It has become vogue nowadays to lambaste the FA with a vitriolic regularity rarely suffered by sporting bodies, or other authorities for that matter.
The trouble is the Football Association, a 150 year old staple of this country’s sporting diet, make it so ludicrously easy to attack them.
Their failure to punish Wigan’s Callum McManaman for his untimely impersonation of Bruce Lee to the detriment of Newcastle United’s Massadio Haidara’s provides only the latest addition in a litany of errors.
But when something becomes easy, in this case roundly scolding the powers that be, it becomes mundane. Is it not time to proffer some valid solutions to a growing problem?
The FA needs to conduct an internal investigation into the McManaman farce and in so doing attempt to establish and apportion blame. Why did the linesman not see fit to alert referee Mark Halsey to the collision? And why is it that guidelines stipulate that if an incident is not present in the post match notes then no further action can be taken?
It must then set about forming a panel for retrospective punishment. A board of five members would suffice, convening on a Monday to route out the weekends divers and actual-bodily- harmers. Video replays are readily available to fans and pundits, surely the same courtesy can be afforded to those that actually bring about change.
Why is it that football remains unwilling to follow the example set by Rugby? Brian O’Driscoll, Ireland’s lauded skipper, was cited for stamping during his sides stunning defeat away to Italy during this years Six Nations and found himself banned from all aspects of the game for three weeks.
Such an instrument, if used wisely and on a consistent basis, would all but eradicate the simulation and recklessness that currently blights the national game of England.
Another proposal is the strict implementation of point deductions for the individual that abuse the rules and regulations that govern football. In a game awash with wealth the damage a paltry fine inflicts upon the likes of Manchester United remains to be seen.
Despite the coalition governments latest petty crusade, free speech must be protected at all costs. But when Sir Alex Ferguson takes to his soap box to lampoon a match official, a regular occurrence most recently witnessed in the aftermath of his sides 1-1 draw at Tottenham, does the FA genuinely believe that a £12,000 reduction in his bank balance will protect the men in black in the future?
Managers and players would soon bite their tongues when the prospects of their respective employers may be hampered . Perhaps the threat of losing potentially vital points in a title race or relegation dogfight would also go some way towards silencing the philosophical twitter outbursts of the likes of Monsieur Joey Barton or Al Jazeera’s latest recruit, Rio Ferdinand. An unimportant but added bonus.
Greg Dyke, a former Manchester United Board member and the FA’s newly appointed chairman, faces a monumental task in instilling some much needed discipline and consistency to a whimsical institution in need of modernisation. Grass roots football, financial stability and engineering some tangible benefits for the national side are, quite rightly, high on his agenda. But firstly he must repair the Fa’s tattered reputation.