The latest seemingly random decision from the Football Association came in conjunction with the unpleasant exchange between Tyrone Mings of Bournemouth and Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United.
Mings was given a five match suspension for stamping on the extraordinarily conceited Swede. The ban for Ibrahimovic’s retaliatory elbow into Mings’ mush was three matches. Bournemouth are miffed at the discrepancy in punishments.
As well they might be. Even if we ignore the fact that Ibrahimovic had also stamped on Mings first, we still have to wonder who decides that a stamp is worse than an elbow – and why.
As per the laws of the game, serious foul play is: “A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality.” There is no mention of intent.
But both players here have not been done for serious foul play, it was violent conduct, even though the laws state that this must be done “deliberately.”
It is quite obvious from television that only Mings himself can be certain as to whether or not his stamp was deliberate.
The same cannot be said of Ibrahimovic and his elbow. In a post-match interview he came out with his “he jumped into my elbow” gag. But when it came down to it, he spared himself further public derision by accepting the charge.
Mings had every reason to contest his charge and duly did so. The association turned him down, decided that he had acted intentionally and walloped him with the five matches (technically Mings could sue the FA for libel).
The lighter sanction against Ibrahimović is something of a puzzle.
It’s almost as if the FA had chosen to do what they liked with the player from the little club, but then decided that Ibrahimovic had something about him that resulted in less punitive measures.
Some have even gone as far as to suggest that it was a certain; he-plays-for-Manchester-Unitedness, that got him the lesser punishment. Those wacky conspiracy theorists eh?
Worse still is that neither player will be suspended when their respective teams play Sunderland. Justice?