Why the FA have made a rod for their own back

The Younes Kaboul decision undermines referees.


First off, I would like to make one point very clear; in my opinion the decision to award a penalty against Tottenham was harsh on Saturday; if a penalty hadn’t been given then the sending off would never have occurred. Whether that would have affected the final score is irrelevant, but what is relevant is the repercussions of the Spurs appeal.

Younes Kaboul was stupid! by needlessly giving Samuel Eto’o a shove in the back he gifted Eto’o the chance to make the most of the slightest of touches, when Eto’o was clean through in a central position in the area and in a clear goal scoring position.

Why Kaboul raised his arms to Eto’o is a mystery, there was no advantage to be gained from it and by doing so he allowed Eto’o to go to ground and in the eyes of the ref he has denied Eto’o a clear goal scoring opportunity. According to the rules (and the fact that another defender is in front of Eto’o is irrelevant under the present rules if he cannot prevent him getting off a clear shot at the goal) if Eto'o has a clear goal scoring opportunity, refs are told to issue a red card.

The FA have today rescinded the red under the premise that Eto’o did not have the ball under control, (therefore it was not a clear goal scoring opportunity) but until the moment Kaboul made contact, Eto’o did have control of the ball, the reason he lost control was because of the contact made by Kaboul however minimal you may feel that contact may have been. Once the ref gives the penalty and a clear goal scoring opportunity has been denied it seems like a pretty clear cut case under the current rules, (right or wrong) that he has no option but to send the offender off for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity, whether he feels the offence warrants a straight red or not. The ref is in a no win situation, due to the constraints of the current rules.

For some reason the FA have deemed that this was not a goal scoring opportunity, which is totally inconsistent and flies in the face of previous decisions, if the FA are happy top put refs in a straightjacket, yet cannot deliver a consistent policy with their review decisions then how can their refs be expected to be consistent?

As fans the first thing we ask of referees is consistency, but if they are going to be contradicted by their own ruling body then all the FA are doing is confusing and undermining their own referees, who are binded by stupid and ridiculously restrictive rules.

In my opinion Kaboul did not deserve a red card, but that is cold comfort for the not considerable number of players who have had to serve their bans under similar circumstances. The right decision may have ultimately been arrived at, but it does not disguise the fact that two wrongs do not make a right and today's decision will have left a lot of our top refs scratching their heads wondering what to do in a similar situation in the future.

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