While I’m sure we can all agree that what Luis Suarez did to Branislav Ivanovic on Sunday was an act of complete and utter madness, the incident does serve up another timely reminder of how unbelievably incompetent and perplexing the Football Association are when it comes to their disciplinary procedures (and everything else for that matter; FA Cup Final, anyone?).
The problem they have in this particular instance – and like on so many other occasions – is that this type of thing (believe it or not, Jamie Redknapp) has happened before on a Premier League pitch. Which sets a precedent for anything that proceeds it.
The incident came back in 2006 when Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe and then-West Ham midfielder Javier Mascherano (still pretty hard to believe that one) were involved in a similar altercation to that of the aforementioned Suarez and Ivanovic.
To cut a long story short, Defoe took a nibble at Mascherano’s shoulder and got booked for it. No further action was taken.
Why? Because, even if Mascherano wanted Defoe to receive some sort of punishment from The FA, it was never going to happen. The FA’s rule book states that retrospective action can only take place if the referee misses the incident in question.
The trouble is, even if a referee “sees” an incident, they can often misinterpret it – or at least not enough to make an accurate judgement within a split second of it occurring.
Which, kind of leads me on to the point that this all a bit bollocks really, isn’t it? It’s been going on for years and it’s bollocks. There’s no other word for it (at least not one that I can think of as equally appropriate as “bollocks”).
The Callum Mcmanaman tackle was another prime example recently (oh, and Aguero too). It was a horrendous tackle. Everybody knows it was. Yet it goes unpunished. Because The FA can’t do anything retrospectively.
In spite of this, we’ve seen players receive lengthy bans (rightly so) for over-the-top and career threatening tackles that weren’t spotted by in game officials.
What we’re (I’m) asking for here is for a bit of consistency and God help us (me), a bit of common sense – is that too much to ask?
Suarez will rightly deserve any ban that comes his way. It was an inexplicable moment of brutality from a player who lives on the edge. But, equally, Defoe should have been subjected to a projected punishment in the exact same manner seven years ago.
Forget about whether it has or hasn’t been seen, if an incident is reckless enough to be drawn up on then do it. It’s about time The FA took some responsibility and stopped hiding behind their own pathetic procedures.