By Andy Leggott (@andyleg66)
|Balotelli's alleged stamp in the direction|
of Parker's head.
Consistency is the word on everybody’s lips following the FA’s decision to charge Mario Balotelli with violent conduct for his alleged stamp in the direction of Scott Parker’s head. The very fact that the challenge has caused so much debate and disagreement suggests that no-one can be certain whether there was intent in the challenge and it would appear that once again the FA have acted on reputation rather than fact.
Don’t believe me? How can they possibly explain then the decision to charge Mario whilst dismissing the alleged elbow from Lescott and similarly the alleged eye gouge by Peter Crouch in the Stoke v WBA game played the day before? Ask yourself if the Balotelli and Lescott incidents were reversed who would have suffered then from retrospective punishment? I’ll tell you who; Balotelli would without question. It has been written elsewhere that there is a pattern emerging in just which players most often face retrospective punishments. I don’t have any facts to hand but how many times have you seen clear cut examples of violent conduct brushed away using the FA’s convenient get out clause of ‘the referee saw it and chose to take no action at the time’. Rooney at Wigan and Huddlestone at Bolton immediately spring to mind and like Lescott and Crouch both are
internationals. Even if we delve back to the days when Leicester City were a fixture in the Premier League there is undeniable evidence of one rule for the English lads and one for Jonny Foreigner. What evidence you may ask? The then England captain’s (Alan Shearer) clear stamp on Neil Lennon is all the evidence you need. For those that haven’t seen it, or may simply have forgotten about it, I suggest you look it up on YouTube; now that is a stamp to the head and no retrospective action taken at all. England
I cannot begin to understand the lack of consistency that quite clearly does exist in the corridors of power, without believing that an agenda exists, but I do have major concerns about the standards of refereeing this season. Let’s take Sunday’s referee,
’s alleged best official, Howard Webb. You can take one of two views of the Balotelli incident; firstly that he deliberately attempted to stamp on Scott Parker or secondly that it was accidental. Howard Webb quite clearly took the latter during the game as he was looking directly at the incident at full speed. If, as various media outlets claim, the stamp was deliberate then how poor a decision was that from Webb? He shouldn’t need super slow motion as a basis on which to make his decision and quite clearly, in this instance, he has. If, as he now claims, he should have issued a red card how exactly did he miss the challenge when looking directly at it from 5 yards? If I was a Spurs supporter that would be my primary concern rather than jumping on the media driven bandwagon for Balotelli to be hung, drawn and quartered. Howard Webb’s ineptitude may have cost Spurs a tilt at the title but sadly all the focus is on Balotelli. England
Webb did have an opportunity to put his hand up and admit he may have made a mistake by simply admitting to the FA that he ‘saw it and chose to take no action at the time’. However this didn’t fit with the day long media driven agenda, or that of Howard Webb, so a simple ‘no I didn’t see it but if I had I would have given a red card’ sufficed and kept Webb’s reputation intact and allowed the FA to bow to media hysteria and charge Balotelli with violent conduct.
Before people jump on this as a defence of Balotelli please think twice. I don’t know whether Mario meant to stamp on Parker because I’m not privy to his thought process at the time. The super slow motion made it look bad but there was, in my opinion, sufficient doubt as to the level of intent. Given that Howard Webb came to the same conclusion when watching the incident at full speed there should have been no charge to answer. That there was speaks more about the workings of the FA and the standard of refereeing in this country.