Football Diary

by Patrick O'Connor


I've just had the opportunity to catch via YouTube on the offence which got Wayne Rooney sent off in the Euro 2012 Championship qualifier against Montenegro in October.

So it with some bemusement that I read that the England forward has got a three match ban reduce to two which means he will now be available for England's third group D game against Ukraine in the finals next summer.

Rooney will still miss the first two group games but the decision by Uefa, after an appeal hearing in Switzerland, is a big boost for England.

The third match of his ban has been suspended for four years and Rooney also agreed to give up some of his valuable time to do one day of community service with a Uefa project.

According to the BBC, it is believed that the Football Association argued a three-match ban that affects games in the finals of a major tournament is a harsher sanction than a suspension of a similar length which would just affect qualifying games.

Rooney had previously admitted the kick was "stupid" but maintained that the ban was "a bit harsh".

What a joke. It was a nasty, petulant kick from a player with previous and a three match ban was perfectly correct.

Several Premier League managers have expressed their concern about the decision.

Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool) pointed out that the FA did not set a good example by appealing against the length of the ban.

"I find it a bit strange the FA are supposed to be setting an example for things yet they appeal against Wayne Rooney's ban."

Harry Redknapp (Tottenham) said the stance “opens up a can of worms”

Redknapp said the organisation had double standards because, had a player committed an offence similar to Rooney's in domestic football, he believes a three-game ban would be upheld rigorously.

“For them to get it from three to two, it opens up a can of worms,” he said.

“There will be clubs appealing against bans and they will want to know why they aren't getting it cut from three to two for similar situations.

“People will look at it and think, 'Hang on, the FA have gone and appealed against his [Rooney's] red, why can't we?'

David Moyes (Everton) said that while he supported the FA's action on Rooney, he contrasted it with their treatment of club appeals.

"You should see us when we try to appeal - it's absolute murder. I've got to say, the times that I have been in front them, it's like a kangaroo court - you've got no chance."

Tony Pulis (Stoke City) said: “It is not as if it was a 50-50 challenge or it was mis-timed, he (Rooney) has actually booted someone from behind.

“It would be interesting to see if a player from an English club actually went and appealed on a similar incident what the FA would have done - I think that is the point Kenny is trying to make.

“I don't think it would have been rescinded.

"I don't think it sets a precedent but it is almost a situation where they (the FA) have worked the system and the system has worked for them.”

Yet another example on Saturday of how unpredictable football can be at times.

Struggling Championship side Ipswich, who had lost their previous seven games, went to Barnsley, who had won five of their last six matches.

At half time Barnsley were two up and Ipswich manager Paul Jewell must have been fearing the worst when it came to his employment prospects.

But an astounding second half of breathtaking football saw Ipswich win the game 5-3!