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Kangaroos Have Been Court

Kangaroos Have Been Court

This Football Association of ours, eh? Little bit of advice guys, if you are going to instigate a charge against somebody, do you not think it would be a good idea to get your story straight first? I hope the Football Association does not have to commit any secret political assassinations, can you imagine the furore?
Bobby: 'So, Mr. Barwick, where were you on the 24th May, 2006 between the hours of 2pm and 11pm?'

Brian: 'Errr....I was washing my hair, no, I was washing the,no,no, I was at dinner with Frank Lampard.'

Bobby (incredulously): 'You were at dinner with Frank Lampard for the whole nine hours?'

Brian: 'Well, not dinner so much. He was scooping out the crumbs from his toaster again and got his fingers stuck.'

I am sure you have heard by now that the Football Association have charged Arsene Wenger with improper conduct, a touchline ban and a public flogging will probably ensue. I think this is one of the more obvious charges in the F.As rather chequered disciplinary history (apart from when Ian Wright called all referees 'incompetent little Hitlers'). I mean, fancy calling somebody who is clearly guilty of telling a lie a liar? The cheek! I want to know just how the Football Association thought they could get away with telling such a stinking porker? The bout of handbags versus Chelsea was a domestic showpiece Final, televised to millions. The really quite unremarkable 'melee' was seen from a multitude of angles by millions the world over, if one of those people can tell me what Adebayor did to get a red card I would be interested to know.

What is remarkable is the F.A's quite immature sidestepping. At the original hearing the linesman alleged that Adebayor had punched Frank Lampard. Of course everybody with a set of functioning eyes could see that no such incident took place (Fabregas was too busy swinging Fat Boy around for Ade to even get a chance)! Usually, being the laughing stock of the country does not phase the F.A (pulling the plug on a Youth Centre of Excellence to put an arch on Wembley stadium. Need I say more?) But when the chubster's agent Steve Kutner flatly denied the allegation, the F.A's lie had been exposed. Arsene called it as much, 'the whole system is dishonest.' Well, he's correct isn't he? Don't the F.As constant alterations to their story back this up? Oh no, no, no. You've got it all wrong, said the faceless bar stewards, Adebayor 'aimed a punch' at Frank Lampard. Hmmmm, well you see, you're giving yourself the same problem here aren't you? Because, you guessed it, the same footage shows that no such incident took place once again. D'oh!

Suspiciously, it took the boys from Soho Square a few days to levy the charge. An independent inquiry into the Football Association in 2004 (I think) was heavily critical of their infrastructure, the basis of the report was that the entire association needed to be altered drastically. One of the dominant criticisms was the inefficiency of their disciplinary procedure. So why the delay in the charge for Wenger? Was it to concoct this poorly constructed story that it was a misprint, the referee's report ACTUALLY said that Adebayor 'acted agressively.' The vagueness of that term makes it very hard to prove or disprove either way, it is bulletproof where the F.A are concerned because it is open to interpretation. It is not a cut and dry allegation, such as assault. You could say Adebayor 'acted agressively', but didn't Fabregas? Didn't Lampard? Didn't Drogba? Why the constant shapeshifting and back peddling? I would like to see a transcript of the referee's report, I bet there's more black marker on it than a transcript of George Bush's dishonourable discharge forms from the U.S Army. In fact, the whole charge has been so farcical, my immediate thought is that it is like a microcosm of the Watergate scandal. For Richard Nixon and Watergate, read the Carling Cup linesman and a blatant lie.

Do you know what I think happened (and by that token what most people think happened)? The linesman clearly mistook Eboue for Adebayor. Eboue of course raised his hands to Wayne Bridge, which, despite Bridge's lamentable histrionics (sorry, he's English isn't he? My mistake), is a red card offence and Eboue should have known better. The linesman and official Coward Webb (that's not a typo) do not want to admit their mistake for two reasons. The first is that quite frankly, they never do. Refereeing is a tough job, of that there is no doubt. But I think referees would command more respect if, just occasionally, they said, 'do you know what? Yes, I got it wrong. It was Eboue who should have been sent off, not Adebayor.' Mistakes happen and I think everybody would understand that and respect the official for correcting his error. But the Football Association have built a forcefield of pomposity around their officials which frustrates managers like Warnock, Jewell and Coleman (who were all effusive in their support for Wenger), referees are allowed to make huge mistakes without reprisal and managers are not allowed to even comment or they will be punished. Is that not the hallmark of a totalitarian government?

The second reason is that, because Eboue and Adebayor are black, the Football Association may have encountered some criticism and allegations of institutional racism (let's face it, mistaken identity can happen and that would have been a harsh accusation). But instead of having the confidence to shoot down such a suggestion, Adebayor must take the fall in the shape of a four match ban. This is a most cowardly action from an institution that has become narcissistic to the detriment of the game. The F.As moral bankruptcy in the whole issue has been really sad, it is a terrible indictment on our game that such a tissue of lies can be allowed to stand. Of course Wenger has responsibility here, regardless of how correct he is in his accustaion, he should have moderated his language slightly as he was never likely to curry favour with such accusatory vocabulary. That is, unless he said it in Portugese which is apparently o.k. At first, my frustration with the coverage of this 'incident' in the Carling Cup Final was how much scandal had ensued from such a nothing incident. The very real brawl that erupted between Valencia and Inter just two weeks later served to elucidate the 'storm in a teacup' nature of the melee. But now, it is the Football Association and their moral bankruptcy that I find most troubling. LD.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Friday March 16 2007
Time: 2:00PM


couldn't agree more. Even when the FA have the opportunity to atone for their phuck ups, they never do. And on top of that they go and appoint Steve McClaren as England manager. *****pots
Jacky B
16/03/2007 14:08:00
Cracking piece LD. And one that football fans all over the country will agree with, a bunch of spinless *******s who's actions have no consequenes......well not for them anyway.
16/03/2007 14:24:00
Spot on article! It's ironic that if they had put their hands up and said "we made a mistake" it would absolve them (humans do make mistakes) and would make Arsene's comments invalid, so diffusing the sorry mess they created. Maybe they are all at it like rabbits in Soho Square, banging secretaries, politicking, PR stunts, coverups etc, not leaving them energy to focus on their jobs!
16/03/2007 14:29:00
I think its Wenger's duty to all football fans in england to display via the press & sky etc all the evidence he has. Also at the conclusion of the hearing (where undoubtedly he will get a touchline ban & another record fine) he should present documented evidence of everything that happens at the hearing to show the fa up for what we already know they are. The FA always release statements boasting of the fines & bans they dish out but never offer up explanations as to how they got to those conclusions. Hopefully Jewell & Wenger (despite their obvious dislike for each other) can work together on this issue because the whole system is a farce. An independant body should be set up (paid for by all premiership clubs) which would decide on what & what isn't a punishable offence.
Ashburton Gooner
16/03/2007 14:30:00
gtreat piece LD - especially the comparison between the CC final melée and the full blown fist fight of the valencia inter game. Why does no-one in the press make this point? »»Arsene Knows««
16/03/2007 14:32:00
I think in future all our players should be taught to mouth off in French or to be in safe side in Portuguese. Then there would not be any more problems with FA. Also someone should ask if the linesman is willing to pursue the accusation of wenger, as FA said they did not pursue Jose's comments because the Riley did not want to do it against Chelsea and its millions.
16/03/2007 14:34:00
One suggestion if(it is a gigantic IF) the FA wants its image to be clean from now on, the disciplinary hearing should be in public covered by the media(just as any other normal court where justice is served).
16/03/2007 14:36:00
I would like, in this particular case, for the referee's report to be made avilable for the public domain. A PDF document on their website with no "creative editing", let's see what the ORIGINAL report really said.
Little Dutch
16/03/2007 14:41:00
Write to the FA & see the response U get.......thank U for your kind letter, whilst we take note of your opinions, we'll do naf all about it, but continue with our heads buried as far as possible in the sand....or someplace else. Great comment LD. I don't see any changes happening very fast....if the FA can make an abortion of Wembley (public money) don't hold your breath for them actually saying 'yeh, we messed up, sorry' Why don't clubs start withholding funding, then see wot happens?
16/03/2007 14:44:00
The only money that the F.A get from clubs are in the shape of fines. The F.A are privately run I believe. What they are doing, and Platini will soon push clubs this way too, is smoothing the way for a breakaway league. That would be a real shame and is something
Little Dutch
16/03/2007 14:47:00
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