It wasn’t too long ago that the whole world was marveling at the displays of great sportsmanship and dignity at the London Olympic and Paralympic games.
There was hardly any bad language or tantrums (Jody Cundy being the exception) and some of the bravery and performances brought a tear to some spectators eyes.
Even the Men’s and Women’s football went by without much drama or scandal and will actually be remembered for the tremendous support and credibility from all those involved. This spectacular and sincere summer of sport was meant to inspire the next generation and inspire other sports to match the level of modesty on display.
However just a few months into the Premier League we are back into the swing of talking about diving, racism and red cards. English football doesn’t seem to have learnt anything and it is just as unfriendly and unfair as it has ever been.
This weekends action was a prime example with all thats wrong with the English Premier League and yet nothing seems to be getting done about it. So how about the proposal of a Monday review session, as suggested by former referee Graham Poll (link), to get rid of all the talking points and actually punish some of the offenders that are giving our game a bad reputation.
The Monday review session should give the Premier League, Football League and FA the chance to right the wrongs of the previous weekends action and make the game as fair and balanced as possible. Players wouldn’t be getting away with deliberate handballs and dangerous challenges any more as the judiciary panel would be able to inflict the punishment they deserved in the match just days after the game.
Ok it’s not as good as actually getting the decisions right on the day but every referee is human and they are bound to make mistakes and miss some things in a 90 minute match, but the review panel would be able to right some of those wrongs and bring back some justice for the aggrieved managers and clubs.
It’s a better system than what is already in place as clubs can only appeal against certain incidents during the match instead of being able to put forward a claim for any incident during that game, whether it’s a wrongful dismissal, simulation, foul & abusive language or an unseen incident that went unpunished.
The judging and review panel would be much like the set up in Formula one where race stewards and the FIA police every incident that is reported by drivers and the teams and they discuss the incident and deliver the appropriate punishment.
It’s a fair and respected system that has been in place for a number of years in the sport as the complaints are dealt with in an efficient manner by a panel of F1 executives, safety experts, former drivers and race director Charlie Whiting. The drivers and the teams involved can also have their say on the incident if it is needed which also adds to the balanced nature of the F1 system.
So why haven’t we got one of these judging panels in place for the Premier League? Every misjudged call and missed incident could potentially cost Premier League teams millions of pounds, so with so much money involved int eh English game it should only be a matter of time until an F1-like system is brought in.
A panel made up of FA executives, former referees, managers and players would judge every incident that was reported to the FA or Premier League by the clubs and come to a conclusion of whether a punishment is needed or not.
Just looking at this weekends incidents makes a clear case for this system to be brought in. Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale could have been banned for 3 games for the cheating nature of their diving attempts. Robert Huth and Robin Van Persie could have had a multiple game ban for their violent incidents on Sunday.
Even putting forward complaints about players crowding the referee and constant use of aggressive and bad language could be looked at by the panel and dealt with.
This one change to FA procedures could really be the beginning of football becoming a clean game and evoking the spirit of the Olympics week in week out. We could see an end to diving, back chat to the referee and it may even spread to a more friendly atmosphere in the stands.
The FA needs to wake up and smell the pollution of cheating and aggressive behaviour that is plaguing the game and clean it up before it’s too late.