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Yesterday, it was all smiles at the FA, as the new National Football Centre in Burton got the Royal seal of approval.
There was even a few laughs when Prince William, the President of the Football Association, said to Ashley Cole: “If you continue to be a naughty boy, they will take your twitter account off you..” It was a stark contrast to the previous weekend’s mood at the FA’s headquarters.
It all started on Friday when the FA served John Terry the written reasons behind the Chelsea star’s four match ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
The 63-page report claimed that his initial defence wasn’t adequate and that Chelsea had come up with some lies in order to protect their captain. The report, although recognising that Terry isn’t a racist, condemned his behaviour and found him guilty of racial abuse.
There are a few points that can be drawn from the FA’s action. First of all, why had the case dragged on for so long? It’s been over ten and a half months since the incident with the QPR defender, so why has the verdict only been made. Although I recognise that the criminal case was severely delayed but as far as I understood, the criminal investigation was completely separate from the FA’s.
Secondly, why only the four match ban? Back in December Luis Suarez was given an eight match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra, and rightly so. Both of the cases are very similar so the difference in the ban seems puzzling. The difference will only bring up the argument that English players are more protected then their foreign counterparts.
Also, what will happen if unfortunately there is another racial abuse case? Will he receive a four match ban or an eight match ban, or something completely different? Whatever happens, the FA need to determine a proper punishment and stick to it for every player.
After serving Terry with the written reasons, it looked like it was the end of the unnecessarily long case and that everyone would try and move on. Until Mr Ashley Cole logged onto Twitter…
The English left back, never shy of controversy, tweeted this just hours after the FA had published the reason:
This would have been the last thing that the FA needed. On the day that the FA try to move forward from the Terry case, the social media outburst only brought the FA back into the limelight. But the main question was how the FA would react.
In my view, the FA should have hit Cole harder than a ton of bricks. The governing body should not stand for that behaviour, whoever it is. The FA run football in the country and gives players like Ashley Cole the honour to represent their country so they should be treated with respect. Cole should have received at least a three match ban to teach him and everyone else a lesson.
Cole, who has 98 England caps to his name, deleted the Tweet hours later (and 20,000+ retweets later) and publically apologised. However, the FA yesterday announced that they were to charge Cole for the tweet for bringing the game into disrepute. However Cole is still eligible to play against minnows San Marino on Friday. Although it’s good to see the FA take action, you can’t help but feel that a swift charge and ban would have been necessary.
Instead, the charge has the potential for an appeal and it could end up dragging on like Terry. The FA really does need to start acting quickly on cases.
So after an uneasy Friday at FA headquarters, they would have been hoping that the weekend’s fixtures happened without any incidents. But that didn’t happen. And it’s left the FA with more questions to answer.
In two separate games, we saw two notable cases of players diving. Gareth Bale dived at home against Aston Villa while Suarez dived against Stoke. In both cases, the player’s actions were despicable and at the end of the day: they cheated.
However, they both got away with it. And because of that, diving will unfortunately occur week in, week out. Although players are sometimes given a yellow card by referees, you can’t help but feel that a stronger punishment is needed to stamp diving out of the game. If players were to receive bans for unsporting behaviour such as diving, then the players wouldn’t do it anymore. It’s as simple as that. But the FA continues to not take any action.
Also, stamps by Huth and Tiote went unpunished despite clear evidence which will only pile the pressure on the FA. I’m sure the FA will be hoping that this weekend runs a bit smoother.
On the same weekend, Rugby League star Paul Wood ruptured his testicle while playing a game but finished the match, finished his interviews before deciding to get some treatment. Just remember that next time you see a player diving and rolling around…
Written by Craig Lishman
Follow him on Twitter @CraigLishman
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