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Aston Villa's Matty Cash shown yellow card after removing shirt to display 'stay strong Kedziora' message for team-mate stuck in Ukraine

19:36 GMT+3 26/02/2022
Matty Cash Aston Villa 2021-22
The right-back's Poland colleague plays in Kyiv, the nation's capital which is currently under invasion from Russian troops

Aston Villa's Matty Cash was given a yellow card after unveiling a message in support of Poland team-mate Tomasz Kedziora during his side's clash with Brighton on Saturday.

Cash opened the scoring in the first half with a fine strike at the AMEX Community Stadium.

And during his celebrations he removed his shirt to reveal a tribute to Kedziora, who is currently stranded in Ukraine as the nation endures military invasion from Russia.

What was Cash's message?

"Tomasz Kedziora and family, stay strong bro," read the inscription on the shirt Cash wore under his Villa jersey, which he removed following his goal on Saturday.

The gesture earned him a booking, as Premier League rules forbid the removal of the team shirt under any circumstances while on the pitch.

Still, he was widely praised for his solidarity with Kedziora, who has played in the Ukrainian capital with Dynamo Kyiv since 2017.

'They should just ignore that'

Referee John Brooks' decision to show Cash a yellow card came under fire from some observers, with Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling particularly withering in his criticism.

"It's a message to people in Ukraine and he's been booked for it!" Stelling fired.

"John Brooks is an inexperienced Premier League referee and hopefully, when people come to their senses, they'll ignore that, they should just ignore that."

Speaking after the match, Villa boss Steven Gerrard said: "There's no blame on Cashy at all.

"I should have mentioned that before the game, to all the players, and I didn't.

"So I'm responsible for that yellow card but there's certainly no blame towards the Premier League or the player, that's on me."

Can a yellow card be reversed?

There is currently no mechanism in the Premier League to overturn or appeal a yellow card, unlike with red cards which can be rescinded following the game if they are deemed unjust.

Shirt removal has been an automatic bookable offence since 2004, while in 2014 extra punishment was imposed for players who reveal messages under their jerseys.

Elsewhere, however, exceptions have been made for such celebrations.

In 2007 the Spanish Competitions Committee reversed Sergio Ramos' yellow card after the then-Sevilla defender paid tribute to deceased colleague Antonio Puerta.

Using that precedent, in 2020 Barcelona appealed the booking shown to Lionel Messi for celebrating in a Newell's Old Boys shirt in an homage to the late Diego Maradona, but on that occasion to no avail as the Spanish FA upheld the decision.

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