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Tottenham to appeal Son Heung-Min red-card punishment

The three-match suspension for violent conduct is, in the minds of the club, too harsh.

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A lot of Tottenham Hotspur fans are still fuming about Son Heung-Min being dismissed by match official Craig Pawson in last weekend’s 1-0 loss at Bournemouth. Sonny uncharacteristically lost his temper after being stamped and shoved in the back by the Cherries’ Jefferson Lerma and shoved Lerma to the ground with both hands right in front of the official. Pawson wasted no time in showing Sonny a straight red card, the first of two sending-offs that sent Spurs completely off the rails.

Now, according to Sky Sports journalist Lyall Thomas and others, Spurs have decided to appeal the decision, claiming that the decision was overly harsh.

There’s a not-crazy rationale for appealing this card. While Sonny’s reaction to shove Lerma was a pretty stupid one at the time, Spurs can point to two incidents prior to Sonny’s shove that might mitigate the punishment. The first is, obviously, Lerma shoving Sonny in the back and stamping on his foot immediately after the foul. There was also another incident a few minutes earlier in the match where Lerma cleaned out Sonny with a shoulder barge right in front of Pawson which went uncalled.

In addition, while Sonny shouldn’t have done what he did, his shove was to the chest and was not above the shoulders (which is an automatic red card), so Spurs may argue that while clearly a warning was warranted, it did not meet the threshold of “violent conduct.”

Appealing red cards, especially ones ostensibly for violent conduct, can be tricky, but I’m not sure Spurs have a whole lot to lose. They seem to have a strong argument in this case, so why not try for it? Sonny will definitely miss Sunday’s match against Everton, but if the appeal can reduce the sentence to one match instead of three, that’s a net win for Spurs and would mean that he’d be available for the first match of next season. And if it’s rejected, I suppose it’s possible that there could be extra matches tacked on, but that’s a problem for next season.