Yesterday’s full throttle match up between Liverpool and Manchester United was not the prettiest of football games but for the neutral, the result makes the title run in, plus Liverpool’s newly found resurgence very exciting.
However, many elements of the game, and I shall choose Nani’s theatrics in particular were appalling. Yes, Carragher’s challenge was nasty and the defender should have been sent off but why must we deal with professional football players falling over when someone touches them. One superlative that rounds the situation up nicely is “embarrassing”.
My World Cup history is somewhat rusty but we can go back to the 2002 event to the Rivaldo situation, where, if I am correct, the ball was kicked at him, hit him in the knee, and he went down like a fly that had just been sprayed with anti-fly clutching his face and turning over more times than a DJ’s favourite 80’s record. The punishment after FIFA had “investigated” the matter (Watching a two minute video clip) was a pathetic £7000 or so.
For those who also admire the sport rugby, you can see what the real men of this world do when injured. When a rugby player’s ear is falling off, or their fingers have been dislocated, they simple get the ear sown back on and stiched up and have their fingers popped back into place to get back on the pitch as soon as possible.
Sadly in football, the small fine on Rivaldo set a precedent meaning you could cheat and have to pay about 25% of a weeks wages to brush things under the carpet.
Why players do this is a good question but the answer is obvious. They are required to win a football match, if that means getting a player sent off unlawfully then so be it, and by whatever means necessary. There is so much money involved in football that the players almost feel obligated to cheat their way to victory.
Unfortunately, players will continue to fall around holding their face to get others sent off until either the FA and FIFA do something serious about it. It’s hardly the best viewing and most Manchester United fans will have felt embarrassed wilst Nani was rolling around again.
Whilst referees will not always see the event during the match, the FA and/or FIFA should look into any malpractice, as they did with Rivaldo, after the game and a correct punishment should be issued. Fining millionaires with poultry sums will not do, if it is football that these actors love, then it is football that should be taken away from them.
To start with there should be a serious ban, at least three games depending on the cirumstances (Some players are better actors than others) but no more than fifteen. Another punishment should see the player hauled in front of a press conference to explain his actions after the video footage showed nothing actually happend. For the player, this would be one of the most humiliating experiences that they could possibly come across on the professional football scene, if it takes one example then so be it, thereafter, not many players will be wanting to go through the same process.
I know someone that works for FIFA. That person is of the opinion that they are too lazy to get off their fat behinds to investigate (Yes, watch a two minute video clip) and then issue a punishment, they have too, become sceptical that each punishment they issue will be withdrawn by the court of arbitration for sport (OK, that’s feasable).
Where non football fans will be laughing at the overall pathetic state of feigning injuries and cheating when possible, for football fans it has now become a major embarrassment and something needs to be tied up before the start of the next season to stamp this pathetic ritual out of the game.
The following Youtube clip is hilarious but take note when Harry Enfield (In Blue) is touched on the chest by an opposition player in (red/white) whilst very, very funny it is sadly something we see every few weeks in the Premiership. The elbow is pretty good too but I doubt Mark Clattenburg would have penalised him for it!