FA crazy to increase Hazard punishment
When Alan Pardew pushed an assistant referee during the first game of the season, I said the Football Association should 'throw the book' at the Newcastle manager.
Yes, Pardew barely touched him and yes, he apologised afterwards, but there is simply no excuse for a football manager laying his hands on an official.
The same applies to Eden Hazard after he kicked out at a Swansea ball boy on Wednesday. Yes, he barely touched the ball boy and yes, he apologised afterwards, but that does not excuse his actions.
However, Pardew was handed only a two-match ban for pushing the assistant referee, and Hazard was already facing an automatic three-match suspension after being shown a red card on the night by Chris Foy. I am bemused as to why the FA believes Hazard deserves an even greater punishment.
What he did was wrong, but in no way is a player kicking the ball from underneath a ball boy who was clearly timewasting a more serious offence than a manager shoving an assistant referee because he was annoyed about a decision.
As usual, the FA's decision making leaves a lot to be desired.
Whelan let-off ridiculous
While Hazard faces a potential five-match ban, Stoke midfielder Glenn Whelan has escaped any retrospective action for his awful challenge on Manchester City's Javi Garcia on Saturday.
Apparently, Howard Webb saw the incident at the time but did not have a clear enough view to judge the severity of Whelan's tackle. Because it was not an off-the-ball incident, the FA are unable to take action according to their rules.
Wayne Rooney escaped punishment for elbowing Wigan's James McCarthy in 2011 because of the same loophole in the rules. It's ridiculous.
It is a fact of life that referees will miss things from time to time, but the FA should take action against every piece of violent conduct not dealt with sufficiently at the time. A loophole that has allowed Whelan to escape punishment clearly needs to be removed.
In the past two weeks, the FA have upset referees by overturning Vincent Kompany's red card; failing to explain why; charging Hazard because a three-game ban "was clearly insufficient"; and now letting Whelan off scot-free for the type of reckless tackle which should never be allowed to go unpunished.
Odemwingie shows lack of respect
Peter Odemwingie's recent attempt to play the victim sums up the mentality of many footballers these days.
The West Brom striker has made up his mind that he would like to join QPR and, as far as he is concerned, Albion should grant him a move regardless of their own needs.
Barring a last-minute change of heart, the Baggies will not be adding to their squad before Thursday's transfer deadline. It's obviously understandable then, that they do not want to allow their third highest goalscorer this season to leave.
Unlike others, I can understand why players might want to move to QPR, but I definitely can't understand why Odemwingie believes what he wants is more important than what his club wants.
Lambert fighting a losing battle
After Aston Villa were knocked out of the FA Cup by Millwall on Friday night, Paul Lambert refused to answer questions from the Birmingham Mail's reporter in his post-match press conference, creating what the Guardian described as an "awkward silence".
Presumably, the Birmingham Mail has printed something Lambert is not happy with.
I won't name names, but this sort of behaviour is common among managers. Many of them expect local newspapers to be almost an extended arm of the club's media department, offering constant and unwavering support.
Many local newspapers, desperate to avoid losing the access they rely on, pander to a manager's wishes, providing a positive view even in the face of great negativity. I suspect the Birmingham Mail will be forced to apologise to Lambert to smooth relations and will avoid printing anything that could upset the Scot in future.
Unfortunately, a newspaper that does not reflect the views of its readership is often not a newspaper worth reading. For that, Villa fans will have Lambert to thank.
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