In an ever politically correct society, football continues to be thrust under the microscope and people’s comments upon certain issues are played over and over again in the hopes of coming towards a decisive conclusion on whether to punish a few foolish murmurings. In the light of Fabio Capello’s resignation and inevitable rumours encircling Harry Redknapp’s head surrounding the vacant England capacity, journalists and spokespeople everywhere have been urged to remain tight-lipped until the current season is out and the FA come towards an agreement about an appointment.
So if managers cannot comment on the current England role, should they be able to comment upon players from the opposing side? The question comes in light of Arsene Wenger’s public criticism of Luis Suarez in his knack of ‘buying’ penalties following the controversial penalty in the recent Liverpool-Arsenal league fixture. Kenny Dalglish has called on the FA to look into the Frenchman’s comments and thinks Wenger’s labelling of Suarez as a kind of cheat is out of order.
Time and time again, we hear managers referring in transfer terms to the repeated, tired old phrase ‘I won’t comment on another team’s player’ and then weeks later indeed that man has moved to the club. However, this gentlemanly conduct is not always maintained when referring to another playing following a contentious incident or sending off for example.
When emotions are running high in the immediate aftermath of a match, the media grab hold of managers and obtain more raw and original versions of what has just taken place on the field of play. Whilst some managers tend to remain smart and refrain from naming any players to avoid FA punishment, both Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson have been anything but silent in recent months.
Ferguson’s jibes were also in relation to Suarez and the Scot maintained the player shouldn’t play for Liverpool again. A scathing outburst and the standout quote from an intriguing interview after the ill-fated affair at Old Trafford in February.
But back to the case of Wenger, he damned the much documented public courting of Samir Nasri last summer whereby Roberto Mancini boldly claimed the club were looking to sign the midfielder, but what is the difference between commenting on player in transfer terms and commenting on a player in the way Wenger did relating to Suarez?
It seems there is a grey area of uncertainty in relation to what verbal misconduct is and what isn’t when referring to players of the opposition. Does Kenny Dalglish have a point, is commenting on other teams’ players a manager’s trait that needs to end?
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