In his press conference for Tottenham’s Europa League game in Russia, Andre Villas-Boas was highly critical of the Football Association’s decision to take no further action against Fernando Torres, describing it as “diabolical and farcical”.
The Chelsea striker scraped his nails across Jan Vertonghen’s cheek and neck leaving marks which were clearly visible to television viewers who had witnessed the incident. Referee Mike Dean booked Torres at the time for tripping Vertonghen but was unaware of Torres’ actions. Torres was later sent off for a second yellow card which seemed harsh as the match ended in a 1 – 1 draw. It was expected that the Football Association would use television evidence to further punish the Spaniard as the officials had not seen the incident.
Former referee, Graham Poll, described the incident as “a spiteful and cowardly attack” in his column for the Daily Mail and called for the player to receive at least a three-match ban. Poll’s view was supported by most people involved in football but to the shock of everyone, the Football Association announced no further action. The reason given was that one of the assistants had seen the players coming together but not the full extent of what had happened. This has again brought into question the Football Association ability to regulate the game and to take positive action against wrong-doing. In recent seasons the Football Association has failed to act when faced with a number of serious issues and it had been thought that a change in the laws during the summer would allow for action to be taken against Torres.
The press conference ahead of Spurs game with Anzhi was Villas-Boas’ first opportunity to speak since the decision was taken. It was reported by the BBC Sport and he said,
After the match at White Hart Lane, Chelsea’s manager was quick to criticise Vertonghen but ignored his own player’s unacceptable actions. Speaking to Sky, AVB was very measured in his response saying, “Well I think the incident is pretty clear and people must draw their own conclusions from what they saw.” He was pleased that it had been seen by the media and their reaction to it.
It looks incredible. How can you see the images, pretty clear, and come out without punishment, on something (which) overtakes all professional behaviour? Obviously, it is almost a farcical decision.
Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel commenting on the incident compared it with Luis Suarez’ biting incident and suggested that if the Liverpool player had been involved, there would have been calls for another 10-match ban.
Andre Villas-Boas has only said what every right-minded football observer was thinking. Torres’ actions were a deliberate attack on Vertonghen as can been by the look on his face but by taking no action the Football Association have again brought themselves into disrepute.