Wednesday, February 28, 2007


As Charlton fans, we probably ought not to be surprised anymore that we are treated with contempt by the authorities, but how could we fail to be astonished that Robbie Keane's appeal against his red card, whilst not upheld, was not extended due to 'frivolity.'

The attached video shows the incident in question (it's about 30 seconds in). It looked like a blatant handball on the line and obvious penalty....end of story, surely? I don't know if Keane plays tennis, but if so he impersonated a delicious drop volley with his left hand (almost McEnroe-esque I might add).

Spurs appealed it (as is their right) but must have been concerned about the precdent set by the FA in the case of "Riley vs Sankofa". Alas it seems that the concept of stare decisis does not apply when the defendant is 'big club' Tottenham Hostpur, and all-round good bloke Robbie Keane.

Perhaps they were still feeling guilty about the Premier League's decision after 'Lasagne-gate' at the end of last season (even though it turned out to be gastric flu), and thought they deserved an even break. However the fact that Martin Jol didn't pick Danny Murphy amongst others that day (in favour of players who were sick) surely denied them any chance of a sympathetic hearing (that's probably why they didn't get one - Ed.)

I mean, who has ever heard of Osei Sankofa? You could just imagine the reaction of the FA Disciplinary Committee, after learning they would be called back from their New Year foxhunting trips to review Sankofa's case.

Frivolous is defined variously as, "...characterised by lack of seriousness...", "...self-indulgently carefree...", "...of little or no weight." Now I've never met Peter Varney, but his media persona suggests he is not especially prone to regular bouts of 'self-indulgent carefreeness.'

The case for the Sakofa appeal rested solely on the fairly obvious fact (to all except Riley and the FA) that Sankofa had not denied a goalscoring opportunity since Talal El Karkouri was clearly getting to the ball first regardless of Sankofa's foolish intervention.

And anyhow, our real bugbear was not so much the red card (Riley in fairness only had one look), but the accusation that the appeal was frivolous. Surely TV evidence proved it was anything but, yet even if they could (just) still rest upon a degree of uncertainty about whether Robin Van Persie would have got to the ball first, where was the frivolity?

I'm not sure we ever heard the full result of Charlton's High Court appeal. Indeed given that the damage is already done (ie. Sankofa was obliged to miss two games) then it's arguably a pointless exercise. But it does make you wonder why the most popular game in the world which generates billions of pounds in income is run, to paraphrase Will Carling, by a bunch of clueless and unaccountable old farts.


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