Monday, September 14, 2009

Video nasties

I'm obviously in a tiny minority, but I've always felt a bit sorry for football authorities. It's not much that thought they were doing a great job without any thanks, but more that they've always been such an easy target for fans that it felt as if they were constantly being kicked while down.
Something has changed this season and I have found my getting more and more frustrated by them. The main reason for this has been the attitude to retrospective punishments that seems to have dominated the season so far.

It has stemmed from the Eduardo incident against Celtic. What I saw was a goalkeeper charging out and making marginal contact with a forward who threw his arms in the air and went down. I thought the referee made a mistake in awarding the penalty, but it wasn't really first time a player had made the most of a challenge to win a penalty. Obviously there was something wrong with the screen I was watching because everyone else clearly saw the worst case of cheating in sport outside of the Tour de France. Eduardo is obviously the secret love child of Ben Johnson and Dean Richards, if you could imagine such a thing.The SFA got involved and UEFA subsequently dished out a two game European suspension to Eduardo. If only we still had the death penalty!

I really can't see how Eduardo deserved a punishment that is effectively six time worse that the yellow card he would have received had the referee made the correct call at the time. Whether UEFA just bowed to public and SFA pressure, or decided to make an example of out of Eduardo, the decision seemed totally arbitrary and out of keeping with how a governing body should act.

Similar issues have been raised by the events of the weekend at Eastlands and White Hart Lane. There's a clamour for the book to be thrown at Adebayor and it will be interesting to see how the FA deals with it. To me he clearly deserved a red card for stamping on Robin van Persie, but I think the referee was right to just give him a yellow for his celebration. It was ill advised, but there are no excuses for the Arsenal fans who looked like caged animals. It's about time that football fans started taking responsibility for their own actions.

Anyway, I digress. Paul Scholes was perhaps a bit unfortunate to get his second yellow card against Spurs as he seemed to be genuinely trying his best to pull out of the challenge on Tom Huddlestone, although justice was done as he should have received a straight red for his first challenge. But when he collided with Huddlestone's leg, the Spurs player rolled around holding his face clearly trying to deceive the referee. It was at least as bad a what Eduardo was found guilty of but I won't be holding my breath waiting for him to receive a two game ban.

I know that UEFA dealt with Eduardo and weekend's event are the responsibility of the FA, but that only underlines the inconsistency and lack of co-ordination in the game. I'm all for retrospective punishment and stamping out diving, but it has to be consistent and fair rather than the arbitrary pandering to public opinion that we have just now.


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