One of the things that make me happiest in life – except when its two for Tuesdays at Dominos or free shots with every drink – is the opportunity to criticise governing bodies and higher powers in football. There have been a range of things in recent times that I have written about, ranging from racism to match day fixtures and now the FA have been so kind as to land the next topic so neatly into my hands.
A word I use often when talking about the FA is ‘hypocritical’ and this is going to be no exception. Quite rightly, there has been an uproar from Premier League managers this week after the FA successfully appealed the ban for Wayne Rooney in the Euros from three games getting it reduced to two. Now it is not because they wish to see Rooney miss out or England lose – perhaps with the exception of Fergie – but because in the past when appeals have been made by clubs, especially for offences similar to the one committed by Rooney, they have seen their bans increased by the FA for a ‘frivolous appeal’ not reduced.
In appealing, the FA are basically saying they feel a three match ban was harsh and over the top – opening up a huge can of worms for future appeals of such nature with regards to the Premier League – as Redknapp rightly says, ‘if you cuff someone it’s a three match ban, those are the rules.’ Are the FA saying that these are now apparently not the rules? By appealing the Rooney verdict this is seemingly what they are saying, but guaranteed if a Premier League club made a similar appeal in similar circumstances, the ban would be upheld or even increased.
It is such hypocrisy that makes people criticise the FA, and for a body who are supposed to be setting standards, prompting Kenny Dalglish to say ‘rules are supposed to be rules, and they have not been adhered to in this situation’ a completely fair accusation, and one that the FA will now face time and time again.
Despite the FA defending their actions, saying that matters relating to the national team are independent of domestic football, this seems about as water tight an excuse as a parent telling a child that Santa couldn’t deliver presents this year due to traffic. A red card offence is a red card offence – yet are the FA saying they condone an English player committing such a challenge for England but not for their domestic club? Of course not – and if they are the resulting fall out will be spectacular to watch.
Yet again, the FA have scored a spectacular own goal, and whilst it is obviously great to see Rooney available for the last group game, the fact of the matter remains, the appeal from the FA was highly hypocritical – even by their standards.
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