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Storm raging over Thatcher 'challenge'

There is a real storm beginning to develop around Ben Thatcher following his clash with Pedro Mendes in last nights game, which left the Portsmouth midfielder in hospital, requiring oxygen and suffering from seizures.

Universal condemnation has followed - ranging from Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp, the FA, the police, mainstream media and even Alan Pardew all queueing upto to criticise Thatcher.

For his part, Thatcher has remained quiet on the subject although it is revealed that he has written to Mendes offering his apologies - although there is no indication of him admitting any guilt. Stuart Pearce has also been cautious on the subject, refusing to criticise Thatcher (so far) although he did say that action could be taken once he has properly seen the incident again on video.

Whilst there is clearly no doubt that Thatcher was guilty of a crude and violent assault, a concern for me is that the FA will now override it's own rules by using video evidence to further punish an incident in which a referee has seen and taken what he feels (rightly or wrongly) is appropriate action.

Video evidence (as it stands) is used to met out punishment for an incident that a referee has missed but if it can now be used for 'exceptional circumstances' then I fear that the FA could be heading in a direction where they will be forced to interpret and adjudicate on incidents in every game, undermining the referee's decisions and authority.

Surely the question needs to be asked of why Dermot Gallagher felt it only warranted a yellow card? He was not far away from the incident and must have seen it in full? Maybe he saw a challenge but not the elbow and this is what the FA may now use as reason to charge Thatcher.

Clearly Thatcher deserves far worse a punishment than he was handed out last night, but with talk of the FA now acting, and even the police being involved in the matter, it is the wrong way of going about it.