Wrexham’s helping hand is so wrong
IT’S been a fantastic season for Welsh football. Swansea won the League Cup to secure European football next year. Cardiff clinched promotion to the top flight after 51 years away. And all by themselves too. So it’s a real shame the Welsh FA felt the need to spoil things by shamelessly giving Wrexham a leg-up in the Conference play-offs. David Artell, who scored the Dragons’ opener in their 2-1 semi-final first-leg win over Kidderminster this week, shouldn’t have been anywhere near that pitch.
Sent off in the dying moments of Wrexham’s final game of the season for a high tackle, he should have been starting a three-match ban.
But, on appeal to the Welsh FA, Artell had his ban overturned, allowing him to take part in the play-offs.
Yes, that’s right. Despite being sent off in an English league by an English referee,Wrexham were allowed to take their case to the Welsh FA who – surprise, surprise – found in their favour.
Just like they did when Cardiff’s Darren Purse had his ban overturned on the eve of the 2008 FA Cup final. Just like they did when Swansea striker Lee Trundle was exonerated for a two-footed tackle against Rochdale’s Jamie Clarke in 2005.
Then, as with Artell, they put out a risible statement saying that the “sending off was sufficient punishment”.
not class. FORM wins play-offs,
both. And Brighton, though, possess
rivals for a place in the that should make their Premier League very afraid.
tasted since the Seagulls last It is eight games for being
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their Achilles heel. Goals? That was once
they are now flying to Brighton’s brains, Ulloa adding brawn tr ounced 6-1 last
place. Ask Blackpool, in from all over the week. of the year in
Championship player Watford have the Palace have the
deadly on the break. Matej Vydra and are top scorer in
and the division’s magical Wilfried Zaha Leicester
are bang in form, while Glenn Murray. Bolton
in spades. play-off experience and Forest have
their run like Brighton. But, nobody has timed
the Seagulls’ quality And nobody can match
For my money, they right across the park.
team come will be a Premier League
Are we really supposed to swallow this nonsense? Artell was sent off in the 87th-minute of a match that meant nothing, effectively making his ‘punishment’ a three-minute ban. How is that in any way sufficient?
Besides, a red card for violent conduct carries a mandatory three-game suspension. By overturning the ban but not the dismissal, the FAW have flagrantly rewritten the rules. They might as well just stick two fingers up at the English FA, and Kidderminster.
Wrexham did not cheat. The FAW did not cheat. They acted within the rules, however ludicrous those rules may be. But that does not make it right.
The behaviour of the Welsh authorities in this case goes way beyond poor sportsmanship. They deliberately helped a Welsh side gain an advantage over an English rival.
If Wrexham do battle their way out of the Conference, good on them. They are entitled to exploit any loophole.
But any entry into the Football League should be made conditional upon them ditching any affiliation to the Welsh FA and coming under English jurisdiction – just as Swansea and Cardiff agreed in May 2011.
This is not about nationalism. It is about fairness. And there is nothing fair about a league where punishments differ depending on which side of the Severn you sit.
FLYING HIGH: Brighton’s Leo Ulloa is helping to make the Seagulls the Championship team to beat