Sadie Blakely’s suspension: clarification

Clarification from Hampshire FA suggests Pompey goalkeeper will be available for crunch game

Sadie Blakely is sent off by referee Harry Redman against QPR, May 3 2015 (Photo: Kevin Richards)

Sadie Blakely’s suspension should not take effect until 14 days after her dismissal, according to Hampshire FA (Photo: Kevin Richards)

Oops! Looks like I might have jumped the gun.

Earlier today I published a story intended to amplify one aspect of yesterday’s report on Portsmouth’s Premier League victory over Queens Park Rangers, in which their goalkeeper, Sadie Blakely, was sent off.

The question of when her suspension takes effect is of immense importance, bearing in mind the significance of the club’s final league fixture of the season next Sunday.

It was also the main thing exercising Blakely and Pompey manager Perry Northeast after the game, when the likelihood of an immediate one-match ban – ruling her out of that game against West Ham – was mooted.

As I always do, I attempted to clarify the situation regarding when suspensions normally take effect following such incidents, and while I was given some general information in good faith, I was not able to ascertain exactly what would happen in Blakely’s specific case.

The club’s media officer, Lee Roberts, said he would not have any further information today and nobody at the Hampshire FA, which deals with disciplinary matters, has been available this bank holiday – until tonight.

Earlier today I wrote an article based on the general information I had – which suggested suspensions should be served at the next scheduled match – but indicating that I had not been able to establish the specifics relating to Blakely’s case.

Hampshire FA have now responded to my enquiries and corrected my understanding, indicating that suspensions for players sent off do not take effect until 14 days after the day of the match in which they were dismissed.

Free to play

This would leave Blakely available for Sunday’s match – although not for the Premier League championship play-off a fortnight later if Pompey were to win the league.

A spokesman said Hampshire FA could not confirm the length of the ban – for two bookable offences – until it had received referee Harry Redman’s report.

But he said: “I can confirm that the correct procedure is that a player who is dismissed from the field of play will begin their suspension 14 days after the date of the match in which they were sent off.”

I have also spoken to Greg Petts, secretary of the London & South East Regional Women’s Football League and of the South East Counties Women’s Football League.

Although he is not involved in this case, he has experience of player suspensions that I do not.

And he echoed Hampshire FA’s comment, saying that the normal procedure in the case of a sending-off resulting from two yellow cards is for bans to take effect at least 14 days after the date of the offence. This guidance appears in the FA’s discipline handbook.

So unless the referee’s report contains another unexpected element, it looks as though Blakely should be free to play against West Ham on Sunday.

See also: Portsmouth 3-1 QPR

As an experienced journalist, I pride myself on making exhaustive checks before publishing articles on Sent Her Forward.

I did make strenuous efforts to clarify the situation today, but it seems I might have been too hasty in publishing without confirmation, for which I apologise.

I have tried to make this website as informative and interesting as possible, and I am not afraid to publish stories I believe to be accurate and of public interest, even if they are not quite what clubs or individuals might want to see published.

But I always want the stories to be accurate and I would hate to think that any error of judgment I have made here might undermine my hard work of the past 17 months.

I apologise to Portsmouth manager Perry Northeast, Sadie Blakely and everyone connected with the club for any embarrassment or upset my slightly premature story caused.

Nobody from the club has complained to me, but I don’t need a complaint to correct an error if I believe I am wrong.

Once the situation regarding Blakely’s suspension is known for sure, I shall report it.

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