Unprofessional Foul
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May 6, 2009

Dear Wankers: Know the Rules!

Dear RVP: You almost missed it.

Alright, you all knew it was coming. The Gooners among us have crawled back out from under the blankets and are once again able to converse (if by converse you mean yell obscenities at Ronaldo). There is not much to say from our perspective regarding the traveshamockery at the Emirates last night. Manchester United dominated our injury-riddled squad (yes, I’m allowed to throw in the qualifying statement) and full credit to them for making it to Rome.

Everyone is, of course, conversing about the Darren Fletcher penalty and red card. And sickeningly, most people are saying that it was an undeserved card and some are even so deluded as to say that it was not a PK.

Off the Post has video of the incident, and labels that video “Harsh, very harsh” arguing that “Darren Fletcher gets his foot to the ball before making contact with Cesc Fabregas.”

Goal.com claims that “television replays seemed to indicate that Fletcher’s challenge in fact resulted in his touching the ball, making it legal.”

The Independent tell us that “Fletcher’s red card for what looked like a fair 75th-minute challenge on Cesc Fabregas is unlikely to be rescinded.”

The Telegraph (apparently run by SAF), states unequivocally that “A glory night for Manchester United was blemished when Darren Fletcher was controversially ruled out of the Champions League final after being sent off during an emphatic semi-final victory over Arsenal.”

[NOTE: All emphases are mine - I'm trying to make a point here!]

Only Graham Poll (yes, yes – he of the 3 yellow cards) got it right, noting:

“When commentators and former players say: ‘He got the ball, it can’t be a foul,’ they are wrong. Even though Fletcher got a slight touch on the ball, Rosetti felt it was impossible for the Manchester United midfielder to avoid taking his opponent in the follow-through. Therefore, he had no option but to dismiss the Scot.”

How do I know that Poll is correct? Because FIFA tells me so. On that page you will find a link to a PDF version of “The Laws of the Game.” Turn to page 33 of that PDF to sections entitled “Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct”, with subsections on “Direct Free Kick” and “Penalty Kick” and you will find:

“A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following six offences in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:

� kicks or attempts to kick an opponent

� trips or attempts to trip an opponent

A penalty kick is awarded if any of the above ten offences is committed by a player inside his own penalty area, irrespective of the position of the ball, provided it is in play.

Darren Fletcher: (1) tripped his opponent; and (2) was inside his own penalty area with the ball still in play. Ergo, a PK. He was also the last defender on a clear goal-scoring opportunity. The latter, when committing a foul deemed deserving of a PK, receives a RC.

Explain to me again how this isn’t a PK?

So, you think it wasn’t a PK?

LEARN THE RULES, YOU WANKER!



About the Author

Unprofessional Foul





25 Comments


  1. WhiteSpeedReceiver

    It’s a foul. It’s a red card. Fletcher misses the final.

    Seems simple enough, doesn’t it?


  2. Sarah

    Thank you.

    It was clearly a red. I have also been getting pretty annoyed at Man U fans’ outrage at this call. Stop f**king whining already, just because one call didn’t go your way one time.


  3. The NY Kid

    @WSR – you almost make me want to like a ManUre fan. Almost.


  4. Eladio

    So then obviously the PK called on Gomes in the ManUre/Sp*rs game was justified, since even tho Gomes got the ball, he tripped the United player. Correct?


  5. Lingering Bursitis

    Eladio: I believe the rules are different for goalkeepers, much like the rules are different for Manchester United.

    (I kid, I kid)


  6. Eladio

    I guess my point is that in almost every challenge, the person doing the challenging ends up tripping the person with the ball. But if the FIFA rules state that if the person is tripped, no matter if the challenger was able to gain possession of the ball or not, that it should always be a direct free kick awarded.

    If that’s the case, then it seems that every official in every football league in the world is not officiating correctly.

    Oh, I almost forgot: And f**k United and that c**t Ronaldo. F**k them right up the ass.


  7. Lingering Bursitis

    Like I said, I’m pretty sure there are different governing rules regarding goalkeepers, as they’re allowed to slide/dive for the ball and hit it with their hands.

    Not entirely sure though, as it would require effort on my part to go look.


  8. The NY Kid

    @Eladio – in all honesty, I believe that the crucial difference is that: (a) Fletcher took down Fabregas from behind and Fabs had no chance to avoid the tackle; and (b) the player (can’t remember who it was) could have jumped over Gomes/avoided the trip


  9. The NY Kid

    also, LB is right – we keepers can do anything we want in the box short of going Cantona


  10. Lingering Bursitis

    NY Kid – try telling that to Harald Schumacher (ouch)


  11. Keith

    I think the positioning of the player comes into account, too. From the front, it’s possible that “ball-first” is OK if you wipe out the player on follow through, because the player can see the tackle coming and presumably, avoid contact. Sliding in from behind, and in fact scissoring an opponent’s leg, however, should always be a card.


  12. Keith

    So I’m basically agreeing with Kid (damn your fast fingers)


  13. The NY Kid

    heh, Keith said “scissoring”


  14. JT

    I mean, basically those who don’t think it was a card/PK are saying it’s ok to do whatever you want to a player in possession, as long as you get a touch on the ball.

    Fletcher barely touched it, and wiped out Fabregas in the process. Plus all that guff about being the last defender and tackling from behind comes into play, right?


  15. Precious Roy

    This might ultimately be Poll’s greatest contribution to society. He is fighting a mission against this near universally held and incorrect notion that getting the ball gives you some sort of amnesty with regard to fouling.

    Enjoy Rome, Fletcher. At least you’ll have a nice seat from which to watch.


  16. The Fan's Attic

    I always use that excuse in my games with the ref. I say “I got the ball…I didn’t touch him.”

    Never works if I took him out from the back or came in from the front with wild abandon.

    Keepers get so much leeway, so long as they are making a play on the ball.


  17. Erik Sweet

    It was a foul. It was a penalty. And it’s a shame that someone with the work-rate and passion that Fletch has won’t be able to play in the final.

    Being in the starting XI would be a fitting reward for carrying the side during the early months of the year when Rooney wasn’t scoring, and Ronaldo was nursing his injured ankle.

    viva Fletcherinho. :-)


  18. offthepost

    By way of response to the accusations that I’m a) wrong and b) a wanker….

    The law is an ass, as they say. So perhaps it was a penalty if you want to enforce the letter of the law, but by that reckoning almost every slide tackle in history would be a foul.

    It is very unusual for a player to be slide tackled and not end up on the ground. Surely you could make the same argument about the cleanest of slide tackles? ‘He got the ball but he then prevented the player from being able to play the ball because the player tripped over him.

    Common sense has to prevail in these situations. Is that on sale anywhere in NY?


  19. JT

    @offthepost

    It was a shoddy challenge that barely touched the ball. By virtue of being the last defender and coming in from behind, he absolutely clattered Fabregas.

    Just how I see it, anyways.


  20. The NY Kid

    @offthepost

    (1) you were wrong
    (2) given your last sentence, you are also a wanker


  21. bergkampesdios

    Since I’m not yet comfortable talking about that other team without anger and vitriole, I’d just like to mention that Bendtner is standing around like a f*cking telephone pole as Cesc is scythed down (illegally. period.) Down three nil, a striker, and he can’t be found anywhere near the goal let alone box. To everything holy I pray he’s wearing some sort of Bundesliga jersey next year.


  22. The Fan's Attic

    Bendter was thinking about how good his underwear were going to look in the tabloids.


  23. Precious Roy

    Bendtner would look fab in a Galaxy jersey.


  24. Dustin

    Thank you for this post. After hearing the commentators (That scottish guy mostly) talk about this I turned off the television. This is the most clear you can possibly make it. Thank you.


  25. machine gooner funk

    NYK good post. yea F**K TOMMY SMYTH RIGHT IN THE ASS. that cocksucker has his head shoved so far up united and chelsea’s asses its despicable. thank yaweh we dont have to hear his “in the old onion bag” schtick anymore after this year. the guy trips cesc and crumbles him and tommy (while wiping SAF’s spooge off his mouth) sees the replay and spent the next 5 minutes blathering on about the “horrible injustice” done to united even though they were still 2 up for the game and 3 up on aggregate. utter c**t



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