MLS Clubs Will Be Allowed To Appeal Red Cards In 2012

SANDY, UT - MAY 28: Referee Mark Kadlecik holds up a red card for defender Jamison Olave #4 of Real Salt Lake (L) after obstructing Mike Futico #2 of the Seattle Sounders FC on a break away deep in goal scoring territory in a MLS soccer game on May 28, 2011 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Mike Terry/Getty Images)

MLS teams will be allowed to request reviews of at least two red cards during the season.

MLS officials have long promised to improve the quality of officiating in the league. Now, they've taken a pretty concrete step in that direction with the announcement that MLS clubs will be allowed two appeals of red cards during the season. While not directly aimed at officiating, per se, it is a sign that the league is taking complaints of particularly egregious red cards into account.

In the past, MLS has only reviewed red cards in cases of mistaken identity. This has led to more than a few incidents in which players have been forced to sit out an extra game even though they may not have even committed a foul, let alone one that warranted being kicked out of the game. Obviously, there will still be instances of players being sent off unjustly -- and the appeal would only be after the fact -- but at least the chances of the punishment being compounded are less.

It is also a clear sign that MLS is not willing to blindly support officials' decisions. Officials who regularly have their red cards rescinded will, no doubt, come under even more scrutiny, which can't possibly be a bad thing. The danger here is that for all the positive steps MLS has attempted to make in better protecting players, this could make officials even more wary of handing out red cards.

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