Monday, March 26, 2007


Apologies again for the radio silence.

Thanks to Nessy for pointing out that the Ryman League's appeals board found the "given the specific and unusual circumstances the deduction of 18 points [for AFC Wimbledon] was excessive" and reduced the punishment to three. Obviously I'd like to claim this as The Sweet FA's first victory for common sense, but that would mark me as someone who just as frequently used the phrase "political correctness gone mad". Besides, I suspect the campaigning efforts of you, the readership, were a drop in the ocean in this case. But thanks all the same.

I'm also going to note that the racism charge against Emre was not proven.

Someone in the Guardian's "The Fiver" newsletter compared a fan's attempted assault on Frank Lampard in the Spurs game to, I think, a Stoke City game some time ago. In both cases, team-mates leapt on the encroacher and, um, put their points across forcefully; only Stoke were charged with failing to control their players. Anyone got details? I don't have time to look it up right now, I'm supposed to be working ;o)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Penalty shoot-outs

Apologies for radio silence. I haven't been outraged by anything much recently.


The Football league is reportedly "considering" the introduction of shoot-outs to decide drawn games.


Naturally, everyone the article spoke to is dead-set against it. However, I personally don't think the idea is entirely without merit. The argument I can see in its favour is that England are generally awful at penalties - I suspect Scotland and others would also be awful at penalties if we weren't so awful at football that we never get to the stages where they happen. If the pressure of a shoot-out was routine - I think it's something like 30% of games are drawn - players would be better-equipped to cope with them in World Cups and the like.

That said, giving a team a bonus point for winning a shoot-out would devalue a win 'in regulation' (sorry, I live in the US and have seen much more ice hockey than footy this year). In hockey, a shoot-out win is worth 2 points, just like a normal one, and you get a point just for getting to overtime.

I'm a little averse to meddling with the points system again, but it might be interesting to award teams involved in a draw no points, unless they were to win the penalty shoot-out*. The idea would be to make it less attractive to play for a draw.

Ah, listen to me, I'm getting all Blattery and proposing nonsensical rule changes for the sake of it. What do you think?

* Because I'm a geek, I might have a look at how that would affect league standings.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Emre Belozoglu

Another upcoming case. Emre is accused of racially abusing several players, including Everton's Joseph Yobo, and Watford's Al Bangura. It seems unlikely that the Bangura incident will result in charges owing to a shortage of evidence. The FA (according to the Guardian) insists that their disciplinary committee is too experienced to be influenced by media coverage of the case. The hearing is scheduled for mid-March.


Again, I don't want to prejudge anything here. I will parrot the line that racism has absolutely no place in football and that if Emre is found guilty, should be heavily punished. That said, the charge is a serious one and needs to be considered very carefully - I don't hold a lot of truck with the idea that if you accuse someone of something often enough, he must have been guilty at least once; on the other hand, I don't want to believe that professional footballers would simply make shit like this up. I would find it hard to credit that there were no cameras pointing anywhere near the players involved, but there's no mention of video evidence, only of the FA writing to Yobo's team-mates to get their version of events.

The Tevez/Mascherano saga

This isn't the FA, but the Premier League who have charged West Ham United with improper dealings relating to the signing of Tevez and Mascherano last summer. If they're found guilty (of failing to disclose the third-party ownership of the players, and not acting in good faith over the matter) they will be fined and/or docked points. West Ham are fighting the charge.


I'm not going to prejudge this one. The one thing that strikes me is that the EPL has moved with the kind of pace we'd normally associate with the FA - it's fully six months since the pair signed for the Hammers and one of them has since moved on.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

John Terry's head

Via Steve Nuttall:

John Terry was carried off during the Carling Cup final after suffering a head injury. Some sources cite FA regulations stating that a concussed player must convalesce for 10 days before being allowed to play again; the FA are currently saying that 'all head injuries are different' and deny that there's any mandatory rest period. They are, however, insisting on full medical clearance before allowing Terry to play again.


In this case, even if the rules do say there's a mandatory 10-day rest period, I think the FA are acting sensibly. The rule (if it exists) is presumably there to protect players from being rushed back before being fully recovered from a head injury, and it is rather silly to say that every brain needs ten days to recover. I'm really trying hard to resist the obvious joke that follows from that; I'll leave it for readers to fill in.

At best, this could be used as a precedent for the FA abandoning a nonsensical rule. Let's hope they do that more often.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

AFC Wimbledon's point deduction: Update

This is also covered in the original AFCW post, but I thought I should put it at the top as well.

Mitchamboy points to a Parliamentary Early Day Motion (scroll to number 992) that you can encourage your MP to sign. The text is:


Siobhain McDonagh

Alan Keen

Bob Russell

Mr John Greenway

Mr Clive Betts

Christine Russell

* 16

Clive EffordMr Fraser KempMr Stephen Hepburn

Mr Andrew LoveMrs Joan HumbleLaura Moffatt

Mrs Sharon HodgsonMr Graham AllenMr Alan Meale

Ian Lucas

That this House regrets that AFC Wimbledon of the Ryman League Premier Division has been deducted 18 points, fined and thrown out of the FA Trophy and the Surrey Senior Cup for registering a player without also completing an International Transfer Certificate, even through his previous club, Cardiff City, play in the Championship, which is in the English league structure, and he had retired from that club due to injury; believes that this is an excessive punishment for a minor administrative error, as the club sought no advantage and there was no dishonesty, and few people at a small community club would have realised he needed an international transfer; further notes that the error was only discovered when the player was given his first yellow card, and that if he had been a dirty player the mistake would have been uncovered earlier and the punishment would have been smaller; also notes that AFC Wimbledon was established when local fans set up their own community club after another injustice, the football authorities' decision to allow Wimbledon FC to move its franchise to Milton Keynes in 2002; congratulates AFC Wimbledon for regularly attracting crowds of several thousands and for rising from the bottom of the football pyramid to be just three promotions from entering the Football League; and regrets that if the deduction of 18 points is not reversed they will fall from top to only 13th in the Ryman League Premier Division and their fans will be robbed of the chance of celebrating promotion.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


As for the national stadium, I'm not even going to say anything. I just wanted to put it out there for others to point fingers.