The fallout from Tottenham’s weekend trip to Manchester City has continued with Mario Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola claiming that referee Howard Webb should be “banned for life”.
This comes after the news that Balotelli has indeed been charged for his stamp on Spurs’ Scott Parker during their enthralling match at the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City have decided against appealing the FA charge, meaning that Balotelli will now miss his sides next four matches. Balotelli’s agent has come to his defence by claiming that Webb did not tell the truth and his evidence played a vital role in Balotelli being charged by the FA for violent conduct.
Webb gave evidence to the FA claiming not to have seen the incident which saw Parker receive a stamp on the head, but Raiola believes that the referee is attempting to cover up his mistake. He feels that Webb has buckled under the pressure of the intense media scrutiny surrounding the incident and also the words of Spurs boss Harry Redknapp.
Raiola is quoted in The Guardian as saying, “He has proved himself a coward. He saw everything from a metre away then he declared he didn’t see anything when the press and Redknapp pushed him.”
There is a feeling at the Etihad Stadium that though Raiola’s comments are outspoken, keeping with his reputation, they do have some foundation.
Manchester City assistant David Platt shared the sentiment by saying, “I have seen it from an angle [on television] that is good enough to make me think the referee saw it live,” Platt went on to continue that, “It’s just my opinion and we’re all allowed our opinions. It’s my opinion that Howard saw the incident.”
The video evidence does seem to show that Webb did not see the initial coming together of the players but did turn his head in time to see Balotelli falling to the ground and Parker writhing around in agony. Does this amount to seeing the incident? If the referee would have admitted to seeing what took place than the Man City forward may not have been charged by the FA. With the title race so close, decisions like this may have a huge bearing on its destination.
This is only the latest bust up that Mario Balotelli has been involved in since his £24million move from Inter Milan in 2010. He is the most colour character the Premier League has seen in many years after being involved in one controversy after the other. The eccentric Italian has become a cult hero among Manchester City fans for his great ability and also his unpredictable behaviour.
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