First up, this isn’t another debate about the Neil Taylor tackle on Everton’s Coleman during the Ireland/Wales World Cup Qualifier – you can read all about that here though.
What we now learn is that FIFA [hardly a great arbiter of justice] is to open proceedings to consider extending Neil Taylor’s ban.
As bizarre as a 1 game ban for a straight red at international level is, this is the punishment in the rulebook.
For reference, a straight red card in the Premier League incurs a standard 3 game ban.
So FIFA, everyone’s preferred moral compass is to consider its response.
Various FIFA bans, lengths & offences for comparison:
- Josip Simunic
- 10 game ban + 30,000 Swiss Francs
- Offence: Anti-semetic behavior
- Date: December 2013
- Lionel Messi
- 4 game international ban.
- Offence: Insulting a referees assistant.
- Date: March 2017.
- Mamadou Sakho
- 30 day ban (Extended to internationals)
- Offence: Banned substance.
- Date: May 2016
- 1 year ban. (+Extended to worldwide)
- Offence: Banned Substance
- Date: June 2015
- Hakan Calhanoglu
- 4 months ban + €100,000 fine
- Offence: Contract breach.
- Date: February 2017
- Luis Suarez
- 4 months ban + $113,000 fine.
- Offence: Biting opponent.
- Date: June 2014
CLOSER TO HOME…
- Joey Barton
- 6 game ban + £150,000 fine.
- Offence: GBH
- Date: June 2008
- Luis Suarez
- 8 game ban.
- Offence: Racial slur.
- Date: October 2011
- Ben Thatcher
- 9 matches + £120,000
- Offence: Elbow/Scissor Tackle
- Date: August 2006
- David Prutton
- 10 matches
- Offence: Tackle + Pushing Official
- Date: March 2005
POINTLESS & INEFFECTIVE
If the purpose is to send a message that bad tackles will be punished, well, what is the suitable punishment?
3 games? 6 months? A lifetime?
Using the same thought process: Shouldn’t, if this be the case, we also be targeting players who were reckless but merely fortunate not to injure an opponent? It’s the tackle that’s being identified after-all and we have seen increasing numbers of players sent off under the guise of intent.
The equally dismal Gareth Bale challenge in the same game as the Coleman injury is a pertinent point of reference. The only difference being that John O’Shea was stitched up [virtually to the bone].
It’s not without some irony that Colman & Ramsay [both having suffered serious injuries] should look on the challenge below:
Indeed, what type or length of ban would make Coleman feel any better about his current situation? I imagine none, if it’s even on his mind at all right now. It’s no compensation for the injury suffered.
Further; even at the upper echelons of the game does extending Taylor’s ban resonate? A 3 game ban is being suggested as the expected outcome, but ultimately what does this change?
“But….it would send a message to others and avoid a repeat!”
An extended FIFA ban, by any length, does not translate to anything meaningful down the football pyramid.
FACTS > EMOTION
The facts and emotion simply have to be separated on this case, as they have on many others that have gone before. [Haaland, Busst, Nilis – Google at your peril.]
Bad injuries, however awful and unpalatable have occurred since the beginning of football. Nothing will change this, for the simple reason that misjudgements, recklessness or plain bad luck will occur. No amount of FIFA ruffling their ability to add bans, fines or whatever will change this.
That’s not to say that malicious challenges don’t occur – but we must differentiate the two.
There is a clear difference between malicious intent and recklessness [Keane on Haaland for one]. In short, trying to hurt someone deliberately and a sh!t tackle. A hard concept for some to comprehend.
The advancements of technology, improved refereeing and the modernising of how the game is now played has though resulted in fewer of the career ending injuries which ended many promising careers prematurely. That’s the key here; not FIFA wanting to be seen to be doing something.
Many football fans will recall players at their club [or watching experience] who were “the next big thing”, only to see their careers ended. It’s a move forward that this is no longer the norm.
Those same fans may lament the loss of the “good old game”, of which there were many redeeming qualities, but overlook the risk & consequences some players faced due to the unchecked physicality.
The fact that such bad injuries are [in real terms] so rare, are the true measure.
IRRELEVANCE = FIFA
Nobody want’s to see injuries like Coleman’s.
Player’s should be thoroughly punished where proven [even in a court of law] to have shown a deliberate intention to injure. That’s an obvious line to draw.
But doesn’t the injury itself [in this case] resonate more than a token increase of any ban for Neil Taylor? [Or any player for that matter]
I don’t imagine many aspiring young footballer’s wandered away from their TV screen’s wanting to replicate such a tackle. Nor indeed be on the receiving end.
If anything it underlined how indecision, recklessness and lack of self discipline are as important a skill as curling a worldie into the top corner.
Irrelevant of what your feelings are on Taylor’s recklessness, duty of care to a fellow professional or his outright hopeless tackle, an extended ban (whatever the length) changes nothing.
Nothing for Taylor, nothing for the injured Coleman and nothing for football at large.
Case in point? You’ll see Taylor in action this weekend at Villa Park. Whatever the length of ban imposed.