A couple of weeks ago, Jose Mourinho allegedly accused the Spanish media of giving unfair protection to members of the national team when it comes to the articles they right. Whether this is the case or not – and in my humble and not at all biased opinion it most certainly is, with the World Cup winning squad getting lauded and protected in the Spanish press second only to that of the cult of Leo Messi – it got me to thinking if this was the case in England.
Whilst considering this issue, another and far greater thought crossed my mind. As this doesn’t happen too often I decided it would be a good idea to write about it and see exactly what other football watchers think – the issue I am talking about is the protection given by the FA to members of the English national team compared to the foreign players who make up the Premier League.
Now I am not for one second accusing the FA of doing this intentionally – being the upstanding and flawless body that they are this is has not even crossed my mind – but I do think it is slightly strange and more than noteworthy that in recent weeks, we have seen not only retrospective action in terms of the Balotelli ‘stamp’ when no such action was even considered with Peter Crouch and his eye gouging and the Kompany sending off for a challenge that did not look all that different to one a certain Glen Johnson performed around the same time.
I have long held the opinion that certain players have a Teflon like ability when it comes to officials, yet had put that down to players and their reputations more than their nationality, yet more and more it seems that the English players escape sanction where others cop the fall.
Frank Lampard most certainly should have been sent off for a horror challenge, yet this was not the case. Gerrard likewise could not pick up a yellow card sometimes if he offered the officials his weekly wage for it. Is it the case that because they are internationals, the officials subconsciously go easier on them? A point to ponder one thinks.
However, when you consider that this is the same FA who appealed the Rooney ban for the opening stages of the Euros in the summer, totally contradicting their own values and suspensions, it is not all that surprising that they will go to huge lengths to protect English players.
The media in this country are not exempt from this accusation either – the antics of players such as Rooney and Carroll off the field go forgotten when a national team game is around the corner – the media absolutely vilified Ronaldo after the 2006 World Cup for ‘getting Rooney sent off’ yet conveniently forgot that unless Ronaldo can add mind control to his impressive list of attributes, it was in fact Rooney who stamped his foot on Ricardo Carvalho.
Yes support for the national team is of course expected, but this is not what is achieved – in fact the media are so quick to jump on the back of the team after every failure you would think entirely the opposite, so why both they and the FA protect players from the national team to the degree they do is a mystery. Of course, it could just be a happy coincidence – but then again, I think not.
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