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How Should Cardiff Be Punished For Coin-Throwing Incident?

cardiffThere were some tremendous games at all levels of British football on Sunday. Cardiff and Swansea battled out a thrilling 2-2 draw. Luton gave the Football League a poke in the eye by winning a wonderful Johnstone Paint Trophy Final 3-2 against Scunthorpe. And finally we had the gasp-inducing 3-2 stormer at Old Trafford.

It was just a shame that fan behaviour cast such a pall over the whole day.

Like many fans I was disgusted with the throwing of the coin that injured referee Mike Dean in the Welsh derby, but I’ve been just as concerned by the reaction of key figures from both clubs.

Peter Ridsdale, Cardiff Chairman, said:

“We’ve now identified an individual who threw a coin, we believe it’s the individual whose coin hit the referee… assuming it’s the right individual he will be banned for life.”

Well, that’s good to know. But it wasn’t ‘an individual’ it was many individuals. The few seconds of footage surrounding the moment Mike Dean was hit clearly shows several items landing near the referee, while Swansea captain Garry Monk has claimed objects were being thrown throughout the match. Cardiff fans have commednably been more open than Ridsdale, speaking of witnessing a number of individuals throwing objects onto the pitch ranging from coins to lighters.

Does Ridsdale think that getting rid of this one person somehow solves the problem? Moreover, was this individual more guilty for hitting the referee than anyone else who tried but missed?

Cardiff manager Dave Jones said:

“I hope the club don’t suffer serious repurcussions as it was only one person and there were 20,000 people here… It’s ridiculous as I thought those days were long gone.”

Only one person, Dave? Really? And you thought those days were long gone? Good job the police didn’t share your view or they might not have sent those 450 officers to Ninian Park to try and minimise trouble between the fans.

What weasel words by both of these people. I would expect more of Jones in particular, but perhaps he is just trying to protect the club. If that is the case then he has been shown up by the Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust who condemned the ‘mindless idiots’ (notice the plural) and for those Cardiff fans who stood up and pointed out the offenders at the time. If only club officials were so forthright.

It is unfair that the whole club should be tainted by this, but football must not continually attempt to hide the truth. Whenever there is violence at a game we are fed the same line about how “these people are not football fans” – well, who are they then? There can be no doubt things have moved forward over the last 20 years, but problems still exist. Every club still has their trouble-makers.

In the midst of all this you might expect Swansea to act with quiet dignity, but manager Roberto Martinez, a good, honest, likable man, a successful coach and a very decent TV pundit, has waded in with some ill-advised comments of his own:

“You don’t want to see coin throwing incidents like that but looking at the overall performance of the referee maybe he was affected by it… you work all week not to get emotional performances from your players and you drop two points because of an emotional decision by a referee.”

In one sense, Martinez is right – Cardiff’s late penalty for the equaliser was probably the wrong decision – but to show such callous disregard of the referee’s health beggars belief. He had been hit in the end, no more than a few centimetres from his eye, yet made little fuss and carried on refereeing the game – on the whole very well. It seems incredible that rather than blaming the fan for his actions he suggests that the referee failed to deal with the situation adequately. I wonder what Martinez’s reaction might have been had his goalkeeper received a blow to the head. Would he have publicly blamed him for dropping a cross and for becoming too emotional?

The fallout from this will undoubtedly continue for some time, but what sort of punishment should be meted out by the Football Association? Ridsdale has a point in that it seems unfair to punish Dave Jones’ team for the actions of some of the fans. Cardiff have improved the image of the club in recent years and so a fine or a points deduction seems ill-fitting.

Perhaps the FA must leave it to the club to identify as many of these coin-throwers as possible and have them thrown out of all football grounds for good, but while Ridsdale continues to suggest it was only one person, this is not a problem that will disappear any time soon. In the meantime, football officials need to start being a little more honest when it comes to assessing the behaviour of some fans.

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  1. Dan

    April 16, 2009 at 8:57 am

    John Wrote

    “Regarding this happening all game, I cannot recall play being stopped once to pick up any coins/debris, any other person/player being struck by anything or any further incident whereby the ref or players showed any concern to what was happening in this respect, although I stand to be corrected. ”

    Just because play wasn’t stopped it doesn’t mean to say that the incidents in which Garry Monk & the rest of the Swansea squad said happened, didn’t happen. They are professional footballers, paid to play the game, not stop and start every 2 minutes to pick up coins, lighters or empty cups and present them to the ref.

    Every club (including my club Swansea) have these moronic fans and the punishment should serve as a deterrent for every fan. If Cardiff were to be deducted say 5 points and missed out on possible promotion as a result of this fans actions, then it may actually hit home to these idiots!

    A ban is all well and good for the idiot who threw the coin, but in my eyes doesn’t serve as a deterrent from would be coin throwers. if they knew that their club would be docked points as well as themselves being banned for life for their behavior then it would make them think twice.

    And before anyone says anything I would say the same if it was a Swans fan in the same position. Like all true Cardiff, Swansea & football fans all over the Country, I am disgusted that this sort of thing happens nowadays and would be gutted if it happened at the Liberty.

    It as a great Derby match and had everything going for it, a great advert for Championship football. Because of the actions of a mindless few it has given the game all the headlines for the wrong reasons!

  2. d betts

    April 11, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    being a QPR fan, i have no change left, but clubs need to make a stand not pass the blame.

  3. The Gaffer

    April 7, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    A points deduction is needed (not that I’m a Swansea supporter or something) 😉

    The Gaffer

  4. Dan Trelfer

    April 7, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Cheers John. I think we’re in agreement to be honest. The comment about objects being thrown on all game came from Garry Monk of Swansea:

    “There was stuff coming on the pitch all the time. There were cups of what seemed like squash and stuff and you could see coins being thrown on all the time and this and that.”

    You’re right, it’s happened at other clubs and I have to say that the genuine Cardiff fans have acted very well. My concern was Ridsdale and Jones’s failure to properly admit what happened (although perhaps they have now) and also Martinez’s ill-advised comments at the end of the game.

  5. John

    April 7, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    In my previous comment I was just trying to answer the question you posed, how should Cardiff as a club be punished ie they should be treated like other clubs have been for similar incidents.
    I know more than one individual was responsible, the club are presently working with the police to ensure that all culprits are identified and dealt with, a lifetime ban from all football grounds and whatever else the courts decide.
    Regarding this happening all game, I cannot recall play being stopped once to pick up any coins/debris, any other person/player being struck by anything or any further incident whereby the ref or players showed any concern to what was happening in this respect, although I stand to be corrected.

  6. Dan Trelfer

    April 7, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Fair enough, John, but as I say in the article, other Cardiff fans in that stand say they saw more than one person throwing objects, plus Swansea players claim it happened all game. My point was that just removing one person is not enough. Clearly more than one person was responsible and Cardiff as a club should be braver and publically acknowledge that fact, just as the Official Supporters Club has done so admirably. If the CCTV found the culprit who hit the ref, surely it can locate the culprits who tried to hit the ref (or Swansea players) but failed?

  7. John

    April 7, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Cardiff are not alone in this and their punishment if any should reflect the penalties given to other clubs in this situation.

    There have unfortunately been similar incidents this season. The closest example to Sunday’s events was during the Villa v Portsmouth match in October. An Assistant Referee was hit and injured by a 50p coin thrown by a Villa fan. The FA supported Villa and West Midlands Police in identifying the culprit and have asked that a life ban be placed on him.

    No Charges relating to failing to control supporters, were brought therefore no fines or points deductions were given to the club

    The links on this story are as follows:,19528,11677_4360092,00.html,,10265~1424891,00.html

    I was at the game on Sunday, in the same stand as the incident, what has been convieniently overlooked in the media is the reaction of most fans, who were appalled by what happened and helped the police quickly identify and remove the idiot who threw the coin.
    I believe that as a club Cardiff City could not have done anything more to prevent what took place and credit should be given for their swift action in removing the culprit and preventing any further incidents.

    No other clubs have had any points deducted for similar problems.

  8. Haydn Probert

    April 7, 2009 at 8:32 am

    I think they should definately be docked 10 points

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