'Rapidly jabbed his hand towards the face' - Read The FA's report on Morsy ban

Ethan Hamilton went down clutching his face after an off the ball clash with Sam Morsy, but referee

Referee Geoff Eltringham claims he the match officials didn't see an off-the-ball clash between Sam Morsy and Ethan Hamilton. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

The Football Association has explained why they decided to hand Ipswich Town captain Sam Morsy a four-game ban.

Morsy tangled with Ethan Hamilton off-the-ball during the first half of Town's 2-1 home win against Accrington Stanley on January 22, but no action was taken by referee Geoff Eltringham at the time.

Hamilton claimed afterwards that 'there was definitely a shove stroke punch to the face', while Stanley chairman Andy Holt shared footage of the incident on Twitter stating that Morsy was 'a s**t house'.

Town's skipper was subsequently charged with violent conduct and, despite Ipswich putting forward their case for the defence, an Independent Regulatory Commision panel formed of former players Stuart Ripley and Lawrie Sanchez, as well as ex-referee Ray Olivier, found him guilty at a hearing.


The FA's report states that Eltringham sent an e-mail to The FA the day after the game which said: “After reviewing footage, I would like to bring the following incident to your attention. (At) 26:45 Ipswich Town player Sam Morsy appears to strike his opponent in the face off the ball which is a potential act of violent conduct. The incident was not witnessed by any match official at the time so no disciplinary action was taken. I had already submitted my misconduct report before viewing the footage hence this email."

Sam Morsy sits alone in the dugout at AFC Wimbledon, he has now been suspended for four games after

Sam Morsy sits alone in the dugout at AFC Wimbledon as he starts a four-game ban. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

The report goes on to say that the following day, 'a video clip of the alleged incident was sent by The FA to former referees Mike Mullarkey, Eddie Wolstenholme and Steve Dunn who were asked to view the video and to comment on what action, if any, they believed would have been warranted by the match referee. All three confirmed that a dismissal would have been the appropriate action had the incident been seen by the referee'.

Morsy is said to have 'denied the charge', while The FA states that Ipswich Town provided 'a second video clip of the incident'.

"The Commission members viewed the video evidence provided with the written submissions of both parties in mind," states the report. "It was not easy to make out what had occurred from the footage provided by ITFC but it could be seen that SM raised his right arm and made contact with the Accrington player.

"However, from the footage provided by The FA, all three Commission members felt that they could comfortably say that SM had deliberately struck his opponent in the face with his right hand as they came together. It was, to the mind of the Commission, clear that SM had rapidly jabbed his hand out towards the face of his opponent.

Most Read

"The Commission considered SM’s actions to be a ‘serious missed incident’ of violent conduct and as such found the charge against SM proven."

The fact Morsy had been sent-off earlier this season playing for Middlesbrough meant it was an automatic four-game ban, while the FA's rules and regulations meant Ipswich Town were unable to appeal the decision.

Accrington chairman Holt released a statement 'apologising for any offence and distress I may have caused him (Morsy), his club or others by my public remarks', then added 'I hope I don’t do it again but cannot make any promises - that’s how I roll'.

Morsy has so far sat out games against AFC Wimbledon (2-0 away win) and Sheffield Wednesday (1-0 away loss) and will also be unavailable for upcoming games against Gillingham (h) and Doncaster (a).

The referee, Geoff Eltringham, missed the incident at the time and had already submitted his report before emailing the FA after seeing video footage, which had been widely shared on social media following a tweet by Accrington chairman Andy Holt.

At the hearing held last Tuesday, Town provided additional evidence to the Commission, former players Stuart Ripley and Lawrie Sanchez and ex-referee Ray Olivier.

However, they felt it “was not easy to make out what had occurred from the footage provided by ITFC but it could be seen that SM [Morsy] raised his right arm and made contact with the Accrington player”.

The Commission believed the evidence of the footage conclusively illustrated a ‘serious missed incident’ of violent conduct.

“From the footage provided by the FA, all three Commission members felt that they could comfortably say that SM had deliberately struck his opponent in the face with his right hand as they came together.

“It was, to the mind of the Commission, clear that SM had rapidly jabbed his hand out towards the face of his opponent.”

The FA’s written reasons can be found in full here. Morsy has served two matches of his ban but will miss Saturday’s home game against Gillingham and next Tuesday’s trip to Doncaster Rovers.