Inconsistency from the FA
For the past few years, we have seen many decisions made by the Football Association (FA) that have caused worldwide controversy. The FA are becoming well known for their inconsistent, and some people would argue, 'bias views'. This year, there have been many incidents which highlight this point.
In this article, I will evaluate some of the decisions made by the FA this year, making comparisons between other similar incidents, and go in depth into why some of the verdicts differ so much from similar offences.
Incident 1: Wigan player Callum McManaman's wreckless challenge on Newcastle defender Massadio Haidara. In this case, the Englishman lunged at the French international in an 'attempt to win the ball', but instead clattered into his knee, causing a horrific scene where the player had to be stretchered off the pitch. This challenge was the typical dangerous challenge that we should be cutting out of the game in order to stop the risk of career ending injuries and further serious impacts. However, the FA's verdict was that no charge would be made for the Wigan player, as they deemed they can not take action as the ref says he saw the challenge, and did not see anything wrong with the inital tackle. This rule is a disgrace, the FA should be reviewing the incident and making their own decision on what action should be taken, whether the referee saw the incident or not should not be a contributing factor. This decision caused a lot of anger to football fans, especially fans of Newcastle United, as it had potential to cause a long term injury for their player.
Incident 2: Aguero's two footed jump on the back of Chelsea defender David Luiz in the FA Cup semi-final. For this incident, an ongoing battle throughout the game caused the Manchester City striker to lash out at the defender as he was on the floor, jumping on his back with two feet and his stoods up. This was brutal from the Argentine, and could of caused serious damage to the Brazilian defender. It is evident that as a football player you will be angry at some point in the game, but to lose it like Aguero did is not acceptable. For an FA Cup semi-final, with a huge television audience, consisting of lots of young children who look up to such a player as their role model you can not be commiting such an offence. The FA's verdict was again, no charge. The possible factors for why they came to this decision is because they deem Aguero as 'not that kind of player' and that again, the referee witnessed the initial incident, therefore they cannot charge the player. Again, this is ridiculous, there is no way that a 'tackle' like this should go unpunished. However, moments before Aguero lunged in on Luiz, there was a slight elbow from the Brazilian, so maybe the FA took into account what provoked Aguero to commit this offence, therefore leaving him without any punishment.
Incident 3: You knew it was coming, the Luis Suarez biting incident on Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. This was one of the craziest things I have seen on the football pitch. Almost completely unprovoked, the Uruguayan sunk his teeth into the arm of Ivanovic, adding to his list of controversial moments as a football player. Now this incident was different, as the FA deemed the actions worthy of a 10-match-ban. Now, the main argument is that because it was Suarez, his awful reputation in English football is the only reason why his ban was so lengthy. However, this is not the first time Luis has commited this same offence, as he has bitten a player on the field for his old team Ajax, and received a 7-match-ban, so maybe a 10-match-ban is a way of trying to get the Liverpool striker to learn from his actions, so that he doesn't repeat these types of offences.
So, where is the inconsistency? Well, last year we saw Luis Suarez receive an 8-match-ban for racism on Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, which is arguably one of the biggest issues in football right now. So is the FA giving out the message that biting somebody is worse than giving someone racial abuse, or are they just making the point that Luis needs to learn from his actions in order to be allowed back on the field? This links into an incident from the 2011/12 season, in which video evidence clearly prooved John Terry racially abusing ex-QPR defender Anton Ferdinand on TV. This incident received a 4-match-ban. So a case with clear video proof receives a 4-match-ban, yet a case based on one word versus another receives 8?
Aguero's stamp on David Luis must be judged as violent conduct, as the intent, and the fericious nature of the challenge made it a horrible, dangerous incident. However, this receives no ban, but the bite from Suarez, which is also judged as violent conduct receives a 10-match-ban. Are the FA punishing Suarez because of who he is, and the reputation he has, and is this right? Surely both the Aguero and McManaman incidents should receive a similar length of ban for their offences, but they do not get punished.
The FA do not have a clear cut rule on what determines the length of a ban once they review a certain incident. A group of individuals get together and determine what they think should be the correct punishment from the video evidence they receive, yet so many times, similar incidents receive widely different punishments.
Whoever the player is that commits an offence, the team they play for, how the club deal with it, what their manager says, what the players say, what the pundits say - none of these factors should come into play when making a decision. An FA ban should be judged on the severity of the incident they are reviewing, and should not be influenced by other factors. The FA need to get some consistency back into their punishments, otherwise they will continue to be scrutinised for their actions.