Rehanne Skinner has admitted that Tottenham were ‘shocked and disappointment’ after Eveliina Summanen was handed a two-match ban for the ‘successful deception of a match official’.
Summanen clutched her face after being pushed on the shoulder and into the turf by Ella Toone during Manchester United’s 2-1 victory over Tottenham in February following a coming together between the pair.
Toone was shown a red card for violent conduct, but subsequently had this rescinded after United appealed the decision. Summanen will miss Tottenham’s upcoming fixtures against Reading and Manchester City due to her role in the incident.
“Myself and the club don’t agree with the charge that’s been made against Eveliina,” said Skinner. “It’s fair to say we were shocked, disappointed and I was unimpressed with the way this whole process has happened.
“The red card removal is one that’s potentially challenging. Initially, a player has made a foul, then players are on the floor. Whenever you’re raising your hands in that situation, going after a player aggressively, if we’re not interpreting the rule of violent conduct in the right way, then that’s a bigger problem that we need to look into.
“It’s essentially if you’re using or attempting to use force against an opponent when you’re not challenging for the ball – that’s the rule. That’s happened and was evident so I think the challenge we have is what precedent are we trying to set? And what does that look like moving forward for us all? If you see that on the street it’s not okay. We need to have an understanding of the written reasons that were attached to that.
“If you’re on the floor and someone comes at you with their hands out, you’ve only really got two choices: one is to retaliate and the other is to protect yourself. It’s difficult to manage in that situation. If you’re the person on the receiving end of it it’s difficult to be faced with that circumstance and being accused of things.”
Summanen is believed to be the first WSL player to be banned for the successful deception of an official – a law that was first introduced by the FA in May 2017. Patrick Bamford is the most recent male player to have been charged for a deception offence following the sending off of Anwar El Ghazi in a clash between Leeds and Aston Villa in April 2019.
“I just think it’s opened a can of worms, I’m not sure what we’re advocating,” Skinner added. “I’m slightly concerned for the example we’re trying to set for the wider game and also for kids watching that.
“At the moment, the Premier League, the EFL and the WSL all goes by the same rules and this massively highlights the inconsistencies around how things are dealt with. That’s something that definitely needs to be addressed moving forward if we’re actually trying to grow the game in the right direction.”