Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Thursday November 27 2008
It has long been apparent to anybody with the cranial capacity equitable to that of a hamster that the English Football Association is constituted of a bunch of lazy, subservient gimps with a messiah complex. If you apply any sort of intelligent thinking to their decisions, you`ll see little more than mealy mouthed platitudes and media friendly bluster. The fact is and always has been that they take their cue from the media with Pavlovian quiescence, if they can get away with sitting on their fat arses and doing nothing, they will. For instance, they have always hid firmly behind the rulebook and pleaded indifference whenever a clearly horrific challenge receives a yellow card, "the referee dealt with it, our hands are tied." (I`m not even sure I understand the logic of this rule other than the fact that it precludes the F.A. from having to do any sort of work). Of course, when the media furore surrounding Ben Thatcher`s despicable elbow on Pedro Mendes reached fever pitch, the F.A. all of a sudden decided that that particular law was not so rigid after all. Thatcher was booked for the challenge, but after a sustained media campaign for the F.A. to do their job, they buckled and gave him a six match ban. Back in 1999 Patrick Vieira caused a media storm by spitting at Neil Ruddock and was given a six match suspension. In May 2000, Mustapha Hadji of Coventry was sent off for spitting at a Derby player and was awarded a one match ban. A fortnight after the mega hyped 'battle of Old Trafford` between Arsenal and United in September 2003, when four Arsenal players were banned for, errr, pushing. (Can anyone show me any footage of a blow being landed in that handbags melee?) West Brom and Fulham brawled, with Neil Clement and Andrew Cole landing a series of punches at one another. No extra punishment was meted out. The size of the media storm informs the severity of the punishment.
Today, the F.A. have had absolutely zero compunction about confirming all of the above. Last month, Sheffield United`s Chris Morgan hospitalized Barnsley`s Iain Hume with a pre meditated elbow to the head leaving Hume with a fractured skull and internal bleeding to the head. Since undergoing surgery, which left Hume with an unsightly scar which runs from ear to ear over the top of his cranium, the Barnsley striker had to spend another spell in hospital after complaining of severe dizziness and vomiting. Chris Morgan and Sheffield United are yet to even offer an apology. (Presumably for fear of admitting culpability and facing the accompanying legal music). Morgan was booked for the "challenge", which was precise and measured in my opinion. Hume had even complained to the referee several times in the build up to the incident of Morgan elbowing him persistently. Today, the Football Association have announced that no further action will be taken against Morgan, hiding behind that old familiar "the referee dealt with it at the time" fallacy. Strange how that rule didn`t apply when a comparable incident occurred in the media glare of the Premier League two seasons ago.
That the F.A. are prepared to admit that endangering the life of a fellow professional is only worthy of a yellow card is disgusting in itself. But what really rankles is that they are willing to all but admit that their interest in an incident is measured by the size of its media profile. In other words, the health and wellbeing of a Championship footballer is expendable. Not only does that set the moral compass twitching to somewhere close to 'despicable`, but it is yet another example of how the F.A. are in dereliction of duty. Hiding behind their supposed (selective) subservience to FIFA, they actually cannot be bothered to ensure that maliciously elbowing an opponent, to the point that his life is threatened, should be dealt with and punished appropriately. But because this incident attracted little media attention, it has not been worth dealing with in the way the Thatcher incident was. This incongruous approach to discipline and ensuring the health and safety of the players reveals two entirely unforgivable facets of this F.A. 1) That they are inauspiciously idle. Would they really have attracted a lot of ire from the media or their supposed puppet masters FIFA had they taken appropriate action against Morgan? After all, in the wake of Eduardo`s injury (obtained in a televised match by a player playing for the side leading the Premiership table) Sepp Blatter threatened to intervene and extend Martin Taylor`s ban. This is an act borne out of pure laziness. 2) They are 100% informed by the media and trial by media is a dangerous and gloriously undemocratic approach. In other words, the only time they`ll get off their fat arses to do anything, is when the media brews enough of a storm to compromise their image. They are more than prepared to be weak and lazy, so long as they are not caught in the act. Aristotle once said, "You become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions and brave by performing brave actions." Chris Morgan and the F.A. fail on all three counts.LD.
Date:Thursday November 27 2008
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