity at all to issue a yellow – it has to be a red card and a penalty kick.”

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Walton added: “From my memory, that’s about the third time that David Luiz has been sent off for a similar offence.

“You say players should learn and understand, maybe so.”

But BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand sarcastically quipped: ““Another great rule.”

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