Wednesday, March 12, 2008

FA guilty of duplicity over Queiroz comments...

Last week Sepp Blatter called for more protection for players like Cristiano Ronaldo and the very unfortunate Eduardo who will be out of the game for up to 15 long month's with a badly broken leg following a poor tackle committed by Birmingham's Martin Taylor.

Immediately after the recent game between Birmingham and Arsenal in which the Croatia striker sustained that serious injury, Arsene Wenger called for a life-ban for Taylor. The FA did not charge the Arsenal manager with bringing the game into disrepute, largely because Wenger, in part, retracted his earlier comments, added to which Wenger got the sympathy vote.

Last weekend Manchester United were dumped out of the FA Cup by Portsmouth. It was a defeat largely of the Reds' own making. The game did not pass without a huge degree of controversy. The main talking point, which later proved to be Fergie's biggest post-match gripe was a cast-iron penalty for a first-half rugby style block by Sylvain Distin on Ronaldo, but referee Martin Atkinson did not give the award.

Atkinson went on to award a penalty to the visitors in the second-half, but there was more controversy here because the referee decided to send off Tomas Kuszczak, United's stand-in 'keeper, there was a fair degree of debate about whether or not it was actually a sending-off. Not only had Atkinson got one big decision completely wrong, he had allowed the visiting players to block and stop Ronaldo when making no attempt to play the ball without Atkinson brandishing the yellow card early enough. The referee had a stinker of a game and few, barring the many Reds detractors, would argue with that.

In a TV interview Fergie later blasted Atkinson and referee's assessor Keith Hackett, when saying that his performances needed to be monitored too. For this the United manager has been summoned by the FA to answer questions about his remarks with the threat of a trumped-up 'bringing the game into disrepute' charge.

As if to make matters worse in a live post-match TV interview, United's assistant manager Carlos Quieroz then went on to make an unfortunate comparison between the treatment dished out to Ronaldo and Eduardo when appearing to attack Martin Taylor. To his credit, like Wenger before him, Quieroz later retracted his comments when apologising to Taylor, yet along with Ferguson he too has been summoned to face the FAs Kangaroo court.

So over the last two weeks the president of FIFA has spoken out about the need to protect players, Arsene Wenger has also voiced his concerns, as did Gordon Taylor (PFA) along with Fergie and Queiroz, but the United duo will have to answer questions about their comments, even though the Reds' assistant manager has already apologised. Clearly this is a case of duplicity in action where Quieroz and the FA are concerned.

Fergie has not retracted his comments about Hackett, why should he? Clearly many high-profile figures within the game are not happy with the standard of refereeing and protection afforded to the players. Something needs to be done to improve the standard of refereeing in England. The question is what? Personally, I'm not in favour of the threat of a life-ban for tackles which led to Eduardo ending up out of the game for 15 months, reason being there's a huge element of doubt about Taylor's intentions. By going down this slippery road there's a serious danger that we could end up taking tackling out of the game altogether, which would be totally ridiculous.

By attacking Hackett, Fergie has at least brought the debate out into the public domain, something has to be done. The resulting fines for the United management duo will amount to a slap on the wrist. However, the fear is that the FA will believe that in fining Fergie and Queiroz they have dealt with the issue, this must not cannot be allowed to happen, the issue isn't about managers' speaking out, the issue should be about raising the standard of ****-poor refereeing and how to deal with players who commit dangerous fouls.


  1. i read your piece with total support in everything you said.sir alex and every other manager should be allowed to express their views on refereeing especially important games.This incompetence has been going on for to long now and needs addressing.Someone should voice their concerns and if it took someone like sir alex to do it then he really shouldn't be critisised for doing it.As he and others have said more and more bad tackles are seeping into our once beautiful game.We should all get behind sir alex and support him.

  2. Agree Totally.
    Plus after the game when the players and managers have there say on Television, the Referee should also be interviewed and shown the controversial issues and asked to comment. To my knowledge the referee has not (yet) apologised to man Utd for his atrocious refereing which has led to them being knocked out of the FA Cup.

  3. for sure we need to protect players like ronaldo, imagine if he broke a bone. it doesnt bare thinking!!

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  4. The double standards against United have been going on and on for ages. For some reason, everyone including FIFA seems to hate our guts. Just take a look at how Ronaldo came 3rd in the FIFA player of the year award after Messi. WTF has Messi done that Ronaldo hasn't done 10 times better anyway ?

    I hate the fact that we can't voice our opinion when it comes to poor officiating of the match. Reffs are treated as if they were Gods. And Sepp Blatter doesn't help either by refusing to use the technology to help improving the standards of reffereing. Jesus, old man it's 2010 for God's sake...

  5. Wouldn't it be fair, to ban Taylor as long as Eduardo is still injured? What do you think? Instead of banning Taylor for life, he should be banned for 15 months?


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