Ligue 1 referee who kicked player banned for six months

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Ligue 1 official Tony Chapron has been suspended by the French Football League (LFP) for six months for kicking Nantes defender Diego Carlos during a 1-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.

In the late stages of the game in January, Carlos charged forward to join a Nantes counter-attack and clipped Chapron’s heels — clearly accidentally — sending the official tumbling to the ground.

However, Chapron retaliated and swung a kick out at the Brazilian before giving Carlos his marching orders with a second yellow card as the player complained.

The match official’s actions were immediately criticised by Nantes players after the game, with midfielder Valentin Rongier calling for him to be given a lengthy suspension.

“I don’t think Diego did it on purpose because he’s not a bad guy, and after the referee gets up and kicks out at him from the ground,” he said. “He dared to tell me that he slipped but I know he struck him. I know it’s difficult to referee, but they have to question themselves from time to time. If a player did that, we’d be banned for 10 matches. I hope the pictures speak for themselves.”

A retrospective review then saw Carlos’ red card quickly overturned by LFP officials, while the Chapron was suspended while the disciplinary committee investigated the situation.

However, despite the LFP having decided on the full extent of the referee’s punishment, half of his penalty has been suspended.

“After hearing Mr. Tony Chapron and reading the official’s report, the commission decided to sanction him with six months of suspension, three of which were suspended,” a statement on the website of the French football governing body read.

Mesut Ozil extends contract with Arsenal up to 2021

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Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil has extended his stay at the Emirates stadium after signing a contract extension that ties him to the Gunners for three more years.

The deal comes on the day Arsenal broke their transfer record to sign striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund and follows the departure of forward Alexis Sanchez, who joined Manchester United despite lengthy contract negotiations with the Gunners.

By signing the deal Ozil, 29, will be erasing months of uncertainty that shrouded him which also makes him the club’s highest paid player on £350,000 a week before tax and represents a massive statement of intent from both him and them.

His previous deal had been set to expire by the end of the coming summer, which would have allowed the German international to leave as a free agent by then.

The player was also allowed to discuss a move with foreign clubs since 1 January.

Ozil has made 21 appearances for Arsenal this season, scoring four goals and recording six assists, and his new deal commits him to the Premier League club until he is 32.

He won three FA Cups in his three-and-a-half-year spell at the Emirates — with no other player recording more assists or created more chances in the Premier League since his debut in September 2013.

Meanwhile, Arsenal saw the departure of another player in Olivier Giroud, completed a £18m move to Chelsea and signed an 18-month contract at Stamford Bridge. In turn, the Gunner’s London rivals allowed Michy Batshuayi to join Aubameyang’s former club Borussia Dortmund on loan for the rest of the season.

Jay Rodriguez double enough to oust Liverpool from FA Cup

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Jay Rodriguez scored twice as West Brom defeated Liverpool by 3-2 and ousted the Reds from the FA Cup in a fourth-round tie dominated by controversial video assistant referee (VAR) decisions.

Referee Craig Pawson ruled out a West Brom goal but gave Liverpool a penalty and delayed awarding the visitors’ third goal because of VAR referrals.

Rodriguez thumped an equaliser seconds after Roberto Firmino chipped an opener, then slotted another for Albion to go 2-1 up.

Poor defending then saw the culmination of Joel Matip’s own goal made it 3-1, before Mohamed Salah managed to pulled one back when he scored from close range from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross, but they could not find the vital equalizer they sorely needed in the end.

Liverpool’s first-half penalty, which Firmino missed, was a moment of VAR history — as it was the first time a referee in an English game had referred to a monitor on the touchline to make a final decision.

Almost three minutes passed between the initial incident and Firmino stepping up to take the penalty in which Pawson subsequently ruled — after a significant delay — that Jake Livermore had tugged Salah’s shirt, and pointed to the spot.

It was the second time in a few minutes that West Brom had been on the wrong end of a VAR decision, with Craig Dawson having seen a goal ruled out that would have put them 3-1 up.

VAR assistant Andre Marriner alerted Pawson to the fact that Gareth Barry, standing in front of Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and interfering with play, was offside as Dawson headed in a Chris Brunt corner.

Pawson also seemed to check with Marriner after Salah slotted in Firmino’s lay-off with 12 minutes left, although there was no delay in play and no clear reason as to why the goal might have been in doubt.

Serie A: Napoli concedes early but wins to stay on top of table

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Dries Mertens scored twice as Napoli beat Bologna 3-1 to reclaim top spot in the Serie A table from reigning champions Juventus.

Napoli needed a quick response as Juventus had managed to overtake them the day before, but things did not go according to plan when former Inter Milan striker Rodrigo Palacio gave Bologna a first-minute lead instead.

However, Napoli did not have their work cut out for them as Bologna defender Ibrahima Mbaye soon obliged with the equaliser as he put through his own net in comedy fashion just four minutes later.

Adam Masina then helped Napoli further by fouling Jose Callejon to concede a penalty that Mertens tucked away eight minutes before the break and just before the hour, the Belgian winger turned home an assist from Lorenzo Insigne.

The result meant that Napoli remains just one point above Juventus, who returned to second place with a 2-0 win against a Chievo team who were reduced to nine men.

They saw the dismissal of Samuel Bastien, who was given marching orders early in the 37th minute for a second bookable but unnecessary offence, and then lost Fabrizio Cacciatore too after 60 minutes when he vehemently complained he’d been fouled while heading at Wojciech Szczesny.

His bizarre protests, which included standing on the touchline with his hands behind his back in an apparent ‘handcuff’ gesture, earned the striker a straight red card.

The clear advantage in numbers meant that Chievo, who had been able to frustrate the visitors up until then finally conceded when Sami Khedira struck in the 67th minute, before Gonzalo Higuaín headed in a second with two minutes remaining.