Manchester United's Rafael produced a challenge in the dying moments of the loss to Chelsea on Sunday that should have been rewarded with a red card. No doubt. He flew through their air with both feet off the ground from about two metres and only avoided causing Gary Cahill serious damage because the Chelsea defender wisely got out of the way.
There's also no doubt that Phil Dowd did not see the incident.
The incident took place in the worst possible place for a referee, on the touchline opposite one assistant and with the other 50 yards away.
Dowd was only about 25 yards away at the time, but clearly didn't see the foul and in fact awarded a throw in to Chelsea. However on reflection - and perhaps with the benefit of a 4th official whispering in his miked up ear - Dowd decided to award a foul and a yellow card.
No-one would have complained too much id he had reduced Untied to 9 men, but he did not have the credibility to do so. Awarding a throw made it fairly clear that he had not seen the incident, and his assistants were simply too far away to be able to credibly advise Dowd to show a red.
The officials have to have credibility when they give decisions and it's the reason why they have to be as close to play as possible.
When you're 10 yards from the incident, no-one usually questions it. Thirty or 40 yards and the decision may well be right, but you won't have the credibility.
And that's why top refs have to be super-fit!