Aston Villa’s Matty Cash was shown a yellow card after removing his shirt to display the ‘Stay Strong Kedziora’ message for his team-mate stuck in Ukraine

Aston Villa’s Matty Cash has been shown a yellow card after revealing a message of support for Polish 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 AMEX Community Stadium.

And during his celebrations, he took off his shirt to reveal a tribute to Kedziora, who is currently stuck in Ukraine as the nation suffers a military invasion from Russia.

What was Cash’s message?

“Tomasz Kedziora and his family, stay strong brother,” read the inscription on the shirt Cash wore in his Villa shirt, which he took off after his goal on Saturday.

The gesture earned him a booking, as Premier League rules prohibit removing the team shirt under any circumstances on the pitch.

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

“They should just ignore this”

Referee John Brooks’ decision to show Cash a yellow card was criticized by some observers, with sky sports presenter Jeff Stelling particularly withered in his criticism.

“It’s a message to Ukrainians and it was reserved for that!” Stelling fired.

“John Brooks is an inexperienced Premier League referee and I hope when people come to their senses they ignore him, they should just ignore him.”

Speaking after the game, Villa boss Steven Gerrard said: “There’s no blame on Cashy.

“I should have mentioned it before the game, to all the players, and I didn’t.

“So I am responsible for this yellow card but there is certainly no blame towards the Premier League or the player, it is on me.”

Can a yellow card be canceled?

There is currently no mechanism in the Premier League to overturn or appeal a yellow card, unlike red cards which can be overturned after the match if deemed unfair.

Shirt removal has been an automatically bookable offense since 2004, while in 2014 an additional penalty was imposed on players who reveal messages under their shirt.

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

In 2007, the Spanish Competitions Committee overturned Sergio Ramos’ yellow card after the then-Sevilla defender paid tribute to his late colleague Antonio Puerta.

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

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