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Should Craig Bellamy Have Been Sent Off Against Bolton For Diving?


Referees never have an easy job, but they don’t make their life any easier when they make costly mistakes in heated Premier League games. A perfect example of this was in Saturday’s game between Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City when Craig Bellamy was making a run down the left wing.

In the incident, Bolton defender Paul Robinson stuck his leg out and completely missed the ball and knocked Bellamy’s leg. Bellamy then fell to ground. Then the viewers, supporters, commentators and myself were shocked to see that instead of awarding a free kick in Manchester City’s favor, referee Mark Clattenburg blew his whistle and gave Bellamy a yellow card for diving. Not only a yellow card, but it was his second yellow card of the game and Bellamy was sent off.

This was a contentious decision on so many different levels. One, Robinson missed the ball and fouled Bellamy before “Bellars” fell down. Two, Bellamy dived. He could have easily kept on running and could have stayed on his feet to cross the ball into the box but he chose the easy option which was to dive and to get a free kick on the edge of the penalty area for City. Third, and this is the big one for me, the decision by Clattenburg is inconsistent with how referees in other matches call the game. We see these types of dives happening throughout the game where players would rather dive to get what they consider a fair call than to stay on their feet. If all referees throughout the Premier League are going to yellow card players for these type of dives, then that’s fine. But it needs to be consistent across the league.

What do you think? Should Bellamy have been sent off? Did Robinson foul Bellamy, or did Clattenburg make the wrong decision?

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  1. Beachball

    December 15, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Bellamy mouths off at referees every game. Finally someone said enough. If he kept his mouth shut, he would not have been sent off.

    Get hime sorted Mark, or fitted with a muzzle!

  2. Dansadumbass

    December 14, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    i just wanted to say dan is a dumbass for being naive and biased

  3. Huh

    December 14, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Ken, I have not seen one pundit, journalist or fan (Bolton fan or their manager) who agrees with you (check out the defenders actions after the whistle went he knew it was a foul), maybe you could find some old has been player or journo who’s looking for a bit of the limelight to agree with you if you look hard enough. If your running full pelt and someone puts their leg in front of yours its called being tripped up Ken! And has been known to put people off balance (lol) just like Joe at Chelsea but it would seem the Ref in that situation played a good advantage otherwise it would have been a free kick, unless you were the Ref and poor Joe would have been sent off!
    On your law change, it has a few faults to say the least. What if a player has a dead leg for instance? Make him stay on to risk a bad injury that a dead leg could hide? Or what about a cut? Make him play till he bleeds to death? The list could go on.

  4. Ken

    December 14, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Clattenburg got it RIGHT! The biggest problem to the image, and respect, of world football right now is the repeated scene in every game, EVERY game, where someone with the ball recieves a bit of a knock and uses it as a means to hopefully get an advantage by going to ground and getting a call in their favor. Specifically, in Bellamy’s case this past weekend vs Bolton, yes the defender’s challenge was clumsy, slow, ill-timed, and poor, but because of these factors it wasn’t enough to put Bellamy on the ground. When Bellamy’s right leg came forward in the natural stride of his run he was high enough off the ground that he could have, at the very least, attempted to right himself. If he does this and fails, the referee blows his whistle and gives City the freebie. If he does this and succeeds, play continues and Bellamy is in the clear having beaten a defender whose defensive prowess on that particular play has failed him. Instead Bellamy chose to go to ground hoping to get a call. I agree that the referees across the entire globe should be more consistent on how they call the game, and they should call it in the same manner that Mark Clattenburg called it, and punish those who choose to cheat the game ( they call it gamesmanship to lessen the tone of what they do ) instead of play it like men. The men play like sissies. Big bunch of babies. I can’t stand it. It is a travesty of the game and is what will make the upcoming World Cup a laughing stock to fans of other sports, which I also hate. I want so much for fans of other sports to see soccer/football for what it truly is and what it can truly be, the game above all others that outperforms them all in every category: excitement, skill, teammwork, what Pele called ‘The Beautiful Game’, which, no matter how often used, will never truly be a cliche

    I remember 3 or 4 years ago watching Joe Cole play for Chelsea. I believe it was in Mourinho’s first year, when everyone was excited and curious about The Blues. Joe got hammered just inside the box by a late tackle from whomever was the opponent that day. He rolled on the ground once or twice, but used the momentum to get back up on his legs during the roll and continue to make a run toward the goal in an effort to catch up to the play. As it turned out the ball came back to his feet and he deftly smashed it into the back of the net. He had played like a man and was justly rewarded. That’s the way to play the game.

    I want to see a change to the Laws that call for an automatic substitution for anyone who has to leave the field for treatment. If they’re injured seriously enough to require treatment then they need to be replaced anyway. And if not, then they shouldn’t be leaving the field. This would curb much of the histrionics that you see in every game in every league in every country across the globe each weekend.

  5. Rob MCFC

    December 13, 2009 at 6:13 am

    Doesn’t matter if he made a meal of it or not, it was a foul on Bellamy, should have been a free kick, no cards for anyone! The first yellow was fine, he may have been right about the throw in, but it’s still dissent.

    We shouldn’t focus on the red card though. We really should be doing better at places like Bolton, spirited fight back to get back on level terms three times, but we should only have to do that against the top teams (ie manyoo) and should never have been in that position in the first place!

    • Huh

      December 13, 2009 at 6:52 am

      Rob, remember that yellow card for dissent next time you see Rooney, Drogba and Terry telling Refs or Linesmen to Fx8k off or screaming other obscenities at them because they don’t agree with a decision, it doesn’t mater if they are right or wrong they still behave like this. If Bellamy’s wrong and can get booked so should they. These players as they do this at the very least once per game! The first yellow is only fine if it is a consistent booking but it is not. One rule for one etc.

  6. Dr RMA

    December 13, 2009 at 12:32 am

    The most ridiculous sending off i ever saw.
    Two yellow cards for nothing.
    What, Bellamy’s first yellow card was for voicing his opinion about a throw-in decision that led to a goal?
    If that is a yellow card offence then half of the players in the league should be sent off every week.
    Second yellow card….contact from the defender on Bellamy….no contact with the ball.
    If they’re gonna do it then there has to be some consistancy. Clattenburg doesn’t like Bellamy, so he gave him 2 needless yellow cards.

  7. MCFC Texas

    December 12, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    He didn’t dive, end of. Mark Clattenburg, what have you got against City ? Top 4 place up for grabs and your beloved Liverpool are struggling maybe ??????

    • Huh

      December 13, 2009 at 6:34 am


      Clattenburg is reported as a Newcastle United fan as well as a complete tx*t in Manchester, his errors include the offside goal, the wrong way throwing that leads to Bolton’s 2nd goal and Bellamy’s 1st yellow as well being sent off for diving when he was clearly fouled are among many bad desissions that this Ref has given against City in various games they are becoming a trade mark of his. The one thing about this Ref is he is always consistent who ever he Refs for (consistently bad that is) I know that Referees don’t have an easy job but all three of the decisions I Have mentioned above (there are others in this game) were obvious to anybody anywhere in the ground or from any T.V replay angle. Yet he apparently holds great respect with the buffoons that are known as the F.A. No surprise there then

  8. Benjani

    December 12, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    At the end of the day, Bellamy kicked the ball passed the defender, who stuck his leg in the way and did not get the ball. At the speed Bellamy was going, it doesn’t take much to knock you off balance. And anyhow, even if he could have possibly stayed on his feet he would have been prevented of getting to the ball by the mistimed challenge, therefore had every right to go down. Bad decision and one that seemed to be affected by Bellamy’s reputation.

    Rooney’s on the other hand, was a complete dive. As a city fan, I admire Rooney’s quality but I agree that commentators, pundits and the media prefer to ignore simulation when it concerns their ‘golden boys’. Another English star prone to the odd dive is Gerrard, and again, the writers have too much respect for him to vilify him as they do with the foreign offenders.

  9. nicholasmxx

    December 12, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    this is disgraceful i was at the game myself and i didn’t see any first yellow given to Bellamy anyway claternburg is a red rag so he is bound to make these decisions

  10. Huh

    December 12, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Whatever any angle you look it this is a foul on the player, The defender clearly catches Bellamy as he clearly misses the ball, what a dive has got to do with this I don’t know! It is also mentioned elsewhere on this site that the 1st goal may not have been offside apparently Dean Sturrage doesn’t know that an offside is from the ball being passed (the moment foot touches ball) absolutely nothing to do with touching any other players on its way! this should tell you a lot about this ESPN’s commentators (or who ever he was robbing money off) even my 8 yr old knows this! These incidents will only be called incredibly bad decisions by all the English media, even the most anti City ones at that! It has also been said that Clattenburg was discussing certain players that he dislikes while leaving the changing room at half time according to Mark Hughes on the City website, I wonder who they were? (No prizes for guessing)

  11. Danny

    December 12, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Surely the question is a case of ‘was he fouled?’.

    If he was, then Bellamy’s reaction is irrelevant because it was a foul, regardless of whether he stays on his feet or not.

  12. Bluenose

    December 12, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    There was no dive what are you on about? He took him out plain and simple. At that pace you don’t have a choice contact like that makes you go down. It was a disgrace of a decision. Just like Bolton’s first goal which was 5 yards off side… and their second which was the most obvious foul throw in the history of football.

  13. evan

    December 12, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    City lost this game because of poor refereeing. Bolton’s first goal was obviously off side and in my opinion Bellamy shouldn’t have been sent off

  14. Jose

    December 12, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Maybe in such a situation the ref should’ve just let play continue. The two offences, the foul and dive, could cancel each other out. Though to be honest, I’m happy seeing players being booked for diving (or embellishment) and wish it happened more often.

  15. Joffe von Butenschjön

    December 12, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    When did Bellamy get the first yellow card? Looks to me like he got two yellow cards in the same situation.

    • The Gaffer

      December 12, 2009 at 1:07 pm

      Bellamy got his first yellow card after complaining when Bolton scored their third goal according to the commentators.

      The Gaffer

  16. Dan

    December 12, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    And Rooney just dived… will he or Bellamy see the contempt that Eduardo or Ngog did… NO CHANCE.
    It’ll be swepped under the rug or they’ll blame the foreigners for bringing it into a game.

    Will anyone be clamoring for added retrospective punishment for either Rooney or Bellamy? NO CHANCE.

    2 game ban for everyone!!!

    • The Gaffer

      December 12, 2009 at 1:08 pm

      Dan, in fairness to the referee in the United v Villa game, at least he was consistent with Clattenburg in giving Rooney a yellow card for diving. Between the two dives, Rooney’s was far more blatant and didn’t even come into contact with the Villa defender.

      The Gaffer

  17. Adam Rowswell

    December 12, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Clattenburg has been terrible as of late. Making few simple mistakes in Citys other games, But Being City Fan of course im going to favour city but on every site ive been to, and even live commentating, there is not one indication that Bellamy was booked. Even with the 4th official telling commentators he did it in the center circle after one of Boltons goals. No one is aware. Poor Communication? You decide.

  18. Matt

    December 12, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I have no problem with players being booked for diving. BUT and its a big BUT, if its a situation like that, where he was clearly fouled then sorry, you must pay the foul. But most importantly to me, if a player in on a yellow, imo the ref should have to be 110% certain that he has committed a second foul. Clattenburg was a long way from the incident and could not have been anywhere near clear as to what happened, let alone certain enough to give a yellow to Bellamy. Poor decision, but he was terrible all day for both teams Clattenburg, and is generally imo a very poor referee.

  19. Dan

    December 12, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Yes hes should. The guy ‘may’ have made contact but Bellamy clearly let his own leg collapse when he didn’t need to.
    If he was foreign, the media would be vilifying him but because he’s british, he’ll be defended and the blame will be pointed at the ref.
    Long live the british empire and all that crap.

    • Jorge Curioso

      December 12, 2009 at 2:49 pm

      So, Dan, how’s that inferiority complex going?

      Booh! Rule Brittania! (Hope that doesn’t send you into a downward spiral).

      • Dan

        December 12, 2009 at 4:51 pm

        Im english you knob. what a mug.

      • Dan

        December 12, 2009 at 4:53 pm

        Says the guy with the name “Jorge Curioso”.

        • Jorge Curioso

          December 13, 2009 at 3:54 am

          Dan, where you’re from doesn’t matter; it’s what you believe that does.

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