It is about time referees promptly punish the first offence

Luis Suarez is in trouble again and judging by the now expected over the top reactions from the English media you could be excused for believing that he had committed a serious crime.

He shouldn’t have done it of course and no doubt the southern branch of the Ku Klux Klan aka the FA will make sure he receives a suitable punishment. Suarez will no doubt hope that he is given the same treatment as Ferdinand received for sarcastically clapping his hands in the face of the match referee when his team lost; but that is most doubtful.

To understand what led up to the biting incident, Ivanovic had been kicking lumps out of Suarez all afternoon and was giving him a cuddle in the box to stop the wee man from getting to the ball. So he bit him to escape from the big defenders clutches.

It has already been agreed that that was wrong and foolish because in my playing days you merely waited for the right moment to get your own back. Mind you the sliding tackle was not frowned upon then and a good well timed effort near the touchline ensured that the bad guy ended up scraping himself on the red blaze surface at the side of the pitch. It normally worked a treat.

I accept that fans are normally biased towards their own players but how often have you seen the referee turn a blind eye to a blatant foul only to be forced to blow for one when the man who was not awarded a free kick has one given against him a minute later for retaliation.

If referees penalised the first offence every time it would save a lot of anger and retaliatory misconduct on the part of others.

As Chris Waddell often says penalties should be given when defenders hold down the opposition in the box, or fouls awarded when the the offence is by the attacking side, but it is important to penalise the first offender every time. It doesn’t matter what the press or pundits say about letting the game flow as that is up to the players not the referee. He is not the one committing offences.
This is not an attempt to take contact out of a contact sport, but this contact sport has rules governing what type of contact is allowed and the sooner the players get the message we will all see better and fairer matches.

Allan Alexander.

A Alexander

Football daft for as long as I can remember. Lifelong Liverpool fan and Socialist. Has actually stood on the Anfield pitch. Played the game, refereed it and reported on it. Best playing time was at under 18 level and enjoyed indoor 5 aside until injury forced me out at 52.


  • Posted by Robert on April 26, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    a) The vast majority of offences in football are deemed trifling because if you were to call them all the game would become as boring as golf. Be physical but don’t bite, that’s common sense.
    b) Not sure whether you’re aware you have an international audience, but the legacy of the KKK here in US is still raw, painful, and divisive. I really don’t think you realize how grotesquely disproportionate the comparison between the KKK and the FA is, and it trivializes a major historic evil with modern reverberations. I can assure you that nobody here in the South is laughing.

  • Posted by Allan Alexander on April 27, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Hi Robert,
    My reference to the KKK in relation to the FA was to highlight it’s discriminatory approach to dealing out punishment. TWO players guilty of racism; one gets a 7 week ban and the other only four weeks. Same offence but different punishments perhaps because one was an England internationlist.
    No action against Rio Ferdinand for clapping his hands in the face of a referee because Man U had lost despite the much publised intent to crack down on lack of respect towards officials. Once again an English international player.
    As a former referee I can assure you that most offences are not regarded as trifling but refs have to contend with the reality that professional footballers are a sneaky bunch who seek to bend the rules at every opportunity, and it depends very much if you are a victim whether you regard the incident as trivial.
    As a quick example I once booked a player for winding up his opponent by merely making insulting remarks to him in the hope of drawing a foul. I gave him fair warning that I was aware of what he was up to and then carried out my warning to book him.
    A spectator would not understand why the player was booked but he certainly would have witnessed a likely sending off when the victim of your petty offence retaliated with interest. If you had referred to any degree you would know exactly what I am talking about.
    Finally my job is to provoke comment, so thanks for taking an interest.
    Cheers, Allan.

  • Posted by Robert on April 27, 2013 at 5:52 pm


    Let’s not get caught up in the definition of trifling, although you seem to think our experience levels are important so I’ll let you know that I am an active referee who’s reffed more than 200 games up to the adult men’s division one level in two different states and will be going to several national tournaments this Summer. But that’s not the point.
    The point is that this is the legacy we live with here: We can let others decide, but any racism you can accuse the FA of has absolutely no comparison to the violent terrorism of the KKK. Comparing an institutionalized regime of murder and torture to the group handing out match bans feels very disrespectful.


  • Posted by Allan Alexander on April 27, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Hullo again Robert,
    You seem to be a referee of some experience but perhaps some day you will fully appreciate the devious ways of professional footballers and blow your whistle accordingly. This is all about football Robert and not things, which in your mind is a nation’s bad legacy as there isn’t one country in the world that does not have something it would rather forget.
    Thanks again for your comments,