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Jérémie Aliadière's Ban is Ridiculous

Middlesbrough’s Jérémie Aliadière, the man with the last name that takes me 73 tries to pronounce correctly, had his red card appeal denied today on the grounds of its “frivolous” nature and his ban increased from three to four games.

This is one of the biggest farces I’ve seen all season.

I don’t subscribe to any conspiracy theories suggesting that the Premier League publicly wants the “Big Four” to finish in the top four, so I don’t believe that this is a case of Middlesbrough being harshly done by and Liverpool escaping without penalty simply because they are Middlesbrough and Liverpool.

With that said, this is simply outrageous. Aliadière should NEVER have been sent off in the first place. Sorry, the “violent conduct” section in FIFA, UEFA, and the FA’s rules dealing with this sort of thing shouldn’t apply to what Aliadière did; it should be reserved for actually striking or punching, or attempting to punch, an opponent in a malicious manner. This was nothing more than a light tap on the face, so I don’t buy the red card for a second.

Not only do I not buy the red card though, I have a problem with the way match referee Lee Mason handled the situation. First of all, Aliadière was responding to Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano putting his hand on the Frenchman’s mouth in a muzzling, shut-your-mouth-type manner. If you’re going to send Aliadière off, then surely Mascherano should’ve been dismissed as well since he instigated the whole thing to begin with.

Coaches always say that it’s not the first one that gets caught, it’s the retaliation. That certainly proved to be true in this instance.

As a referee myself, I would’ve handled the situation much differently. This is a professional game we’re talking about here, a match in one of the top leagues in the world. We’re not talking about kids, where sportsmanship and safety and all those things are more important than winning. Liverpool are battling for every point they can get to climb back into the 4th spot, and Boro need every point they can get to feel safe from relegation. Understandably, emotions were running high as Boro were frustrated that they were losing. If I would’ve been in charge, both players would’ve been called over, warned, and that’s it, end of story, let’s move on. No need to hand out cards, certainly not a red card, and especially not a red card to one player and not both. It takes two to tango, does it not?

To make matters worse, Aliadière had his already unfair suspension increased by another game. He’ll now have to sit out Boro’s next four matches, including their FA Cup Fifth Round replay and potential FA Cup quarterfinal, and that’s a big blow to that club’s attack. Aliadière doesn’t score many goals, but his pace opens up space on the field for others to run into and he’s a pretty decent passer of the ball. Meanwhile, Javier Mascherano gets off scot-free, even though the referee’s assistant had a clear view of what went on and could easily have recommended a booking for the Argentine.

Boro chief executive Keith Lamb was rightly upset at the decision, branding it “a travesty of justice.”

Lamb also said, “We are furious and totally astounded that the commission, without consultation, should consider our appeal to be frivolous. Who are they to know our minds when we made this appeal? We are appalled at the decision and the entire process. How can nameless, faceless people on a commission decide that our genuine claim for equality and justice be dealt with in such a flippant manner? It is a disgraceful comment to suggest our claim was frivolous. We agonised over it before deciding to submit a claim for wrongful dismissal.”

Good for you Mr. Lamb, you have every right to be incensed with this mockery of a ruling.

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  1. Alex Hleb

    February 27, 2008 at 11:24 pm


    not much to say.

    except search for him on youtube and notice his english ali g in da house accent.

    by the way, he’s french.


  2. dragonki2012

    February 27, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Spot on jm.
    That was exactly what I was thinking, but you wrote it ever so well.

    I’d like to say that the referee that gives out the red card should be the one deciding the ban and punishment to the player… and not the clowns at the FA who apparently don’t know much.

    As an Arsenal fan I can’t feel bad for Alieadiere because he left us and talked shit but his suspension was wrong.

    And, if Boro wouldn’t have beaten sheff. utd there would of been some very pissed off players and fans around Middlesboro, imo.

  3. Michael

    February 27, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Yeah, twakum, I never mentioned race and come on, do you really believe race has something to do with this? If that was the case, wouldn’t Mascherano have been sent off/suspended as well? He’s of Argentine heritage, so he’s a “minority”.

  4. Todd

    February 27, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    so now this is a race thing? wow

  5. twakum

    February 27, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    The FA cannot handle what the EPL has become. Unfortunately, because of the system, the EPL is screwed. No 39th game, extra punishment for minority players from mid level teams who foul one of the big four, etc…things are going to get nasty in the future. The FA are clowns.

  6. timmyg

    February 27, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Why is everyone so surprised about the lack on continuity in the FA’s rulings? You root for a small club, you get screwed (which as a Fulham fan, I am well aware of).

    Just look at last season:

    1) Mascherano playing for 2 clubs, yet Liverpool getting the go-ahead to sign him.

    2)Carlos Tevez not being owned by West Ham, but MSI, yet still allowed to go to ManUnited.

    3)West Ham shredding documents about two said players, and not getting a points deduction. And then the FA tells Sheffield United to essentially ‘go away’ when they demanded justice.

  7. jm

    February 27, 2008 at 10:57 am

    This really exhibits the outrageousness of the three game automatic ban system for red cards. It was the topic of discussion today at the blog Goodplaya, and I think the author is absolutely right that red cards and the suspension system should be disconnected.

    For Aliadiere to pick up the same punishment as someone like Martin Taylor, or to pick a less controversial example these days, Michael Ball, is utterly outrageous. Here we have genuine violent conduct, one which caused a devastating injury and the other with clear intent, getting the same punishment as Aliadiere’s actions!

    Suspensions should be dealt out after the game, when officials have the advantage of clear review of the actions. That way, genuinely violent conduct can be punished even when a player gets away with it, and players who get trifling red cards are only punished for that game in which they received the red card. Just to show some neutrality on the matter, here are just some examples from the past year regarding Arsenal which merited further review:

    – Gallas’ should have picked up at least a suspension of a game or two for his kick of Nani in the FA Cup match against Man United.
    – Adebayor was suspended in the Carling Cup Final last year for his actions in the brawl (note, the official FA ruling was not for his reaction to the card), when he was wrongfully identified. The suspension should have been lifted from him, and correctly attributed to Eboue (if I recall the actual perpetrator correctly).
    – Arteta should not have been suspended following his elbow to Cesc’s face earlier this season. Even if we presume it was a red card for connecting with an elbow, Cesc clearly sold it, and Arteta was not engaging in particularly violent play.
    – Martin Taylor should be suspended for longer than three games for his challenge against Eduardo.

    And yet, all of these cases fall under the same punishment as the Aliadiere case! You are exactly right to point out the injustice in such a system.

  8. Simon

    February 27, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Astonishing, i agree as well. Hell has frozen over.

  9. dragonki2012

    February 27, 2008 at 12:19 am

    I hate to say it, but we agree on something.
    That wasn’t a red card and Liverpool, imo, have had so many calls go for them instead against them this season, IT IS ridiculous.

    Javier Macharano has been doing this kind of thing all season and it pisses me off, I wanna see someone knock his buck teeth the fuck out. I wish Aliadiere did punch that little snobby brat.

    He does the same shit that Gattuso does, he grabs the player around the face and irritates them, I know that’d piss me off. I think they should be booked for every time they put their hand on another opponents head, or something like that.

    But you probably coach the little leagues and this is a little different bud.

    And I’ll still agree with you on the issue that the referee is balls and so are many other refs in the prem. Sometimes I believe I could do a better job.

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