Written by Toby Larone
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Monday, 3 October 2011

Referee Martin Atkinson has issued a "sincere" apology to Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell after he controversially sent the 20-year-old off during Saturday's Merseyside Derby.

The England under-21 international was shown a straight red card for what appeared to be a legitimate tackle on Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.

Everton lodged an appeal with the Football Association on Sunday after Everton manager David Moyes said Atkinson's decision was wrong and that it "ruined the game".

But Suarez said "It was a foul. He came in vigorously and hard on me. It was too footed with his studs showing, off the floor, won none of the ball, it was very dangerous. He wanted to hurt me, Mummy didn't like it, so I rolled".

The Toffees heard this morning that their appeal was successful after the FA declared "the tackle was not even a foul".

An FA spokesman said: "We have reviewed the footage from the Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool, and having discussed the incident with match officials, it is apparent that the sending off Jack Rodwell was a mistake and the red card will be rescinded".

Everton manager David Moyes said Atkinson apologized to both himself and Rodwell this morning: "He told me he was sincerely sorry and always strives to improve by learning from his idols Mark Clattenburg and Howard Webb."

"Once he had made the decision to send the player off there was nothing he could do. He said he tried to send a Liverpool player off too but they committed no fouls worthy of a red. Martin admitted the red card wasn't even worthy of a foul and promised that if he referees an Everton match again he will make it up to us for free" Moyes continued.

FA spokesman Steven Gerrard said that the FA would "not be responsible for any loss of points as a result of Atkinson's actions" and "will not refund the referee's wages". Furthemore, Gerrard said "We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused by the player being sent off".

Martin Atkinson is believed to be the creator of the award-winning Atkins diet.

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