GIVE US POWER TO HAN­DLE BALOTELLI MO­MENTS

The Football League Paper - - GRAHAM WESTLEY -

SO WHAT does a manager do about a player like Mario Balotelli when he dis­obeys team or­ders and takes a penalty that the cap­tain is due to take?

In the nor­mal work­place, the av­er­age man or woman would prob­a­bly, jus­ti­fi­ably, be sacked for gross mis­con­duct if they acted against in­struc­tions that had been given.

Last week, I was told about a player who walked in from train­ing be­cause he didn’t like the ses­sion be­ing put on and af­ter a train­ing ground de­ci­sion had gone against him. I’m not aware if he was pun­ished; I guess he could say he ‘felt a ham­string’ even though his squad knew the re­al­ity.

Imag­ine that on a build­ing site! Imag­ine telling a fore­man that you aren’t paint­ing the walls be­cause you don’t like the colour of the paint! Would you be in a job on the fol­low­ing morn­ing?

Lu­di­crously, foot­ball man­agers op­er­ate in a sys­tem in which play­ers can act in th­ese ways and es­cape cen­sor­ship.

Cer­tain play­ers can be a law unto them­selves.

Steven Ger­rard called Balotelli ‘dis­re­spect­ful’. He will not have used the word lightly. He knows the type of pro­fes­sional con­duct that is right and that which is wrong. So do we all.

The sooner that we put man­agers in a po­si­tion to pun­ish of­fend­ers prop­erly, the sooner we can ex­pect to elim­i­nate such ego­tis­ti­cal be­hav­iour.

We don’t want kids think­ing author­ity is there to be un­der­mined. It should be re­spected for the good of us all.

Of course, author­ity must be used wisely and im­ple­mented with de­cency. But it is rea­son­able for a manager to de­cide who takes a penalty.

And it is rea­son­able to be able to kick a player out of the door if he pub­licly dis­putes and acts against that in­struc­tion.

The sooner we cre­ate a sys­tem that em­pow­ers a manager prop­erly, the bet­ter. The re­sult will be a more dis­ci­plined game set­ting con­sis­tently high stan­dards for the wider au­di­ence.

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