Colchester United will be without the services of Luke Prosser this weekend at Tranmere Rovers, due to suspension.
A case of mistaken identity in an incident at Cheltenham Town has seen a second yellow card subsequently given to the U’s captain - after the card was initially shown to Ryan Jackson during the second half at Whaddon Road.
Later in the game, Prosser was pulled up for a foul and shown a yellow card for the first time by referee Ollie Yates.
On Wednesday night, the club was informed that Yates had admitted to booking the wrong player, Jackson instead of Prosser, in the first incident and Prosser now has to serve a one match ban for receiving two yellow cards in a game.
Unfortunately, there is currently no appeal process that the U’s could proceed with in this circumstance, so Prosser is unable to play until next Saturday’s game against Cambridge United.
Chairman Robbie Cowling said: "Although I appreciate the difficult job that referees do, I struggle to understand how decisions like this can be made. In this instance, the referee, who is in communication with the 4th official, mistook a 5’10” black right back for a 6’3” white centre half.
"Following that mistake, Ryan Jackson would have been playing more cautiously, Luke Prosser would have had no reason to believe there had been mistaken identity and John McGreal would not have considered substituting Luke when we were 2-0 up.
"Yellow cards are known as ‘Cautions’. They are designed to change the behaviour of a player. Luke was not cautioned. Had he have been cautioned, he would have adjusted the way he played the game following the caution.
"Mistakes like this can lead to even worse scenarios such as Ryan receiving a 2nd yellow card and being sent off.
"The fact of the matter is the referee’s mistake changed the course of both Luke’s and Ryan’s games against Cheltenham and now it is going to affect the team against Tranmere.
"Colchester United are happy to support the use of technology to assist refereeing decisions but this appears to be VAR on a shoestring to cover over the cracks made by poor refereeing.
"I understand being punished for our own mistakes but don’t understand why the club is punished with no right to appeal because a referee, with the help of a 4th official, can’t tell the difference between a 5’10” black right back for a 6’3” white centre half."