The FA: The National Obeying Body
They’re known as the National Governing Body, but do they govern consistently? Has their power diminished so much that they must sit on the fence constantly?
Created in 1863, The Football Association instantly created the melting pot in an attempt to bring everyone’s set of rules together, including the University of Cambridge and the Sheffield Rules, to create an overall set. They made football what it is today, they made the beautiful game.
But now it seems that The FA are incapable of making a decision, worrying that they will offend one side or another. Power of certain individuals affects their ultimate decision, consistency flies out the window.
Racism seems to be at the centre of the debate. Back in 2011, at Loftus Road, then England captain John Terry allegedly racially abused Queens Park Rangers centre-back Anton Ferdinand.
A three-match ban is given for a straight red card. On the 27th September 2012, The FA’s decision to give Terry a four-match ban was upheld. His racist remark was considered one game worse than a straight red card. Jonjo Shelvey was banned for four games after ‘elbowing’ Liverpool’s Emre Can at the end of 2014. He got the same punishment.
The FA, in many people’s eyes, had failed to give the correct penalty. Far from it. It was widely regarded that Terry was too important, too central a figure in British football to be severely and perhaps correctly dealt with.
But in an attempt not to offend the Chelsea and England skipper, they published in their report that the allegations were: “improbable, implausible and contrived”, as well as concluding that Terry was not a racist, despite issuing a ban and a £220,000 fine, which would obviously suggest he was guilty.
Rewind to the end of 2011, where The FA concluded that Luis Suarez was deserving of an eight match ban for racially abusing Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra.
What was the difference between this and Terry? Well one was England captain, and the other was up against a player managed by Sir Alex Ferguson. Again, influence dominated The FA’s decision.
If The FA can sentence someone, then they will be told to by those who have the necessary power. We all know who they are.
After making Suarez look like a criminal in comparison to Terry for committing the same crime, Suarez sunk his teeth into Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. The ban? 10 matches. The man with the power? José Mourinho.
You’d think after this string of incidents The FA would’ve learnt their lesson, try to act a bit more professionally, independently, govern football like their title demands.
But now they sit on the top of the tallest fence, too far off the ground to jump down to either of the sides.
Have we heard anything on the winter World Cup in Qatar? What are they going to do, what’s right for the Premier League? Maybe they’re still waiting for public opinion to make the decision for them. But so far, The FA have kept quiet.
What about the recent videos that have emerged of Chelsea fans barring a black passenger to board a train in Paris? The FA have kept quiet.
Similarly to that, have they even identified West Ham fans’ anti-semitic chanting? Kick It Out are crying out for The FA to take action, as they always have done when this kind of case arises. The FA have kept quiet.
Consistency seems to be the problem area. But if The FA have little ability to make their own decisions, how can they be consistent?
And even now, Nemanja Matic has had his three-match ban reduced to two. Mourinho had his say in an appeal, but they must uphold their trust in the referee Martin Atkinson. So they stand in the middle.
But this time they haven’t avoided offending someone. Chelsea are furious at The FA’s decision not to punish Ashley Barnes, whose horror-tackle provoked Matic’s red-card reaction.
But if they ban Barnes, then they’ve once again given into Mourinho, which will enrage non-Chelsea fans, as well as going against Atkinson. Sitting on the fence is the easy way out.
Will we see any action on video technology in England? It’s obvious that refs need greater help. Barnes’ tackle would’ve been spotted and this whole drama would’ve been avoided. We could escape the inevitable controversy after each match. For example; linesman’s decisions, penalty shouts and many more instances could be checked. A football match could be played to the rules, the same rules that The FA created in 1863.
But for now, the problem is this. The FA needs to start to speak for itself; grow up and stop being bullied by the ones they used to rule over. Show some consistency and gain some more respect.
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