Despite His White Boots

Football, football, football and, if the mood takes me, more football.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Those Damn Rules Again

Loath as I am to agree with Harry Redknapp, I thought that Ben Thatcher's challenge on Pedro Mendes last night was terrible, and well worth at least a three match ban. Mostly because it was a coward's challenge ; the ball was clearly going out and Mendes wasn't even looking at Thatcher, he was following the ball. Thus he couldn't defend himself.

However, this is what FIFA have to say :

"It is one of the fundamental rules of the game that the referee's decision is final. Therefore, if it is his decision that an offence warrants a yellow card, that cannot be changed later."

First of all, this is bollocks. For sure the referee's decision is final in terms of that game ; no one is suggesting that the game should be replayed or anything like that. Red cards are overturned regularly on video evidence ; Andy Todd had a suspension cancelled only this week. Also I'm fairly sure that if the referee takes no action on the day, suspensions can still be applied. So we have the ridiculous situation that if the ref had done nothing, Thatcher could be banned ; if the ref had sent him off, obviously he would be banned and could have the ban extended from the norm ; but because he gave him precisely a yellow card, he's off scot free. If that is the law, then the law is an ass.

The funny thing is though, the last time I suggested that the rule book should be thrown out in unusual circumstances in a football context was when David Beckham deliberately got himself booked by kicking ... Ben Thatcher. Neither irony nor karma I admit, but a strange coincidence.

Update : Hats off again to Stuart Pearce for this quote : "[Thatcher] is disgusted with himself and there is no way I, or anyone at my club, can defend it. People are having a go at him but, in all honesty, he has not got a leg to stand on."


  • At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Pearce said that a day after, on the night his comments were along the lines of, 'well he was going/giving a 100% and the referee's seen it and seems to have got the decision right! Fair enuff that he had the bottle to change opinion.
    I thought Beckham's deliberate yellow was in an international match?
    Cheers Lionel

  • At 11:15 PM, Blogger Andy_Ward said…

    Oh, it was. Ben Thatcher is an international, believe it or not, but only for Wales :-)



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