Andre Villas-Boas calls the Football Association’s failure to take retrospective action in respect of Torres’ clawing of Vertonghen’s face as disgraceful and farcical. I agree. They have manipulated the wording of their own rules to avoid taking action. They don’t say that the officials didn’t see it because if they had said that they would have had to do something. They said instead that they saw the incident – (which precludes the FA from taking action) – but not all of it. The precise quote on the FA’s website is,
A solution to resolve Torres’ face-clawing of Vertonghen.
One of the match officials saw the coming together of the two players, albeit not in its entirety.
Well then, the bit they didn’t see is an incident which stands alone and they should review what they have done, treat it as such and extend the one match ban. They could and should have taken action. Their amended rule even gives them permission to take action if it was seen “in exceptional circumstances”.
What is exceptional if not a separate physical assault? The rule refers to “the coming together” of players. There was more than one coming together here. There was the initial clash. Then afterwards there was the assault. That is a separate incident, a different and separate coming together. It wasn’t one incident that was not seen in its entirety, it was one incident that was seen or partially seen followed by a separate face scratching that was not seen. The only alternative is that the second incident was seen and the officials decided not to do anything about it and in that case the FA’s statement should say a mistake was made in not doing so and sanction the official who made the mistake.
This pretending it was all one incident that was not seen “in its entirety” is issue-fudging rubbish. It does not bear up to examination and is exactly what AVB says it is; a disgrace and a farce. I sincerely hope that in a misguided righteous huff they do not now attempt to sanction AVB for honestly stating the bl**ing obvious. Worst of all, this makes the FA and their legal advisors look like rank amateurs which does not stand them in good stead for the battles to come over Dyke’s reforms.
The face-clawing was off the ball and separate to and after the initial challenge and the ball was out of play. It would serve them right if a third party now made a complaint of assault to the police. There were millions of witnesses.
Abramovich Can Fix ThisThere is a way that Chelsea can redeem their position on this and that is for them to voluntarily impose an extended ban on Torres and have him make a public apology – which Vertonghen should publicly accept – and have a public handshake. That would raise everybody above the Suarez farce levels and set a good example. If Abramovich is at all concerned about the club’s public image, he should move to do so-and fast. With Torres injured in last night’s game, he could run the ban concurrently with the injury and not actually lose him for any longer. Justice will be seen to be done though.
It would help Mourinho too. He is in a similar position to the one Kenny Dalglish was in at Liverpool over Suarez. He is in danger of over-playing his loyalty to his player in the face of overwhelming evidence against him and further damaging the image of a club aspiring to greatness. Following his walk out of the press conference it would also give Mourinho a clear signal about the standards Abramovich and Chelsea are aspiring to this time around. It would also give them the moral high ground in future run–ins with the FA.
I do hope this is the last time I feel moved to write on this subject.
P.S. Well done to the Celtic captain Scott Brown for putting out a statement accepting responsibility for his sending off and apologising to Celtic fans. Even setting a good example to his manager.