The recent verdict in the FA‘s investigation into John Terry‘s racial abuse case has caused great consternation through the world of football. Admittedly, most of this consternation has been restricted to the blowhards of the tabloid press, and the put upon fans of the clubs in question.
Chelsea were upset because the FA found Terry guilty after the courts had found the reverse. QPR were upset because the aggressor escaped with a mere 4-game ban. Liverpool were upset too (no-one does upset quite like Liverpool) because their guy got punished for something similar and his ban was twice as long. It was all clearly a conspiracy against John Terry, against Chelsea, against QPR, against Liverpool, against foreign players and it was all somehow masterminded by evil Sir Alex Ferguson (and possibly The Freemasons). At the very least, the whole debacle was surely evidence that the FA didn’t know what they were doing, right?
This was all evident, unless you actually looked at what happened with some intelligence and detachment. The process the FA followed for Terry and Luis Suarez is something that every Premier League club have agreed upon and signed off on. Including Chelsea and Liverpool. In both cases, the FA followed the same rules. They employed a panel to investigate and all concerned clubs (Chelsea, Liverpool, QPR and Man Utd) had to agree that the people on the panel were acceptable in terms of fairness and impartiality, which they did. All of them.
So why did Terry get a 4-game ban while Suarez got an 8-game ban? Simple, the FA investigation found that the offending words were uttered by Terry once, and by Suarez seven times. The FA rule book states that a 4-match suspension is the standard ban for a single offence – which is exactly what Terry was found guilty of. Suarez got a longer ban because he was adjudged to have used racist language on at least 7 different occasions.
You can argue all you like about intent, about how the courts decided something different and so on, but the fact of the matter is that all the clubs, and the players and managers unions agreed on the process, and the process was followed. There are certainly huge issues around the governance of football in England, and throughout the world as a whole. There is certainly something wrong when teams get fined more money for coming out late for the second half than teams whose fans are found guilty of racist chanting. There is certainly something wrong when a player makes an offensive tweet about FA officials and he gets a greater sanction than a player who has been caught on camera trying to break someone’s leg with a tackle.
Being passionate and blindly loyal to your team (Spurs, in case you were wondering), is one of the things that makes following football great. We always believe in the heat of the moment that there is no way that was offside, that was never a handball and Man United always get too much stoppage time. What we all have to accept though, is that we’ll always be a little bit biased towards our own clubs and therefore, against other clubs. This is why we need regulations and nameless administrators in boring offices.
Follow Mark Cruise on Twitter: @chiefhairyman #rantsoccer