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FA’s threat of punishing Diego Costa reeks of bias


In response to The FA retrospectively charging Diego Costa for violent conduct from the Chelsea-Liverpool League Cup semi-final on Tuesday, Costa has decided to contest the decision with the full backing of Chelsea Football Club. The charge is a result of the perceived intentional stamp by Costa on Liverpool’s Emre Can.

Now, the ball is in The FA’s court. The Football Association will want to make a decision before Friday night so that Costa’s fate is determined before the match against Manchester City on Saturday. Either way, the final outcome will be derided.

Whether or not the appeal is met favorably, Chelsea’s willingness to challenge the decision is bold, and makes a statement of intent to not take the FA decision lying down.

If Costa is banned for the next three matches, it’s clear why Chelsea fans will be disappointed, but for the integrity of English football, it’s more useful and far more important that we consider the Football Association’s decision to charge Costa and compare said decision to similar situations deemed unworthy of punishment.

If you’ve been keeping an eye on Premier League clubs over the first seven months of the season, you’ve undoubtedly seen a few incidents which were missed by the man in the middle and left you scratching your head.  ‘How did he get away with that??  Surely he’ll be sent off??‘ was probably your most likely reaction, and for good reason.  The referees can’t always catch every incident, even if those watching from multiple camera angles with the luxury of replay can.

But that’s why we have the FA, right?  They always punish fairly, aren’t motivated or influenced by press, clubs or managers and have the backing of all players and fans of English football alike. More than once this season, the FA has been the focus of many a joke (or rant, depending on the audience), as they have repeatedly failed to be the impartial, progressive and prestigious entity they should be.

If match officials during a game miss an incident, then The FA has the power to retrospectively review the incident and charge the player, which is what they did in this week’s Costa case.

However, The FA has been inconsistent in its decisionmaking. For example, Manchester City’s Yaya Toure escaped retrospective punishment last season for his stamp on Norwich’s Ricky van Wolfswinkel. The 3-person FA panel reviewed it but couldn’t agree that the stamp was intentional. Thus, no action was taken against Toure.


Regarding Costa’s apparent stamp on Emre Can, it could be argued that Costa was clumsy. Plus, as Gary Lineker points out, Costa wasn’t looking in the direction of Can, and it would be impossible to know if the stamp was intentional unless Costa admitted it.

Coupled with that, you have perceived agendas by members of the media who are perpetuating an anti-Chelsea bias and putting pressure on The FA to punish Costa. So much so that Jose Mourinho discussed it this week during a news conference where he discussed Jamie Redknapp’s “Diego Costa crimes” mantra.

Managers like former Crystal Palace boss Neil Warnock, who expressed his frustrations at being afraid to speak about a missed call after a loss, for fear of being fined, to the famously outspoken Chelsea boss José Mourinho, who spoke of a campaign against Chelsea and then was fined, quite clearly illustrate the respect the FA feels it deserves.  If English Football’s governing body feels it deserves respect, it needs to act impartially and confidently thus instilling the trust of the managers, players and, above all, fans.

In Diego Costa’s case, his reputation tends to precede him.  Amid the myriad of articles about his on-field indiscretions, one has to wonder whether this has no bearing on the minds of those who would be scrutinizing his case.  Is it safe to assume that the media has an influence on the FA?  I would not hesitate to say yes.  Still, Costas’s ban was for a stamp on Emre Can which, at the time, appeared unintentional and has received arguably less scrutiny from the media than a similar infraction on Skrtel.

For the integrity of the game to remain, the FA needs to be held accountable.  There needs to be a legitimate sense among fans of the sport and those who make it their profession, that the governing body of their beloved game is unbiased and, most importantly, operating with their best interest in mind.


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  1. Brian

    January 30, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    “The charge is a result of the perceived intentional stamp by Costa on Liverpool’s Emre Can.”

    Perceived? That was as intentional as it gets. I don’t support Chelsea or Liverpool and have watched Costa play both in Spain and England and he does get into it with players and has a habit of trying to get away with stamping on opponents.

  2. Daniel Hughes

    January 30, 2015 at 3:28 am

    it’s clear from all indications that the FA is bias towards chelsea. At first, costa had a.penalty claim denied ehich indeed a clear one. Every defender in league want to provoke Costa. He gets knocks like a bull in de game. many players got away with similar acts. de question now is, why Costa?

  3. jtm371

    January 29, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    costa is a thug plain and simple. He was taught by the best simeone. If you appeal and lose increase ban by match or two. costa is a punk.

  4. Bishopville Red

    January 29, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Actually, it’s very consistent that the FA would threaten to do something. It will also be very consistent when they don’t actually do anything.


  5. Seattle Red

    January 29, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Previous comments are correct is saying many stamps are accidental. However, The Elephant Man’s actions in the Liverpool match were clearly cynical and without remorse. He is a dangerous player and should be punished accordingly.

    Costa is the BPL’s new Suarez. Congratulations Chelsea, I hope you look forward to his ever-increasing match bans!

    Also, avoid embarrassing yourself by believing the claim of an anti-Chelsea media bias. You don’t want to drink from the same Kool-Aid as Mourinho.

  6. chinzak

    January 29, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Hmmm. Everyone with his/her biases, that is the beauty of the game, we all like to conjour what we like to see or believe,but only costa knew what’s up!!!

  7. Sir Bessell

    January 29, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    if this was suarez last season he would have been banned for 6 games for the two stamps. then derided for the dive. chelsea cheating long ball. dirty money club. plastic flag wavers.

    • nah better not

      January 30, 2015 at 4:56 am

      Long ball? Chelsea play the best football in the league.

  8. yespage

    January 29, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    The article title says the ban would reek of bias, yet the case for that claim isn’t even brought up in the article.

    It is perhaps, inconsistent, but it seems to be saying ‘you don’t give a ticket to all speeders, so no speeders should get tickets.’

    The premise is ridiculous.

    • Christopher Harris

      January 29, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      The writer brought up the Yaya Toure example. If Costa gets banned after Toure was let off, that could indicate a bias depending on your school of thought.

      • Yespage

        January 29, 2015 at 9:33 pm

        The incident was from last year. And it only brings up a potential discrepancy. There is absolutely no evidence provided that a bias was involved.

      • Why?

        January 30, 2015 at 7:51 pm

        Surely the school of thought would be a stamp is bringing your foot downward onto someone and pushing against then ala Costa twice? How did Toure stamp? He knocked Van Wolfswinkle in the back a foul yes, stamp? The only bias is what you see as a stamp! Van Wolfswinkle didn’t think it was on and neither did the ref or panel it went because of supper mouth and unsportsmanlike like personality of the year Moanrinho who for some reason didnt shut up about it in his attempts manipulate the media )see writer for one) and the F.A and now listen to him, what a orrible little man he’s become

      • mm

        January 31, 2015 at 10:00 am

        Maybe the writer could have brought up the Vincent Kompany example when Wayne Rooney sent him off for frightening Nani. He won the ball cleanly, didn’t even touch Nani, appealed and got an extra game for a frivolous appeal. Why did Costa not get an extra game? If the FA don’t believe his explanation it must be frivolous. I know where the real campaign is aimed and it’s not at Maureen. All the fawning media are up the hateful man’s dirt box

  9. Tony Jackson

    January 29, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    What about Maurinho’s approach to the officials in the tunnel before the 2nd half began. Questioning the refs decisions or handling of the game which is totally against the rules of the game and the ultimately being ushered away ( for want of a better word ) by Dowd the 4th official. then returning still to question Oliver. what action is being against him. also Dowd being mammy pally with Maurinho’s assistant.. Maybe if they has the 4th official acting as a 2nd ref (one in each half) which i have advocated for many a year, incidents like this would be solved immediately. The only teams to benefit from this will Chelsea who instead of playing 78 mins with 10 men, who might not have got to the final and the 3 subsequent teams they play if Costa is banned. nothing in favour of Liverpool.

    • Sir Cecil

      January 29, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      A booked Liverpool player subsequently handled the ball clearly and deliberately, requiring the award of a free kick, but was not booked for a second time and sent off as the rules demand. Nothing in favour of Liverpool?

      • yespage

        January 29, 2015 at 4:26 pm

        Wasn’t his first yellow card extremely soft, especially relative to the fouls that didn’t receive cards or were even called?

        • Flyvanescence

          January 29, 2015 at 4:58 pm

          Honestly Henderson and/or Lucas should definitely have gone, but Costa should have gone long before.

          • mm

            January 31, 2015 at 9:53 am

            If Costa had been sent off, none of the ensuing incidents would have happened.

  10. J

    January 29, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Costa was lucky he wasn’t charged with two stamps. This article shows your bias, not the FA’s.

    • christian

      January 29, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      I didn’t want to make that comment but I’m glad someone did. Bringing up Yaya as the inconsistency was the full tip of the hat.

    • Sir Cecil

      January 29, 2015 at 4:02 pm


  11. Ken Hawkins

    January 29, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Anybody who plays football at any level is very aware when he stamps or treads on an opponent. A normal person who does this accidentally will react in a very normal predictable way…he will flinch, pause and apologise because treading on a limb is very different from treading on grass. If however it is deliberate, the offender will feign ignorance or innocence, act nonchalant, while looking away from the scene. This is precisely what Costa did. He knew without a shadow of a doubt

    • Sir Cecil

      January 29, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      Nonsense. The Liverpool player outstretched his leg to deliberately kick the ball away, in order to stop Costa legitimately trying to retrieve it. It was the LIVERPOOL PLAYER who deliberately extended his leg, in contrast to Costa who moved only in the direct of the ball that had been kicked away. IF ANYTHING, Costa showed restraint and total focus on the ball and IGNORED the Liverpool player’s action. Costa was not looking in the Liverpool player’s direction and was not responsible for the Liverpool player outstretching his leg. Indeed, if Costa had gone over instead of staying upright, Can would have been in trouble for sticking his leg out and tripping him!

      • christian

        January 29, 2015 at 4:02 pm


      • Yespage

        January 29, 2015 at 10:17 pm

        Yeah. He kicked it away, no doubt. But Costa short stepped in order to land the cleat on Can.

    • Flyvanescence

      January 29, 2015 at 4:56 pm

      Totally agree, and i play all the time. It definitely can happen accidentally, but it would then be followed by an acknowledgement that it happened and wasnt intentional.

      Costa isa thug, trained by the most cavemen of managers, who loves a little dirty gamesmanship, just like his many others at his old club.

  12. christian

    January 29, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    I’d say Costa has a history of this sort of behavior that probably doesn’t work in his favor. If not this incident then there will certainly be another. Mourinho planted the seed already about a conspiracy so no matter the facts he can hide behind those words.

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