Tag Archives: tempers

Eden Hazard ball boy kick charge shows the FA as hypocrites – Martin Samuel

A booking for one but a charge for the other. — so less than a year ago — Oxford United played at home to Swindon Town in League Two. This is the biggest match of Oxford’s season, for those not up on lower-league rivalries or the geography of middle England. The A420 derby might not enjoy the same prestige as its equivalents in Manchester or Liverpool, but if you have a season ticket at the Kassam Stadium, it’s the big one. There was a crowd of almost 12,000 and tempers ran high.

Oxford had James Constable sent off early, but were leading through goals by Asa Hall and Oli Johnson, when Matt Ritchie, a right winger voted League Two Player of the Year last season, became involved with a slow-moving ball boy, identified as Aidan Hawtin, 16 at the time, and on Oxford’s books as a youth player.

A report from Mark Edwards, sports editor of the Oxford Mail, and published on March 5, explains what happened next: ‘Acting as a ball boy in front of the Oxford Mail stand, Hawtin was grabbed and kicked by Matt Ritchie after the Swindon man felt Hawtin was taking too long to return the ball to goalkeeper Ryan Clarke. “He tried to grab the ball off me and kicked me as well,” Hawtin said. The Oxford Mail stand gave him a huge ovation for his efforts, which saw Ritchie booked for his antics. The Swindon man did apologise to Hawtin at the final whistle, however.’ Sound familiar

Long spell on the sidelines The FA's independent regulatory commission could increase Hazard's three-match ban

Long spell on the sidelines The FA's independent regulatory commission could extend Hazard's ban

A Facebook group catchily named ‘Matt Ritchie is a disgrace’ claimed that Hawtin was ‘grabbed round the throat and pushed’ and there was talk of a complaint to the police. Believing that the punishment should be greater, Myles Francis, an angry Oxford fan, wrote to the FA asking what action would be taken against Ritchie.

Knowing what we know of the FA’s take on Hazard, Ritchie’s yellow card would also have been deemed insufficient, one imagines. The FA made a direct link in their statement between Hazard’s actions and the offence of violent conduct and, coincidentally, that was among the points raised by Francis in his letter.

He wrote: ‘I would be interested to know for what offence Ritchie was cautioned by Mr Salisbury. To my mind, the altercation with the ball boy was a clear case of violent conduct. Violent conduct is defined in Law 12 as “using excessive force or brutality against a team-mate, spectator, match official or any other person”. Law 12 goes on to say that a player guilty of an offence of violent conduct must be sent off [my emphasis].’

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And this was the FA response. ‘Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. The FA have investigated and liaised with Oxford United on this matter. The player was cautioned by the referee for the incident and has subsequently apologised to the satisfaction of the ball boy and Oxford United.’ So much for the hard line.

Faced with near identical transgressions — in both cases the referee saw the incident and administered the punishment he believed fit, in both cases the player apologised and in both there is evidence to suggest that the ball boy was carrying out his duty to the benefit of the home team only — the FA behaved in contradictory ways.

They are now rigorously pursuing Hazard, having completely ignored Ritchie. The letter announcing that no further action would be taken against the Swindon player came from Gary Stonehouse, who is a member of the FA communications team. He signed off on behalf of customer relations.

‘Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you: he really is an idiot,’ President Firefly tells Freedonia’s Cabinet.

But this is not true in Stonehouse’s case. Stonehouse is not to blame for the inconsistency. He is a lowly employee who would no doubt have taken guidance from his superiors over Ritchie. The communications department do not get to make judgment calls on serious disciplinary matters.

Stonehouse would have asked a suitable senior, or the correct department, and would then have mouthed that response. He could not have imagined, either, that within a calendar year those superiors would hang him out to dry by adopting an entirely contradictory stance — just because Hazard’s transgression attracted headlines and Ritchie’s went unnoticed beyond that day’s crowd of 11,825.

Not exactly a kickabout in the park though, was it Not exactly a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing.

Anyway, considering some of the punishments meted out to amateur footballers playing in front of the proverbial two men and a dog, it would be highly disingenuous of the FA to claim that a kick is less of a kick if only 11,000 people see it. Such a stance would be indefensibly hypocritical. Stonehouse’s reply was also the standard FA fudge, hiding behind the dubious excuse that because the referee saw the incident and ruled on it, no further action would be appropriate.

Funny how that does not apply in Hazard’s case.

When Roy Keane almost snapped Alf Inge Haaland in two during the Manchester derby, a foul that still looms large in the memory such was its studied viciousness, there could be no additional action against the Manchester United player because referee David Elleray brandished a red card. In Hazard’s case, this no longer applies. More confusion, more inconsistency, more regulation on the hoof.

No extended ban: Roy Keane was sent off for this appalling tackle on Alf Inge Haaland

No extended ban: Roy Keane was sent off for this appalling tackle on Alf Inge Haaland

It wasn’t so long ago that the FA self-servingly appealed a lengthy UEFA ban for violent conduct because it would free up Wayne Rooney to play in the European Championship finals. Now they want to come over all masterful, the guardians of morality. They should pick a face, and wear it.

Chelsea are aware of the Ritchie precedent and may use it in defence of Hazard. At the very least, they believe its existence is an embarrassment and a point of weakness for the FA. Yet has that bothered them in the past

This is an organisation who speak proudly, some might say shamelessly, of their high conviction rate in disciplinary matters, having devised a system in which the prosecution appoints the independent judges and is therefore responsible for covering their time and expenses. Such a system creates an obvious conflict of interest.

On disciplinary matters, the FA act like the Mounties, always getting their man. But that is not so hard when the same body get to play judge and jury, and write the rulebook.

Their problem is that we now live in an age where even the smallest details exist in the public domain and a two-minute internet search can throw up records, precedents and case histories that were once filed and helpfully forgotten. You have got to be good to preside over sport these days because an Oxford fan with time on his hands and a computer can post damning correspondence on a forum that is picked up and circulated like wildfire.

At which point, a body as morally flexible as the FA are likely to be asked how their populist posturing over Hazard can be justified when less than a year ago, an identical incident was deemed worthy of no more than a yellow card, an apology and a handshake.

President Firefly would certainly know how to administer justice in these circumstances. ‘I got a good mind to join a club — and beat you over the head with it.’

VIDEO: How to be a leader… Groucho Marx style

Veron proves Fergie is not always right

Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United, regards some of those criticising his goalkeeper David de Gea as idiots. He is entitled to his opinion. It is not as if anyone is going to score many points disputing the merit of professional footballers with the greatest manager in the world.

One cannot help but recall, though, that the last time he used this phrase was over criticism of Juan Sebastian Veron’s performances for United. Remind us what happened there again

Expensive mistake: Juan Sebastian Veron cost Manchester United 28m - he was sold to Chelsea for 15m

Expensive mistake: Juan Sebastian Veron cost Manchester United 28m – he was sold to Chelsea for 15m

And while we’re at it…

It was a wonderful weekend in the FA Cup. Luton Town’s victory is among the greatest upsets of the modern era, while the results for Oldham Athletic, Milton Keynes Dons, Leeds United and Brentford were stunning achievements. Arsenal also defeated Brighton and Hove Albion in a five-goal thriller.

Yet live on ITV on Saturday, Stoke City played Manchester City and Fulham travelled to Manchester United. The richer teams won. Ho, and indeed, hum.

No imagination, some people, when it comes to Cup football. If City had drawn United then, yes, show a glorified Premier League game. But these were not even particularly good replica league fixtures. They would not have been the marquee match on any casual Saturday.

When United went a goal up after three minutes through Ryan Giggs, their tie with Fulham was dead and Stoke’s defeat was eminently forgettable. Some think the Cup has lost its magic, yet the earliest stages of the competition rarely fail to delight. It is football’s television masters that have grown stale.

The magic of the Cup: Luton's stunning victory at Carrow Road was one of the great giant-killings

The magic of the Cup: Luton's stunning victory at Carrow Road was one of the great giant-killings

Dual role: Sky pundit and England coach Gary Neville

Dual role: Sky pundit and England coach Gary Neville

Crunch time to come for Neville

Few pundits have a higher approval rating than Gary Neville. Fans who thought they would hate him on Sky love him instead for his honest, straight-shooting appraisals. Falling out with Sir Alex Ferguson over David de Gea will only enhance his reputation. Richard Keys could not have picked a worse week to suggest Neville was being operated, remotely, from inside Old Trafford.

Keys did make one valid point, though. Crunch time for Neville, Sky and the Football Association is yet to come. Last weekend, Neville stated quite explicitly that Tottenham Hotspur player Clint Dempsey should have gone down under pressure from a Patrice Evra challenge in the penalty area, rather than staying on his feet. As Roy Hodgson’s England regime remains inexplicably on honeymoon, the comment was ignored.

There will come a time, however, when results are not good and some are looking to make mischief for Hodgson. At which point ENGLAND COACH TELLS PLAYERS TO CHEAT would be quite a lively story. Under pressure.

That is when Neville’s hope of riding both horses to the finish line will be tested, not before.

Jonathan Trott"s sportsmanship has been questioned by Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin

Ashwin's anger: Spinner questions Trott's sportsmanship

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UPDATED:

03:42 GMT, 17 December 2012

Tempers spilled over in Nagpur yesterday when Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin questioned Jonathan Trott’s sportsmanship as England closed in on an historic series win.

Trott had taken advantage of a delivery from slow left-armer Ravindra Jadeja that slipped out of the bowler’s hand and bounced several times away on an adjacent strip.

Anger: Indian spinner Ravi Ashwin (pictured) was angered by Jonathan Trott hitting a ball that slipped out of Ravindra Jadeja's hand for four

Anger: Indian spinner Ravi Ashwin (pictured) was angered by Jonathan Trott hitting a ball that slipped out of Ravindra Jadeja's hand for four

The batsman took a few steps to his left and whacked the ball for four, as he was in his rights to do.

But after tea India were incensed when they thought they had Trott caught behind on 43 — although the Snickometer revealed no edge — and Ashwin later became involved in a heated exchange with the England No 3 after warning him for backing up too far.

‘It was just about the shot with the rolling ball he got away with,’ said Ashwin. ‘When you talk about gamesmanship, we think you should hold yourself to the standards you expect from the opposition.’

India have not forgotten an incident during the first Test at Ahmedabad, when Trott clearly grassed a slip catch which was then referred to the TV umpire — although he made it clear at the time he was unsure whether the ball had bounced.

And India were furious yesterday when Ishant Sharma went up for a caught behind as Trott played an uncharacteristically loose cut shot.

Umpire Kumar Dharmasena correctly ruled not out, which was the cue for uproar, as Sharma and Virat Kohli gave Trott — who appeared to blow them a kiss — the benefit of their advice, and India captain MS Dhoni had to be spoken to by the officials.

Then 10 overs later, Ashwin pulled up in his delivery stride to warn Trott he had strayed too far from his crease. ‘I said I could run him out if he could hit that ball,’ said Ashwin, a reference to the Jadeja incident.

Gamesmanship: Trott (pictured) is 66 not out as England head towards an historic series win

Gamesmanship: Trott (pictured) is 66 not out as England head towards an historic series win

‘He said you might as well run me out. But I said I wouldn’t. We’ve got him out enough times to get him out again.’

England fast bowler Jimmy Anderson last night defended his team-mate, saying: ‘I’d do the same if I was batting.

‘I think I saw Dhoni laughing about it at one stage, so I don’t think that was the catalyst for what happened later. But when you’re in the middle of a crucial Test, things are going to get heated from time to time.

‘There are two teams wanting to win a game of cricket, and the series is on the line. So things inevitably do boil over.’

We
are unable to carry live pictures from the fourth Test in Nagpur due to a
dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and
international news organisations.

The
BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies
Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Bastia v Lille suspended after linesman hit on head by stone thrown from crowd

French cup match suspended after linesman hit on head by object thrown from the crowd

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UPDATED:

22:52 GMT, 28 November 2012

Lille reached the semi-finals of the French League Cup with a 3-0 win over Bastia on Wednesday but the match had to be suspended for 15 minutes in the first half after an assistant referee was hit by a missile thrown from the crowd.

The players were taken off the pitch with Lille leading 1-0 six minutes before the break as the official received attention. He was unhurt and continued in his role. The object that hit the official was said to be a stone.

Hurt: The assistant referee (second right) leaves the pitch after being hit by an object thrown by supporters

Hurt: The assistant referee (second right) leaves the pitch after being hit by an object thrown by supporters

Soldiering on: The official needed attention but continued at the Armand Cesari Stadium in Corsica

Soldiering on: The official needed attention but continued at the Armand Cesari Stadium in Corsica

Gianni Bruno opened the scoring for Lille in the 10th minute, firing home after defender Maka Mary had failed to clear, and the visitors doubled their lead thanks to another mistake on 62 minutes.

Bastia goalkeeper Landry Bonnefoi misjudged a deep Marvin Martin ball, leaving Ronny Rodelin free to score into an empty net.

Pleading: Bastia coach Frederic Hantz attempts to calm his club's supporters down as the game is stopped

Pleading: Bastia coach Frederic Hantz attempts to calm his club's supporters down as the game is stopped

Pleading: Bastia coach Frederic Hantz attempts to calm his club's supporters down as the game is stopped

Djibril Sidibe wrapped it up four minutes before full-time.

Substitute Jonathan Tinhan scored a late winner as Montpellier also reached the last four with a thrilling 3-2 home victory over Nice.

Saint-Etienne qualified for the last four on Tuesday after beating Paris St Germain on penalties.
Stade Rennes host Troyes on Thursday when the draw for the semi-finals will be made.

Tempers fray: The referee stops the match as Bastia's supporters throw objects onto the pitch

Tempers fray: The referee stops the match as Bastia's supporters throw objects onto the pitch

Making a splash: Lille forward Bruno Gianni celebrates after scoring against Bastia

Making a splash: Lille forward Bruno Gianni celebrates after scoring against Bastia

36 players sent off in Paraguay junior football brawl

We may be short of players next week… 36 sent off in Paraguay brawl which had officials fleeing in fear

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UPDATED:

11:05 GMT, 24 October 2012

Sometimes as a referee, keeping players apart when tempers flare on the football pitch just isn't worth the hassle.

That's what Paraguayan official Nestor Guillen thought as he fled the field in fear when the entire Teniente Farina and Libertad squads started brawling.

As the match in Paraguay's junior leagues neared its conclusion, Guillen sent off a player from each side.

But they refused to leave the field and, within seconds, all hell had broke loose with a 36-man tear-up raging.

Scroll down to watch the video

Getting stuck in: Players from the two Paraguayan junior sides clash on the pitch

Getting stuck in: Players from the two Paraguayan junior sides clash on the pitch

Flying kick! The game descended into chaos after the referee sent off two players, who refused to leave the field

Flying kick! The game descended into chaos after the referee sent off two players, who refused to leave the field

Push and shove: All 36 players in the two squads were shown a red card by the referee, who had fled to the changing rooms

Push and shove: All 36 players in the two squads were shown a red card by the referee, who had fled to the changing rooms

Instead of hanging around to quell the trouble, Guillen and his assistants ran for the safety of the dressing room.

Unfortunately, since they hadn't watched the fight, the referee had no choice but to dismiss all 36 players involved.

Both club presidents criticised the official's cowardice having been left with no players for their next fixture.

Hernan Martinez, president of home club Teniente, said: 'The referees didn't even stay on the field. As soon as the fighting broke out they went to the dressing room.

'They ran through the tunnel to their dressing room. They weren't able to see anything that happened. But, in the report, to more or less wash their hands of the responsibility, they expelled all 36 players.'

Libertad chief Sixto Nunez agreed: 'The referee needed to take better care of the boys. He should have made sure the two dismissed players were completely off the field.

'Instead, the officials left the field and when the players were all leaving together that's when the fighting started again.'

Watch the video here

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Aston Villa fans take out Birmingham Mail advert in Alex McLeish protest

EXCLUSIVE: Aston Villa fans take out ad in protest against furious McLeish

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UPDATED:

23:37 GMT, 4 May 2012

Aston Villa supporters have cranked up the pressure on Alex McLeish by taking out an advert in a local paper and calling for him to be sacked.

One of the fans' websites has held an online whipround and stumped up 700 to book space on the back of Saturday's Birmingham Mail.

Under pressure: McLeish is feeling the heat from Aston Villa's fans

Under pressure: McLeish is feeling the heat from Aston Villa's fans

Details of the advert were being put together on Friday night by the paper's staff but under the heading 'We told you so', fans have made public their disquiet.

Although the newspaper and club enjoy a close relationship, editors had little choice but to allow the advertisement, placed by myoldmansaid.com, as it is not offensive.

Scroll down for video
Tempers flare: Video footage shows Chris Herd (white shirt) being held back while James Collins stands in the background

Tempers flare: Video footage shows Chris Herd (white shirt) being held back while James Collins stands in the background

Herd then moves back while Fabian Delph (foreground) tries to calm the situation down

Herd then moves back while Fabian Delph (foreground) tries to calm the situation down

It is just the latest in a series of
incidents to have befallen the club owned by American billionaire Randy
Lerner, who threw his full weight behind the sanctions imposed by
McLeish in light of Sportsmail's revelations that three of the club's players had gone drinking after an awards evening.

The trio – James Collins, Chris Herd and Fabian Delph – had been embroiled in unsavoury scenes outside a nightclub.

Drama: James Collins (below left) and Chris Herd (above) were involved in a stand-off with members of the club's staff, while team-mate Fabian Delph is said to have acted as peacemaker in the incident

Drama: James Collins (below left) and Chris Herd (above) were involved in a stand-off with members of the club's staff, while team-mate Fabian Delph is said to have acted as peacemaker in the incident

Drama: James Collins (right) and Chris Herd (left) were involved in a stand-off with members of the club's staff, while team-mate Fabien Delph is said to have acted as peacemaker in the incident

Drama: James Collins (right) and Chris Herd (left) were involved in a stand-off with members of the club's staff, while team-mate Fabien Delph is said to have acted as peacemaker in the incident

McLeish, who has fined them, said: 'We won't tolerate that kind of behaviour – rules have been broken.

'It's
an embarrassment. A slur on the club. I feel for Randy Lerner and for
the fans of Aston Villa FC. 'It reflects on the lack of respect they
have for their profession. I'm not going to tolerate it.'

McLeish added: 'Maybe they thought we wouldn't do anything about it. But we have.

'Considering
what we are fighting for, I'm all the more baffled. We just don't need
this now. 'I hope it's an isolated incident. But clearly it's (a
drinking culture) still out there.'

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SORRY ISN'T THE HARDEST WORD

JAMES COLLINS APOLOGY

'I'm sorry for what has happened and I take responsibility for my actions.

'It does not show me in a very good light and does not put the club in a very good light.

'I know I should not have been out in
a club with my wife after the end-of-season dinner at that time in the
morning and I was wrong to be in that position.

'It was a misunderstanding and was resolved quickly but I understand how it looks and I apologise for that.

'As a senior, experienced player, I understand I am in a position of responsibility.

'I let myself get into a position in which I didn't act responsibly and I apologise for this.

'It was Monday night, it was early in the week, six days before we next play and I didn't have training the next day.

'But I know I've let myself down,
I've let the club down, I've let the manager down and most of all I've
let down the fans of Aston Villa who have been great to me.

'We have a very important game of
football on Sunday at Villa Park against Tottenham and I'm looking
forward to giving my full commitment, as always, and securing three
points.'

CHRIS HERD APOLOGY

'I would like to apologise for what
happened on Monday night and I apologise for being out at that time. We
had gone to a club after the end-of-season dinner with girlfriends and
wives accompanying us.

'It was no one's intention to get involved in any trouble but I realise that my actions on the night were not acceptable.

'Even if I felt at the time that the
prior situation inside the nightclub had not been dealt with properly, I
still should not have acted in the manner in which I did. I'm sorry to
the fans and I'll do everything I can to make it up to them as they have
been fantastic since I've come into the team.

'I would also like to apologise to
the club and my immediate aim is to help the team to finish the season
strongly and to secure our position in the Premier League.'

FABIAN DELPH APOLOGY

'I'm sorry for being out on Monday
night, the early hours of Tuesday morning and I apologise to the club,
the fans, the chairman, the manager and my colleagues.

'I am injured, I won't be fit again until pre-season and I probably thought that going out would not carry any consequences.

'I was sober, I was in control of my actions and I did try to calm down the situation. I didn't hit out or strike anyone but I should not have been there and I was wrong to be in this position.'

Ted Hanky beats Clive Barden at Frimley Green

Tempers flare as former champ Hankey edges past debutant Barden at Frimley Green

Former champion Ted Hankey moved into the last 16 of the BDO World Championship with a 3-2 win over debutant Clive Barden.

In a heated encounter, Hankey led 2-0 but was pegged back by his inexperienced opponent. However, 'The Count' held his nerve to see out the win by taking an exciting fifth set.

Bullseye: Ted Hankey edged through into the round of 16

Bullseye: Ted Hankey edged through into the round of 16

Scott Waites, the joint favourite at Lakeside, saw off Andy Boulton 3-1 after a brilliant start was curtailed by Boulton's spirited fightback.

Christian Kist upset sixth seed Jan Dekker with a 3-2 win this afternoon, beating his fellow Dutchman in 48 minutes to secure his place in the next round.

Willy van de Wiel, meanwhile, was ruthless in his 3-0 win over Dave Prins while there were also wins for Martin Atkins, Paul Jennings and Wesley Harms.