CHELSEA DEFENDER Branislav Ivanovic has escaped a ban despite being sent off in Chelsea’s Community Shield defeat to Manchester City yesterday.
Serbia international Ivanovic received a straight red card for a reckless challenge on City defender Aleksandar Kolarov during the English Premier League champions’ 3-2 win at Villa Park.
Nevertheless, fullback Kolarov will be free to face Wigan Athletic on the opening day of the Premier League season due to a change in the Football Association’s rules two years ago.
The FA amendment came after both Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes were sent off in a pre-season tournament in Amsterdam, and served three-match bans which ran into the competitive domestic season.
The rule change covers all non-competitive pre-season fixtures, which includes the Community Shield. Additionally, yellow cards shown to Chelsea’s Frank Lampard, Ramires, Ryan Bertrand, Ashley Cole and Manchester City players Costel Pantilimon, Stefan Savic and Vincent Kompany will not count toward their tally for the domestic season.
While there were initial protests on the pitch from some Chelsea players, goalkeeper Petr Cech later conceded Ivanovic’s tackle merited a red card. “I saw Iva going in for the ball but his leg was over the ball, so it was a bit high and if he caught him, then it’s a red card, that’s what the referees have told us in meetings we have had,”
Cech told the club’s official website. “There was no intention to hurt the player, but the tackle happened and so it was probably a red card.”