Manchester City will submit DVD footage to an English FA regulatory commission today to support their attempt to overturn the contentious red card issued to captain Vincent Kompany against Arsenal on Sunday.
Kompany faces a three-match suspension, which would rule him out of Premier League fixtures against Fulham and Queens Park Rangers and an FA Cup fourth-round tie at Stoke City or Crystal Palace, if the commission upholds referee Mike Dean's decision during a hearing this afternoon.
But with neither Kompany nor Dean required to attend the hearing in front of the three-man panel, the decision on the Belgian defender's dismissal rests on the commission finding that the Cheshire official made an 'obvious error' when issuing the red card following the centre-back's second-half tackle on Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere.
Dean is not in a position to rescind the red card by telling the FA that he was wrong to dismiss Kompany, however. According to sources involved in the disciplinary process, the referee's involvement in the incident ended with his decision to issue the red card.
And while Dean's report will be included in the evidence submitted to the panel, it will be considered alongside City's DVD submission and any written mitigation offered by the Premier League champions.
In response to widespread criticism of Dean's decision to dismiss Kompany, a reminder of the guidance offered to clubs and players by the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd on tackling and the application of Law 12 – the interpretation of tackles – was tweeted by the Premier League yesterday.
Following a spate of controversial decisions on tackling incidents last season, all clubs were sent written and DVD guidance last February to clarify Law 12. Central to the PGMOL guidance was the reminder that "if a player commits a tackle at speed, with intensity and with both feet off the ground, they run the risk of the challenge being punished with a red card".
Kompany's City team-mate Pablo Zabaleta admitted his surprise at Dean's decision to brandish the red card.
"My impression at the time was he went in hard but not with any malicious intent," Zabaleta said. "It wasn't a red card, for me. Yes, we know that if you go in with two feet then it is a risk of being red, but I don't know if Kompany did.
"Just because a tackle is two-footed does not mean it is necessarily dangerous. He went with two feet because twisting his body could have hurt his knee. The referee saw that it was with two feet, but for me it was not a red.
"For defenders we run the risk of being sent off with every tackle. It is difficult to understand what we have to do, but in the end it is up to the referees to decide."
City will discover no later than 6.0pm today if Kompany has succeeded in his appeal, but manager Roberto Mancini faces a defensive crisis if the FA upholds the suspension.
With Kolo Toure unavailable until mid-February on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast and Micah Richards not due to return from a knee injury until the end of next month, Mancini is faced with having only Joleon Lescott and Matija Nastasic available as recognised centre-halves.
Mancini has been reluctant to use Lescott and Nastasic as a partnership, but midfielder Jack Rodwell, who operated at centre-half for Everton, could solve the problem if he continues to make progress in recovering from three months out with a hamstring injury.
Rodwell said: "I feel really fit. I've been doing a lot of strengthening work because I've been out so long with my hamstring, so it's taken time.
"It's the worst injury setback of my career because I've been out for more than three months now. But I'll begin full training this week, then I'll need 10 days to a fortnight to get back up to speed and I'll be available for selection again." (© Daily Telegraph, London)