Football fans all over England sat back in disbelief this week as the ruthless powers that be on the Football Association’s disciplinary panel voted against a refereeing decision and rescinded Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard’s red card…..Not!
Sarcasm aside the latest developments unfolding this week have only served to highlight the FA’s favouritism for the Premier League big boys in their decision-making policies. No wonder Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson is still probably sat seething in his office having openly admitted that he is ‘trying to make sense of it all‘ when it comes to how the same governing body who so easily wiped Lampard’s three-game suspension away can uphold Boro striker Jeremie Aliadiere’s dismissal for a bit of slap and tickle with Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano a week earlier.
Not only that but also have the cheek to say their appeal was ‘frivolous’ and slap an extra game ban on for good measures. Fair play to Gibson he has no axe to grind with Chelsea and even said Lampard’s red card for a minor spat with West Ham’s Luis Boa Morte was wrong. But he, along with the rest of us, just wants to know how the same panel that were so draconian with a Middlesbrough player can then be so lenient with a Chelsea player in the space of just seven days?
Looking at the incidents there is the argument that Aliadiere deserved a red for raising his hands to Mascherano’s face. However it is fair to say that a wayward wasp would have hit the Argentinian harder. And the big club v smaller club double standards creep in again when we consider why Aliadiere hit out at Mascherano? Yes because the Liverpool man aggressively grabbed the face of the Middlesbrough player first! Apparently the referee who sent Aliadiere off for raising his hands saw the whole incident but felt Mascherano’s actions warranted no punishment!
Confused yet because I am?? Last time I looked Mascherano was about the same height as Aliadiere. Only if he was about eight feet tall could he have grabbed the Frenchman’s face without visibly raising his hands!Then we look at Chelsea and England star Lampard who got in a tangle with Boa Morte, threw a boot out at the Portuguese midfielder’s leg as they fell to the ground, took a slight kick back off his opponent and then shoved his arm as he got up! Six and two threes you could say.
Back to the FA’s disciplinary panel who probably did not have time to sip their tea before throwing this decision out of the window and exonerating Lampard of any wrongdoing, despite it being no more or no less of a violent clash than Aliadiere and Mascherano’s tiff. The FA has since denied Gibson’s claims that there are blatant double standards on show between the Premier League’s elite and the rest of us mere mortals. However when we dig deeper and check on which clubs have seen their players handed an extra game ban for a ‘frivolous’ appeal against a red card and it starts getting funny.
Middlesbrough followed the likes of the mighty Burnley, Mansfield Town, Luton Town, Tranmere Rovers and Hartlepool United to be punished for daring to question a referee’s red card decision this season. Then we hark back to Chelsea’s game at Derby earlier this season when Michael Essien tried to decapitate Rams striker Kenny Miller with his arm. Chelsea appealed and it failed so the three-game ban stood, but no extra game ban or the word ‘frivolous’ in sight! In fact you could almost imagine the FA boys squirming in their seats saying, ‘we’re really sorry but we cannot let Michael off this one it would be too obvious to the peasants and we don’t want a revolt on our hands!‘
The FA will always deny it, while the rest of us know it goes on. Unfortunately there is not a lot the lesser teams can do apart from getting a multi-billionaire oil tycoon on board.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!