If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen
DOESN’T SEEM right, does it, when the bad guy gets off on a technicality even when everyone knows he done it?
Maybe he bashed up and robbed an old lady, but the video footage proving it was him is inadmissible because the security camera was supposed to be pointed in the other direction at the time so the crook goes free.
That’s what happened last week. If you saw the incident last season you’ll never forget it because it’s among the worst tackles ever seen on a football field with Waitakere’s normally law-abiding Commins Menapi nearly snapping Ricki van Steeden of Auckland City in two when he launched himself horizontally, studs first, into Van Steeden’s upper shin.
He was rightly sent off, but when the ref saw the tackle again on the telly he upgraded the charge, resulting in Menapi getting a six match ban, which was a step in the right direction, but still too light.
But it’s not fair, said Menapi’s people. If the game hadn’t been on TV, the ref wouldn’t have seen it again and his first call would have stood.
Tough. Some tennis games have computerised line calling gizmos, some don’t. Some league games have a man in the stand with a TV monitor, some don’t. Some swimming races have electronic timing, some have people leaning over the pool with stopwatches. If you’re playing serious sport, there’s a chance you’re going to enjoy, or suffer, the benefits of modern technology. If you don’t like it, play social sport.
Anyway, after all the usual toing, froing, lobbying, legal talking, clause-invoking and loopholing that’s become as important to football clubs in this country as scoring goals, the ban was cut to one match.
One match? Despite whatever it says on page 138, paragraph 4, section (f), subsection III, Menapi should have been banned for a season and given a warning that any similar such assaults would see him gone for good. And no amount of verbal gymnastics will convince me otherwise.
Speaking of discipline, football introduced red and yellow cards at the World Cup in 1970, but the sport lags behind other codes when it comes to onfield justice.
Let’s say a team is cheating all day. They pick up six yellow cards for persistent fouling. How does that help their victims? The team that benefits will be the one who plays the bad guys six weeks later, when the yellow cards add up to a suspension.
To ensure justice for the aggrieved team, football should use the sinbin favoured by other codes. Players who’ll happily take a yellow card to stop a promising attack will think twice if they get a yellow AND 15 minutes on the bench.
Would that be enough? Or would the Argentinas and Uruguays of the game, the teams for whom blocking, holding, and tripping come as naturally as breathing, keep doing it, taking the sinbins, and then defending and timewasting until they get their man back on?
In that case, football must borrow from basketball, which knows that the only way to beat the cheaters is via the scoreboard. In football, for every five fouls you commit, you should concede a penalty.
Radical? Yes, but necessary, because in the battle between good and evil for control of Planet Football, the tossers are winning.