Tag Archives: thuggery

Marouane Fellaini headbutt on Ryan Shawcross will cost him three games

Fellaini to dodge longer ban despite numerous clashes with Shawcross

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UPDATED:

00:50 GMT, 17 December 2012

NOW READ MARTIN SAMUEL…

OK, Fellaini was wrong but let’s get to grips with the real problem

Marouane Fellaini will escape with a three-match ban despite headbutting Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross during their running battle at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

Referee Mark Halsey and his assistants missed the incident at a corner in the 59th minute, as well as several others involving the two players during the 1-1 draw.

In two separate clashes between the pair later the Everton midfielder appeared to elbow Shawcross in the face and then swipe at him with his right hand.

Heads, you lose: Fellaini should be banned, according to his manager David Moyes

Heads, you lose: Fellaini should be banned, according to his manager David Moyes

Heads, you lose: Marouane Fellaini should be banned, according to his manager David Moyes, after he appeared to headbutt Ryan Shawcross

But the FA will concentrate on the
headbutt, basing their punishment on what would have happened if Halsey
had spotted the incident and shown a red card rather than the severity
of the offence.

The FA will be free to act when
Halsey’s report arrives today and they are almost certain to charge
Fellaini retrospectively with violent conduct and ban him for three
games.

They seem certain to ignore the later clashes, at least one of which could also have resulted in a red card.

The Belgium star is also facing a
club fine of two weeks’ wages — up to 150,000 — from furious Everton
manager David Moyes who was said to be incandescent in the visitors’
dressing-room after Fellaini was clearly caught on camera thrusting his
head into Shawcross’s face.

Moyes is known to despise such acts
of thuggery and feels let down by one of his most important players who
is now likely to miss the Christmas fixtures against West Ham, Wigan and
Chelsea.

To his credit, after the match the
Scot immediately admitted that Fellaini deserves the punishment coming
his way, describing the headbutt as ‘a terrible thing to do’.

On Sunday night the 25-year-old was
said to be distraught he had let his team-mates down and that his
actions could harm their chances of staying in the top four.

He was the first Everton player off the pitch and later issued a public apology.

Grounded: Shawcross was left in a heap clutching his face after the clash

Grounded: Shawcross was left in a heap clutching his face after the clash

‘I apologise completely to Ryan
Shawcross, my team-mates and to our fans at the game,’ said Fellaini. ‘I
lost my temper and it was unprofessional.’

Everton’s only issue is that they
feel Shawcross was allowed to get away with holding their player at
set-pieces, even though Fellaini was penalised by Lee Probert for a
similar offence at Manchester City against Edin Dzeko two weeks ago.

Fellaini said: ‘There was a lot of
pushing and pulling going on inside the Stoke penalty area and I didn’t
feel I was getting any protection from the officials.

‘Nevertheless I know I shouldn’t have
done what I did. I have also apologised to the manager and the staff — I
have no excuses.’

Shawcross’s team-mates praised him for not retaliating.

Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic was
particularly outraged by what he had seen and was booked by Halsey when
he complained furiously to the referee.

Retrospective action: Fellaini could face an FA charge after this incident

Retrospective action: Fellaini could face an FA charge after this incident

‘I was a little bit unhappy with what
was going on, and the holding and the shirt pulling and everything
else that wasn’t really being dealt with,’ said Begovic.

‘Ryan’s got good composure. Sometimes
it’s easy to retaliate but then he would have only hurt himself. He
did really well to control himself.

‘Fellaini is a great player but it’s
just an unfortunate thing and I’m sure it will be dealt with properly.
People know they have to come here and compete with us, and sometimes
they can go a little bit overboard.’

Stoke defender Andy Wilkinson was
punished retrospectively with a three-game ban in September when he was
found guilty of violent conduct towards Manchester City striker Mario
Balotelli.

He said: ‘I thought Ryan dealt with
it really well. If it was out of order then you hold your hands up and
take your punishment. It happened to me this season.’

Shawcross was at the centre of everything in this typically hard-fought game between these two teams.

He headed into his own goal to give
Everton the lead and then supplied the pass for Kenwyne Jones to
equalise and preserve Stoke’s 15-game unbeaten home run.

Euro 2012: Ukraine chief blasts Sol Campbell

Ukraine football chief blasts Campbell for 'back in a box' claim

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UPDATED:

15:54 GMT, 30 June 2012

The organisers of Euro 2012 have hit
back at the BBC's pre-tournament claims of fans being at danger of
racist thuggery in Poland and Ukraine this summer.

When shown footage of trouble that
flared up in the two countries, former England star Sol Campbell even
suggested supporters were at risk of 'coming back in a box'.

As it has turned out, there has been little trouble throughout the entire competition.

No joke: England fans make their point to Sol Campbell

No joke: England fans make their point to Sol Campbell

There were problems around Poland's group game with Russia, although that match had historical issues attached to it.

Indeed, the instances of racism were created by travelling fans, with Croatia, Spain and Russia all fined for the behaviour of their supporters.

It offered Ukraine football federation president Grygoriy Surkis the perfect platform from which to launch his counter-offensive.

'The best reply to the BBC and Sol Campbell, who declared that there was racism in Ukraine and maybe fans wouldn't go back to England was, I think, English fans who actually took the coffin out prior to the match in Donetsk,' said Surkis.

Hitting back: Ukrainian soccer chief Grygoriy Surkis hit back at racism jibes

Hitting back: Ukrainian soccer chief Grygoriy Surkis hit back at racism jibes

'What impresses me is that a person who has never been to Ukraine can give such commentary about the country.

'Yes, it is true, as an independent country Ukraine is only 20 years old.

'But it has made a huge contribution on infrastructure and made everything possible to be a reliable partner to UEFA for this tournament.'

A group of England fans paraded a mock coffin prior to the final pool match in Ukraine to show what they thought of Campbell's comments.

With no arrests amongst their travelling support, it has been one of the most peaceful tournaments for years.

Not my problem: Michel Platini won't get involved in disciplinary matters

Not my problem: Michel Platini won't get involved in disciplinary matters

Yet Michel Platini's comments about UEFA doing everything in their power to get rid of racism do not quite ring true with the fact that fines handed out for those incidents within stadiums were lower than the 80,000 fine handed out to Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner for ambush marketing when he lowered his shorts to reveal a Paddy Power logo following his goal against Portugal.

'You should ask the UEFA disciplinary committee,' said the UEFA president this lunchtime.

'Because they are an independent body and took their decision I shouldn't get involved.

'I might agree, I might not but I'm the UEFA president.

'I can do a lot at UEFA but I'm not going to interfere in the decision and that's it.'

David Haye v Dereck Chisora: Neither should be allowed to fight – Jeff Powell

Haye and Chisora dragged boxing into the gutter in Munich, so why should they get the chance to cash in on their thuggery

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UPDATED:

00:13 GMT, 9 May 2012

The descent of superman has hit rock bottom. David Haye’s fall from world heavyweight champion to football hooligan was confirmed by the erection of a metal terrace railing between himself and fellow brawler Dereck Chisora on the Upton Park football pitch.

It kept the animals apart until a boxing ring is constructed at West Ham’s ground on July 14.

Haye and Chisora have sunk from competing for esteemed world titles to fighting for nothing. Nothing, that is, except money.

Warring factions: A steel fence keeps the David Haye camp (left) apart from Dereck Chisora and his team at a tense Upton Park on Tuesday

Warring factions: A steel fence keeps the David Haye camp (left) apart from Dereck Chisora and his team at a tense Upton Park on Tuesday

Haye, who proclaimed he would only come back out of retirement if he could seek redemption against one of the Klitschko brothers, hereby reveals his true motivation.

WHY LUXEMBOURGNeither David Haye nor Dereck Chisora holds a licence with the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) but the Luxembourg Boxing Federation (FLB) have provided licences instead. The European Union’s free trade laws allow the bout to be held in Britain.The FLB was founded in 1922, seven years before the BBBC. There are nine people on their committee and the headquarters is in Niederkorn. They preside over just 46 boxers — hardly a European boxing powerhouse.

Clearly, he is receiving a far heftier cheque than he might have collected if he could have lured Vitali Klitschko into the ring. Never mind honour, glory and world titles, let’s have a freak show.

The British Boxing Board of Control, who revoked Chisora’s licence following his and Haye’s thuggery in Munich, want no part of this so-called grudge match.

So the pair of them will exchange blows as puppets of a Mickey Mouse state in Europe.

The first time many of the older among us became aware of the Grand Duchy under whose aegis this monstrosity will take place was when we tuned in to Radio Luxembourg, the first pirate station to hit our airwaves.

But Luxembourg has a boxing federation and under EU regulations they can sanction a fight here, even one of which the British board vehemently disapprove.

Promoter Frank Warren is legally entitled to exploit that situation and his priority is to secure the financial future of his new BoxNation television channel, which is certain to harvest hundreds of thousands of 10-a-month subscribers because of this fight. The credibility of boxing, already seriously damaged by the disgraceful scenes in Germany, is another matter.

Have no doubt that millions will tune in to watch Chisora and Haye settle their violent dispute with gloves on.

What must worry all who love the sport is the undermining of authority and the example that will set to youngsters, a new generation of fighters included.

Out of retirement: Haye will get back in the ring having quit the sport to fight Chisora

Out of retirement: Haye will get back in the ring having quit the sport to fight Chisora

Boxing is under enough pressure, not least from the abolitionists, without the hard old game being exposed as unable to enforce discipline.

The ease with which Warren has been able to circumvent Chisora’s punishment — and the suspension time apparently awaiting Haye had he asked the British board to renew his lapsed licence — casts a shadow across the entire sport. It brings boxing close to anarchy.

The only consolation is that Warren has not resorted to an unlicensed show, like those in north London with which he had to fight his way into boxing before becoming Britain’s leading promoter.

Brawl: Derek Chisora had his boxing license withdrawn following the fight in the Munich press conference

Brawl: Derek Chisora had his boxing license withdrawn following the fight in the Munich press conference

However, he has exposed the difficulty of controlling his sport.

The WBC announced in the aftermath of Munich that they would not sanction Haye to fight the elder Klitschko for their world title — but whether they could have kept that promise under legal duress is questionable.

It has also proved impossible to co-ordinate unified action by the various national bodies around the world. Presumably, the Luxembourg federation are bank-rolling themselves in return for hoisting their flag of convenience over Upton Park.

In the short term the punters will be excited by the gratuitous violence which Haye and Chisora are threatening to inflict on each other on July 14.

The fight is on: Haye and Chisora will fight at Upton Park on July 14

The fight is on: Haye and Chisora will fight at Upton Park on July 14

On that dark night, the crowd will not be pondering comparisons between this tawdry spectacle in the East End and the filling of London with the Olympic spirit less than a fortnight later.

Ban these thugs

It will not be so easy that night to separate the West Ham United fans from their bitter rivals from Millwall, who Haye supports.

Deeply as Haye and Chisora despise each other, the most vicious fights may very well take place in the stands.

Projections of a 42,000 crowd raise the spectre of an occasion even uglier than this ill-conceived fight itself.

Munich madness: Chisora and Haye clash in Germany

Munich madness: Chisora and Haye clash in Germany

Boxing will be left to pick up the pieces while the public reflect on whether this pair of bruisers should be richly rewarded for behaving like rats in a gutter.

Haye’s speed and superior skills should ease him to victory over Chisora’s power and guts.

But even if they put up a great fight there is unlikely to be much of a future for either of them thereafter.

Not without a licence to brawl in their own country.

Footballs artists must be protected – Patrick Collins

Football’s artists must be protected from the Neanderthal tendency

When the old pros get together, they speak lovingly of the hard men. Tommy Smith, Norman Hunter, Ron 'Chopper' Harris; the mere sight of their names on a team sheet would send faint-hearted souls rushing to the treatment table. Happy days. As the old boys will tell you, they don't make them like that any more.

And there is a good reason for that: you see, the game has become more civilised, more protective of its artists. It prizes craft above belligerence, creation above intimidation. Not that the ancients see it that way.

Early bath: Kompany was dismissed for this challenge on United winger Nani

Early bath: Kompany was dismissed for this challenge on United winger Nani

For sport has a curious effect upon its former players; they become more stridently macho with every year that passes. Rugby men, long retired, will revel in rheumy-eyed reminiscences of noses bloodied and scores settled and all manner of muscular mayhem. They might have been playing for England or turning out for Old Tosspottians Extra Thirds; no matter. It is the manly violence they remember most fondly.

Similarly the cricketers, especially those who played in the days before helmets. With no restriction on short-pitched bowling, a batsman would take his life in his hands if he decided to play the hook shot. It was what the late, and all too frequently quoted, Fred Trueman would call 'proper cricket'.

Guilty: Kompany failed in his appeal and will serve a four-match ban

Guilty: Kompany failed in his appeal and will serve a four-match ban

Now, I would contend that cricket is a far better game since it started to safeguard vulnerable skulls. And while rugby has become inevitably more hazardous as its players have grown bigger, stronger and faster, it is no longer cursed by compliant referees, turning blind eyes to rampant thuggery.

But it is football's Neanderthals who currently concern us because they have been particularly vocal these past few days. They rarely deviate from the depressing script:

Concern: Football's Neanderthals have been sticking to the depressing script

Concern: Football's Neanderthals have been sticking to the depressing script

'Nobody's allowed to tackle any more … it's become a noncontact sport … we wouldn't have lasted five minutes under these rules … the game's gone'.

A couple of two-footed tackles brought them blinking into the daylight, the first by Manchester City's Vincent Kompany on Nani, of Manchester United, in the FA Cup, the second by Liverpool's Glen Johnson on City's Joleon Lescott in the Carling Cup.

Kompany was sent off by the referee Chris Foy, while Johnson was exonerated by Lee Mason. Each incident received the kind of forensic examination once reserved for an assassination attempt on a head of state.

Two-footed: Johnson escaped without even a caution for this tackle on Lescott

Two-footed: Johnson escaped without even a caution for this tackle on Lescott

Kompany, who was suffering his second expulsion of the season, warned of 'an unprecedented wave of red cards' if his tackle was considered illegal, while various erudite panels declared the decision 'harsh'.

The Johnson incident saw the respective managers acting in character: Roberto Mancini erupted at the perceived injustice, while Kenny Dalglish announced that he hadn't seen a thing. He may have been joking, of course. He enjoys a joke, does Kenny.

More from Patrick Collins…

Patrick Collins: The moment the ugliness of racism returned to Anfield
07/01/12

Patrick Collins: Two defeats and the mob are baying for Ferguson's blood
07/01/12

Patrick Collins: Kenny Dalglish needs a few home truths… not more flattery
31/12/11

Patrick Collins: A little less Crouch and a lot more Messi should be our goal
17/12/11

Patrick Collins: Wenger relieved as star guest finds the perfect gift for Arsenal's birthday bash
10/12/11

Patrick Collins: How can the FA talk of Respect when they’re happy to defend such thuggery
10/12/11

Patrick Collins: Why does football waste 209m on such chancers
03/12/11

Patrick Collins: The truth hurts… that's why Johnson is so angry
26/11/11

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

A personal view – one reached after the luxury of endless replays and serene contemplation – was that both players had deserved dismissal. Kompany's challenge was reckless. The fact that he did not make damaging contact owed everything to providence and little to the City captain. Johnson's lunge looked a good deal worse, the kind of frantic, studs-up assault which could have written off Lescott's season. A red card was the only appropriate punishment.

Of course, such a view will find no favour with the old guard. Why, just last week I heard one pundit announce that the referee's first duty is to ensure that all the players stay on the field. Under this extraordinary code, players need accept no responsibility for their actions, while officials would be considered culpable for any red-card offence. That way madness lies.

In truth, we shouldn't worry too much about that notional 'wave of red cards'. If players knew that severe punishment was automatic, then their cruder excesses would disappear within weeks. And those cards should be regularly flaunted, not just for violent tackles but for other, more insidious, offences.

I believe the public would support instant dismissals for dissent or diving or waving phantom cards in an effort to get opponents expelled. (I would also send off anybody who ostentatiously kissed the club badge, but I doubt we could carry the FA with us on this one).

But the most urgent outrage is the two-footed tackle and there are encouraging signs that certain managers are becoming concerned by the danger it poses.

Roberto Martinez, of Wigan, says: 'I do believe that we need to protect the players that we all love and are excited to watch … we want to see all those challenges being red-carded.'

Such a view will win no friends among the admirers of Smith or Norman or dear old Chopper but the game is moving on. And for that, we should all be grateful.

Ali at 70, still much more than simply the greatest

Muhammad Ali's Wikipedia entry describes him as: 'An American former professional boxer, philanthropist and social activist.' All true, of course. Just as Mozart could knock out a decent tune, while Michelangelo was a handy chap with a chisel.

Ali's stature transcends easy labels. We may say that he was the most remarkable sportsperson who ever lived, that his opposition to the Vietnam war helped shape that anguished debate, that his support for civil rights influenced a generation. And still we have not scratched the surface.

Legend of the ring: Ali turns 70 next week

Legend of the ring: Ali turns 70 next week

Better, perhaps, to stay with sport, where he was best loved and most avidly appreciated.

From the Miami night in 1964 when he took the heavyweight crown from Sonny Liston – 'I shook up the world!' – through the blood-stained-trilogy with Joe Frazier to the Rumble in the Jungle with George Foreman.

I saw him only when the magic was departing, on an appalling evening in 1980 in Las Vegas. The brutes who controlled him had matched him with Larry Holmes, a young, strong, technically superb heavyweight.

Ali had been inactive for two years and had shed 33lb for the contest. He was gasping within two rounds. Inside four, the black dye in his hair was running down his face, revealing the grey at the temples. His ordeal lasted 10 rounds and he was mercilessly beaten.

Four years later, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's syndrome, the consequence of blows to the head. He has lived for more than a quarter of a century in his own secluded world, occasionally emerging to remind us of the spirit that once raged.

On Tuesday, Muhammad Ali will be 70 years old. A former professional boxer, philanthropist and social activist. And so much more.

P.S…

Ivan Lendl cut a doleful figure on the tennis court. The hooded eyes, the lugubrious stare, the Middle European air of dark introspection; imagine Hannibal Lecter (below) with a tightly strung Slazenger and you have the picture.

Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Andy Murray is monosyllabic, surly and occasionally given to eruptions of incoherent fury, frequently directed at his own coaching team. Neither man seems a bundle of laughs. But Lendl is Murray's new coach and he is positively twinkling.

'I love his sense of humour,' he says. 'Hopefully, he enjoys mine. We've had some good laughs.' Over some fava beans and a nice chianti, one imagines.