Give these rules the elbow

by Dexy Longshot

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Hume deserves better protection

Your Honour, it was always pretty soul destroying to see your team take a heavy loss and having to head in to school the following Monday to face the taunts of your peers. When it was England going out of a major tournament, however, the collective sense of loss was evident the moment you crossed the threshold into your first classroom. It was a relief on one stark summer’s day in 1998 when our English teacher, who took great pride in moonlighting as a referee, joined us in the mourning of our World Cup exit to Argentina. Rather than wearily opening a copy of Lord of the Flies and getting Johnson at the back to read out loud, he whipped out a copy of the FIFA Laws of Association Football. This was interesting – everybody so far had been chastising David Beckham, such was the mood at the time. Instead, Mr De Rennes (for that was his name) lead a discussion with my class, on whether Sol Campbell’s goal had been correctly or incorrectly ruled as illegal, because Alan Shearer had jumped for the same ball and in doing so elbowed Argentine ‘keeper Carlos Roa. He then asked the golden question: just how each is it to make an elbow, especially when shaping your body for an aerial ball?

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury; fond school memories aside, we return to the matter at hand. Sheffield United’s Chris Morgan has escaped punishment from the FA for his elbow on Barnsley’s Iain Hume. Kudos to the FA for their timing, making the announcement on the same day Hume has been re-admitted to hospital after feeling unwell. Lest we forget, Hume was initially hospitalized for internal bleeding and a fractured skull, as well as being unable to move his neck when he was laid low, and having his cheekbone smashed out of place.  It’s a nasty injury but an even nastier decision by the FA, who were under instruction by FIFA not to take any further disciplinary action.

Why? Because Morgan was yellow carded by the referee on the day. Let’s get one thing straight; this is a ridiculous law. It was put in place by the FIFA thought police who were terrified at the idea of admitting that referees – shock of all shocks – get decisions wrong sometimes. The further absurdity is that there are other laws and regulations FIFA have in place which proves that referees do get it wrong, if it pleases the court:

Exhibit A

FIFA’s reluctance to introduce video replays is a shining acknowledgement that the game is human and that errors are part and parcel of the sport.

Exhibit B

FIFA has enabled video replays in hindsight decisions in order to rescind red cards.

Exhibit C

They didn’t send Graham Poll packing from the World Cup for no reason, did they?

I will now begin my summing up. FIFA, your first step is to admit that referees, who have the toughest job in the world, can’t please everyone but can still make glaring errors. Give Football Associations the power to upgrade yellow cards to red cards and further suspensions, if necessary. Chris Morgan won’t even be getting a slap on the wrists, and all for the sake of covering your arses. You make lots of loud noises about protecting players and promoting fair play, but can you seriously explain away failing to punish a player who hospitalized his fellow athlete simply because of your nincompoop bureaucracy. Your witness.

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  • Stevie

    it was the worst thing I’ve seen on a football pitch in ages, it was horrific. Why can’t the FA change their minds? Just proves they are bunch of bottle jobs!

    I was also disgusted at the Kiev player last night who was rolling around faking injury only to spring into action once they got the ball back. He should be banned for 3 games. That is showing the ref and the game of football no respect!

  • Darren

    have you seen the scare on Hume’s head? I can’t believe the FA looked at that footage said it’s ok, we won’t be taking any further action.

    Barnsley are sueing Sheff United, how ironic if the 30 mill that get from West Ham goes straight into Barnsley pocket, what are the odds on that happening?

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