Tag Archive: Football Association

Time for divers to be banned?

Once again, the Premier League weekend was subject to a little controversy as a number of players were accused of diving to try and win their side a penalty, or get an opposing player sent off.

One of the big examples of this was Luis Suarez for Liverpool against Stoke City on Sunday as the Uruguayan went down far too easily in the second half of the a football result   that ended goalless draw between the two sides at Anfield.

This made Stoke boss Tony Pulis come out and ask for Suarez to be banned, suggesting that too many players get away with doing it and that if they were suspended for diving, it would cut it out of the game.

These days it is almost impossible for a referee to give a penalty as there is always the doubt that a player has tried to con the officials or whether there was enough contact. Someone like Suarez is constantly in the headlines for playacting and it has led to him getting a lot less spot-kicks.

However, he seems to keep on doing it and maybe a ban would be a big statement of intent from the Football Association that they want to get diving out of the game and it would make a player think twice about doing that.

The FA could use video evidence after the match, and if someone has clearly dived to try and win a penalty of having a member of the opposition sent off, then it is them that face the ban.

No one likes to see a player cheating – there is a big difference between winning a penalty and looking for one. If you feel contact in the box, then you have every right to go down, but if you go into the area knowing you are going to fall to the ground – you deserve to be punished.

This is not just a pick on Suarez either, there are players all round England that are guilty of it. When you are successful in trying to con the referee it can have a massive impact on a team’s season – which is really not fair.



By Tony Alvarez

I’m sure many of you have seen the post match brawl between the players ofCrawleyand Bradford after their Tuesday night fixture. (if you haven’t http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/17533203)  I’m also sure many of you have now seen the news that both clubs have been charged by the Football Association for failing to ensure that their players and/or officials conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and/or refrained from provocative behaviour.

The match was won 2-1 by promotion chasingCrawleyTownbut no one has taken any notice of that, all you hear about is the brawl at the final whistle.

The clubs have until 4pm on Tuesday the 4th of April to appeal against the decision although it is thought neither side will do so with such evidence against the clubs.

Continue reading

By Tony Alvarez

It has been said millions of times before and I’m in no doubt it will be said over and over again but the simple fact is we need goal line technology and the sooner we get it the better.

Of course I am writing this in relation to the “goal” QPR were not awarded in their fixture againstBoltonon Saturday when Clint Hill’s header was clearly over the line on TV replays. It wasn’t a marginal call the ball was over the line by a distance.

Many people will say its easy to spot it with replays from various angles and vantage points but I knew straight away the ball had crossed the line, the ball was pushed back out and up by keeper Adam Bogdan and still hit the bar for me that made it clear, anyway this is not an attack on the referee or the assistants because if they don’t see it they simply cannot give it and I know that they do not have an easy job.

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By Tony Alvarez

As Harry Redknapp being found innocent of all charges regarding tax evasion is being widely reported by various forms of media outlets and of course you cant turn a TV on without reading the news of Fabio Capello resigning as England boss we thought we would avoid the topics and comment on something that isn’t widely covered else where on the web.

Instead were going to look at the role of the panel who are in charge of rescinding red cards upon appeal and what it is they exactly look for, this is especially prominent this week as Stoke’s Robert Huth has had his ban upheld although it is clear to all who have seen the incident that he should not of been red carded.

Any regular reader will know I’m not a Stoke fan in fact there are possibly my least favourite Premier League team I have problems with many things they do during their games and the way they go about a Football match, however in this case the FA have done them wrong.

I wrote an article earlier in the season after Jack Rodwell was wrongfully sent off in the Merseyside derby a red card that upon a appeal was revoked, incidentally both red cards were given by the same referee Martin Atkinson, I would of expected similar treatment for Robert Huth on this occasion however the panel saw things differently.

It should be noted that Mr Atkinson is a fan of branding the red card awarding almost one in every three fixtures of the 41 he officiated in the 2010-2011 season.

If you have not seen the incident pictured above Stoke defender Huth slid in on a slippery snowy surface to attempt to win the ball, he was travelling at speed and being unable to stop on the surface didn’t help his cause, he did not lung and it was not a two footed tackle (the two reasons we usually see players dismissed). That alone should make the tackle nothing more than a yellow card, it was mistimed he never won the ball and he went in with reasonable force. But even more incredible is that if you watch the tackle he realised he would not win the ball and completely pulled out of the tackle meaning the only contact wasSunderland’s David Meyler kicking Huth’s knee as again the picture shows.

I can understand how the referee got it wrong he was under pressure fromSunderlandplayers Huth was travelling at speed and Meyler ended up in a heap on the floor, this wasn’t like Rodwell’s where there was no case for a sending off, so I can sympathise with the referee they have a tough job. But how a panel that can see it again from many different angles with no pressure on them and can even have a rule book in front of them is beyond me.

Stoke chairman Peter Coates has even spoken out about the incident and the refusal from the appeal panel/board/committee to over turn the red card awarded by the referee.

He commented “You feel it is not being operated satisfactorily… Referees do make mistakes and nobody blames them for that, but we need a system that redresses that.”

It is obvious from what I have written above that I agree with Coates and feel there is many processes that the FA use that need to be altered. But what are your views?

Should Huth of been sent off? Do you agree with the panel’s decision to uphold the red card? Is it time for a change in the process?

If you are on twitter please follow us @sfts1

By Laurie Fitzgerald

On Friday the Football Association announced that John Terry would not be eligible for the England captaincy in this year’s European Championships.

After a meeting with the FA board, Chairman David Bernstein announced that Terry could not carry on with the armband with the charges of racial abuse against Anton Ferdinand, after his court case was adjourned until July.

While they stressed that the Chelsea centre-back will be available for selection, it would be difficult for Terry to captain the national side and unable to have the chance to clear his name until after the tournament.

It’s a decision that has split public opinion, with many feeling that Terry should remain captain on the basis of innocent until proven guilty.   Continue reading

By Tony Alvarez

Many footballers, managers and fans alike are often calling for consistency to be shown from referee’s regarding fouls, cards and pretty much any decision that can influence a game.

However events of the past week has shown that consistency is not something that is promoted by the FA big wigs, if their superiors are not being consistent then what type of model is that giving the referee’s to follow.

I have brought this issue up following the lack of consistency the FA have shown this week in giving retrospective bans; Mario Balotelli was rightly or wrongly given a four match ban for an alleged stamp on Scott Parker that the referee missed so the FA were able to take action. Continue reading


By Tony Alvarez

It was announced yesterday that no player that is selected for the Euro 2012 championships will be selected for the London Olympics due to fatigue and also to keep relations strong between the clubs and the Football Association.

Of course initially this only effects English players as none of the other home nations qualified for Euro 2012, however there is still some disagreement whether players from other nations will play and the FA has contacted players to see if they would like to be considered for selection.

It is thought that Welsh players Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey of Tottenham and Arsenal respectively are both interested in being part of the tournament next summer.

The squad will consist of 18 men 15 of which must be under 23 and the other 3 can be of any age.

The manager of the GB men’s squad Stuart Pearce said about today’s announcement “It’s a sensible football decision when you consider the demands on players, and it now leaves no room for doubt for players and their clubs about next summer and the two major tournaments”

Although it will come as a relief to many managers and fans who primarily focus on club Football it will mean that the team GB side will be a lot weaker than initially thought, players such as Chris Smalling, Jack Wilshere, and Phil Jones to name just a few look likely to be selected for the Euro 2012 squad fitness permitting meaning they will not be in consideration for London 2012.

It had originally been thought before yesterdays announcement that no player would be made unavailable for selection and that players were likely to compete in both competitions much to the dismay of managers throughout the Premier League.

I personally think the decision is a great decision for the game inEnglandwhere many fans are proud in calling their league the best on earth. For me it is also a sensible decision and should mean there is a good balance between the standard of the Team GB squad and the Barclays Premier League.

It will also please managers such as Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger who could of lost stars such as Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere. However it will not all be joy for Wenger who could lose Ramsey until September should team GB progress through the tournament.

What are your thoughts? Is the decision to not select players for both tournaments the correct one? Will the decision help to raise the level of the Premier League? Will Team GB still have a chance of Olympic gold without the players who go to Euro 2012

If you ar eon Twitter please follow us @sfts1

By Tony Alvarez

It has been revealed that a few clubs in the Football leagues are backing the return of artificial pitches into the professional game inEngland.

Clubs such as Wycombe Wanderers and Accrington Stanley have backed the idea due to lower costs of maintenance and also the increased revenue streams of it being able to be used 7 days a week without suffering damage, this would allow the clubs to train on the pitch as well as hiring out their facilities.

Whilst it is currently thought that the plan is being discussed by all 72 Football League clubs the majority of the Championship are thought to be against installing artificial pitches as Premier League rules state you must play on grass the Championship sides do not want to install something that could have to be removed in less than a year.

Of course artificial or Astroturf pitches are nothing new to English football with Luton Town, Oldham Athletic, Preston North End and Queens Park Rangers all possessing artificial pitches until they were outlawed by the Football Association in the late 1980s, although Preston continued to use theirs until the end of the 1993-94 season.

The pitches were outlawed due to fears over player safety and arguments that they caused a poor brand of Football to be played, however since then technological means the pitches have come on massively and take aside the top few pitches in the country artificial pitches are as consistent.

Artificial pitches are always completely flat by nature meaning no bobbles and as they don’t suffer from wear and tear you do not get unplayable areas as you see in many goal mouths and centre circles in the Football League.

They tend to play faster than grass especially when wet which could add to the fast football which is already played in England, unless there is such a thing as too fast which I don’t believe there is I don’t think artificial pitches would be detrimental to the quality of Football.

The player safety issue is a good one whilst technological advances mean they are a lot safer than in the 80’s hence FIFA’s acceptance of them and many teams throughout the world using them I do believe that grass is safer.

Whilst you can get your studs stuck in grass which causes more horrific injuries, Astroturf pitches are a lot harder meaning and fall hurts a lot more. As well as the hardness of the pitches I feel defenders would be less happy with any change, slide tackles can still not be properly perfected on artificial pitches without a carpet burn effect, the same can be said for any player taken down by a slide tackle, bloody knees would happen numerous times per match.

Whilst a bloody knee is unlikely to cause grave pain think of the amount of stoppages as players have to leave the field as you cannot play with any blood coming from your body.

As mentioned above both FIFA and UEFA already sanction the use of artificial pitches, you may remember England losing to Russia on an artificial pitch in a euro 2008 qualifier or Tottenham losing to Young Boys in a Champions League qualifier last season on an artificial pitch.

Whilst those cases are in Russia and Switzerland there are artificial pitches a lot closer to home, many teams in the lower divisions of the Scottish Leagues use them as they cost less to maintain and do not get damaged in the bad weather.

I happen to know many sides currently have artificial pitches at their training ground, Arsenal’s London Colney training ground has numerous out door grass pitches but also has indoor artificial pitches.

For me it is a tough call I am all for clubs to maximise their revenue by having cheaper maintenance as well as hiring out their pitches not to mention the reduction of postponements it would bring with it.

However I am not for a game that has to stop 10 times per match for a player to go off and get treated for a blood wound, the positives do out weigh the negatives but the negative is a pretty big one, if it could be proved that their would not be numerous blood wounds I am all for a club making their choice whether they want grass or an artificial pitch.

What are your thoughts? Are you for the use of artificial pitches? Would there be numerous blood injuries on artificial pitches? Do technological advantages mean the quality of Football is not affected? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts

If you are on Twitter please follow us @sfts1

By Tony Alvarez

With early reports coming from both BBC and Sky Sports as well as many other sporting news outlets reporting thatEnglandmanager Fabio Capello has decided to include John Terry in his preliminaryEnglandsquad for next weeks friendlies opinion is divided of whether Terry should be included in the national squad whilst at the centre of the race row.

For those of you who are unaware Terry is currently being investigated by the police as reports he racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

Not only would Terry’s selection be awkward if other members of the squad believe Terry is a racist but also because it is highly likely that Anton’s big brother Rio will be selected in the squad.

Many members of the Football watching public believe that playing for your country is the biggest honour second only to captaining your country which if selected in the line up Terry is almost certain to do, however those same people believe it is wrong to be able to receive such honours whilst being investigated by the police, especially for what is a taboo subject in Football with a huge “Kick racism out of football” campaign that has been going on for a good few years now.

Terry of course has been stripped of theEnglandcaptaincy before after the national press reported he had had an affair with and impregnated the girlfriend of a former club and international team mateWayneBridge.

Terry’s club Chelsea and their manager Andre Villas Boas have stood by their man and selected him in last weekend’s Premier League loss at home to Arsenal where he got on the score sheet. It is also believed he will take his usual place in theChelseaback line when they take to the field againstBlackburn.

It is believed that Terry is keen to be included in theEnglandsquad and will not make himself unavailable for selection; many feel it would be the right thing for Terry to do however he could see it as an admission of guilt.

I am not going to comment on whether or not I think Terry is guilty as is it is not my place to do so, should he pull out from the squad while he is being investigated? In my opinion no if he is innocent or believes he is innocent why should he deny himself the chance to play for and captain his nation?

The final squad will be named at around 8pm on Sunday and it is believed that Capello is to consult the bigwigs at the FA before the announcement to see if they will sanction the selection of John Terry.

All shall be revealed then, this nation had an innocent until proven guilty policy, should Terry be omitted for the squad whilst something is being investigated and he has not actually been found to break any rules or law the country will be making hypocrites of their own law.

What are your thoughts? Should Terry be stripped of the England captaincy again? Will he be included in the England squad? Would you name him in the squad if you were in Capello’s shoes? Is Andre Villas Boas right to stand by his man? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts

By Laurie Fitzgerald

The racism row that has developed over the past week involving Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra threatens to develop into a worrying story.

Manchester United defender Evra has accused Liverpool striker Suarez of repeatedly using a racially abusive word during their clubs’ 1-1 draw at Anfield last weekend.

Suarez has vehemently denied the accusations, which the Football Association began to look into after Evra and United manager Sir Alex Ferguson asked for the alleged abuse to be put into the referee’s match report.

But the French left-back is adamant that he was a victim of repeated racism by the 24 year-old, and is continuing to press on with these allegations.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has come out and backed his Uruguayan forward in light of the brewing controversy while the investigation by the FA continues.

It should be made clear at this point that there has been no evidence publicly produced to support either Evra’s claims nor Suarez’s pleads of innocence, so no-one can say that either of them are right or wrong at this stage.

However, what we can debate are the consequences for the person found to be the guilty party in this unwholly saga and the repercussions that should await them.

If Evra’s allegations are proven to be legitimate, then serious action should be taken against Suarez in racially abusing not just another professional, but ultimately another human being.

There is no excuse for that kind of mentality, and when you ply your trade in role which makes you impressionable to younger people, then the appropriate authorities within football need to make an example of Suarez.

Especially when you consider that English football has worked so hard in recent times to oust racism from the game by players and fans alike, highlighted by the ‘Kick Racism Out Of Football’ campaign.

So potential long-term bans and heavy fines would await Suarez if he is proven guilty – but if the allegations are proven false, then what does this mean for Evra?

Making a complaint of this nature about another person is an incredibly serious accusation to make, as this is the sort of stigma that can haunt someone for the rest of their careers.

Unless it is completely proven that Suarez did not use a racist term then the former Ajax star will always be viewed by some members of the public as a person that does not respect all forms of race.

For Evra to categorically stand by his original statement of the events means he must feel he has a viable case, but if it is proven that the 30 year-old has lied, then he needs to take responsibility for his own actions.

Both men can state their misunderstanding of the situation if proven to be in the wrong; Suarez can say he was mistranslated by Evra, and Evra can indicate that he misheard what was being said.

Until the FA have concluded their enquiries then we will not have a clear picture, only the word of the two individuals involved.

Whichever man is proven wrong though must know that the worst is yet to come.

So what do you think? Should either man be punished depending on the outcome of the allegations? Leave a comment and let us know your views.

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