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Why Mario Balotelli’s Four Match Ban Isn’t Enough

Manchester City, Mario Balotelli and his agent are all angry that Balotelli has been slapped with a four match ban by the English FA for stomping on Tottenham Hotspurs midfielder Scott Parker. Balotelli, his club and his agent would have us believe that his boot ended up in Parker’s head solely by accident and the player is simply being persecuted by the FA simply because he is Balotelli.

I agree with Balotelli and his supporters that the FA erred in its decision to hand him a four match ban. In fact, the ban should have been longer. It is about time that football associations everywhere confront the issue of violent conduct against players by other players on the field of play. Had Mario Balotelli’s foot come down directly on Scott Parker’s head it could have resulted in very serious injury to the Spurs player. Thankfully, that was not the case.

We call football the beautiful game and for good reason. However the beauty is slowly being taken away by the beasts of the game and that should not be allowed to continue. The creative artistry of the playmaker is slowly being squeezed out of the game by ultra defensive tactics spearheaded by skill deficient midfield enforcers whose sole role on the field of play is to chop down opponents of class and skill.

Hard tackling midfielders who break up plays and get their own teams offence started are not the issue here. Patrick Vieira, during his heyday at Arsenal, was the quintessential midfield hard man, but he was a wonderful box to box midfielder who did it all, as was Roy Keane at Manchester United and Claude Makalele at Chelsea — even though he was not blessed with the skill of Vieira and Keane.

Football fans pay good money to watch the Messi’s, Ronaldo’s, Silva’s, Mata’s and Suarez’s dazzle us with their skill, even when they are playing against the teams we support. The real football fan appreciates class and artistry no matter who the player or for whom he plays a fact exemplified by Madridistas in November 2005 inside the Bernabeu when they gave a standing ovation to Barcelona’s Ronaldinho for his breathtaking display even though that display condemned Real Madrid to a 3-0 defeat in el Clasico.

Clubs are supposed to back their players however, when a player intentionally sets out to hurt another player, a line must be drawn. Manchester City should be careful in their stance. After all, its was little over a year ago that Nigel de Jong broke the leg of Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa with a senseless tackle for which he was never sanctioned, neither on the field or off. Their argument that they are being targeted because of the suspensions of Vincent Kompany and Mario Balotelli is therefore baseless.

A cursory look around the Premier League reveals a real lack of creative artistry. Outside of a select few players led by Juan Mata, Luis Suarez, Hatem Ben Arfa, David Silva and a certain Mario Balotelli, the Premier League lacks players blessed with dazzling skill. This situation is however not exclusive to the Premier League and is a blight on all the major European Leagues.

The Premier League must take the lead however and bring the hammer down on what is tantamount to the desecration of the beautiful game. The message must be loud and clear, violent conduct will not be tolerated by any player. Those of us who pay to watch this game of ours understand that we will not see the purists on a regular basis but we are also sure that we do not want to see the likes of Pepe at any time.

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  1. fidel

    January 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    While i think he did not deserve this sanction, A player like him can cost a team dear in following their dream of winning a trophy. He has to check his ugly ass and play the game or else he will soon learn the hard way. If i was a team owner, I will never buy a player like him or Tevez. In this days and age they should be role models to kids and not detractors to their teams and supporters. I am really tired of this funny looking clown and will advise team owners to buy well mannered players and not idiots. Talent is not everything we need to win but hard working and obedient players can win.

    • Kody

      January 27, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      Footballers are not role models. Parents are role models. They must take responsibility for their children, not look to professional footballers to do the parenting for them

  2. robert

    January 27, 2012 at 2:25 am

    I get the sentiment. the following was ridiculous hyperbole:

    “A cursory look around the Premier League reveals a real lack of creative artistry. Outside of a select few players led by Juan Mata, Luis Suarez, Hatem Ben Arfa, David Silva and a certain Mario Balotelli, the Premier League lacks players blessed with dazzling skill. This situation is however not exclusive to the Premier League and is a blight on all the major European Leagues. ”

    That is one of the joke statements of the year. If all the best players in the world play in Europe, who are you going to call creative? You gotta be kidding me. Blew holes in your article.

  3. Mike

    January 26, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Gaffer, I understand you allow readers to submit their own writing, but please be careful what you post. This is borderline irresponsible journalism. These are the types of articles that proliferate the witch hunting in English football. Be careful what you post please.

  4. Christian

    January 26, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Another shot at City. Shocking.

    • The Gaffer

      January 26, 2012 at 8:53 am

    • Yespage

      January 26, 2012 at 10:45 am

      Actually, it takes a shot at Balotelli. It is incredible that people will whine about Stoke City playing aggressive football, but they’ll defend what Balotelli did.

      • Mike

        January 26, 2012 at 11:42 am

        You are right in that people should not defend actions that are intended to hurt other players. But, you are comparing apples and oranges, intentionally game planning to muck up the game with aggressive and sometimes dirty play is plotted, purposeful and oozes throughout the game. An isolated moment of frustration and reactive action is something completely different, it is still wrong, but in an entirely different context. Racially abusing someone, on the other hand is downright immoral and incomprehensible, almost not even related to football, and should be dealt with on a different level based on the gravity that issue has worldwide, which I think it was. Apples, oranges, pears, kiwis……….

    • Why?

      January 26, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      It’s not really a another shot a City that’s a little harsh though I see where you’re comming from. It’s just another numpties opinion. It would be published because it’ll get the numbers. The Gaffer’s example post has no comments as it is. Where as posts having a go have many. So what’s the point in posting pro-City articles? Nobody bothers with them. Anti City ones bring out the bitter, jealous, thickos as well as the City fans giving their own bit on. So what’s wrong with the article getting the numbers up and getting a bit of debate going?It’s is only when a site starts stopping people giving their opinion on such numpties and there guff because said numpties got upset or were made to look like bitter fools that there is a problem then it‘s time to dump the site.

      I’m sure most people who are not total know nothings or totally bias know that City have had some shocking refereeing decisions against them of late and this Balotelli ban is not as straight laced as some seem to think i.e. He was off balance, was in the air, not looking at and with his back to Parker. That’s enough for most ex-refs to think it would be unlikely that it would get charge as purposeful intent isn‘t clear in that you cannot know what he‘s thinking and these thing go toward it not being a stamp where as for you have a foot going down which happens on every jump and yes from some angles and in slow mo it look like a stamp but in real time and other angles not so. Violent conduct needs to be clear i.e. a player has a planted foot, is looking at the player and the stamp is off the ball these all go towards making it pretty obvious. The ban was another contentious incident in a long line of many now against City that many just don’t agree on and not just the bias.

      Slow motion from certain angles and not others don’t show a full picture examples I have shown above are clear in a stamp. In City’s case the Ref said if he‘d of seen it he‘d have sent him off. Yet he told Balotelli and City staff there is no problem after Harry’s rant. Also on the Video of the incident he‘s looking straight at it, as it happened he then points at the two to register it but gives nothing. Webb has took the opportunity to bow to media pressure basically and get himself out of the lime light he took the easy way out which has avoided the press witch hunt which would have oh so clearly have followed.

      Balotelli gets banned because of a media that is not one bit in love with City, it’s owners or Mancini, as well as Harry Redknapp’s bitterness at losing the game his back heel comment change to a stamp the minute he had seen the Vid!. When Spurs beat City at home to take 4th place Huddlestone stamped on a City player in the game as clear as day for all to see, the player was OK just like Parker but it was a much clearer stamp with clear intension as well as being off the ball with one leg planted Huddlestone look and place his foot down with force. What did Harry have to say about his players behaviour? Nothing at all like it never even happened, kinda reeks of hypocrisy doesn’t it? Mancini said good look to Spurs and didn’t even mention the stamp in that game if he did would it have had the same effect as good old honest English (big one being English it seems) Arry? I think not but at least he had the class not to behave like a sore loser!

  5. Kody

    January 25, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    I’m not impressed with your using Suarez as an example of who fans pay to watch, considering his recent racial ban, his stamping earlier in the season, his World Cup cheating, and his suspension for biting another player. Very poor example

  6. Why?

    January 25, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Gaffer when did you start letting totally bias idiots put there so call opinions here? For the clicks I guess.

    Vernon if you want to mention thug why not start with the king of them? Keane, Buchan, Cantona etc two have ended players careers two were the bigest stampers in the league!

    I would like your opinion on the the following, do you think the player should have had a foul issused against him? Probably not but he didn’t in both cases but of course the FA banned him after word didn’t they? No they did not.

    • The Gaffer

      January 25, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      Readers always have an open invitation to write their own article on a subject of their choosing. More info is at

      The Gaffer

    • Why?

      January 26, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      Vernon still waiting to see it the two vids I posted in your opinion were even fouls LOL.

  7. jtm371

    January 25, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    he should have got an extra match phony act he pulled like he cared how Scott was doing.3 seconds before you were trying to spike his head.go away you thug your running out of leagues to play in don’t worry there is always China.ENJOY!

    thought you would come to the recuse of your favorite thug but seeing your down to one chance of silverware well we understand.ENJOY!

  8. Nonsense

    January 25, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Ridiculous article. It’s amazing how many of these EPL Talk articles speak in absolutes. You know nothing stop making accusations that YOU cannot prove.

    • The Gaffer

      January 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      It’s an opinion and what he believes in. Sometimes you’ll agree with them. Sometimes you won’t.

      The Gaffer

      • Nonsense

        January 26, 2012 at 10:12 am

        No, he is stating it as fact – nowhere does it say ‘he believes’ it was intentional violent conduct.

        • Yespage

          January 26, 2012 at 10:44 am

          The guy stomped on a player. There was absolutely no reason for that to happen. It wasn’t sloppy play, it was an intolerable thing to do.

          Granted, the writer of the article isn’t a telepath, so he can’t read Balotelli’s mind. But what happened was as plain as it gets. Questioning the legitimacy of this is like questioning whether Suarez handled the ball in the World Cup against Ghana.

          • Nonsense

            January 26, 2012 at 2:19 pm

            His intent is as plain as it gets for who? Not me or others as I see posting.

            Also, your comparison to the hand ball is nonsense.

  9. dele

    January 25, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    english fa are not fair with their judgements why is that even balotelli mistakes will be used against him whie they neglect english players he is the only player

  10. dele

    January 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    what about terry case and all scholes crouch and even glen johnson two footed tackle

  11. abdalla

    January 25, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Kind of funny how you completely just didn’t say anything about lescot. If the F.A wants to be fair they should punish everyone

    • Lee

      January 25, 2012 at 11:47 pm

      one of the few posts on this page i can agree with.

  12. daS

    January 25, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    totally agree. suarez gets 8 games for calling someone black a negro, while balotelli only gets 4 games for stomping on a guys head? the fa is farce

  13. Robbo

    January 25, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Do the world a favour and crawl back to the whole you came from.

    • Chip

      January 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      Do the world a favor and use proper grammar.

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