Categorized | Jason Parker

Six Isn’t Enough


I would like to the the first to stand up and congratulate UEFA for banning Didier Drogba six matches and Jose Bosingwa four for their antics in Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final against Barcelona. I am a shocked to see that Michael Ballack wasn’t forced to sit some games out as well. Not only do I think the penalties are fair, I feel they should have been harsher and I’m stupefied that Chelsea are now appealing the ban. For that alone, if I were UEFA, I would extend the suspensions to include all group matches the club plays in next season’s Champions League. If UEFA’s respect campaign is to ever have true meaning they need to stand their ground and uphold their decision.

If Drogba and Bosingwa’s suspensions are reduced, or god forbid, retracted, it means open season on the referees. As I wrote at the time, Chelsea’s actions at the end that match were embarrassing and completely disrespectful to the game. If these players go unpunished or are let off with a slap on the wrist, it further diminishes the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. What’s going to happen the next time a referee makes an unpopular decision on a controversial play? And as we saw in the Chelsea-Barcelona semi-final, a referee can be faced with a good number of them during the course of a match.

Maybe some people didn’t see Ballack chasing the referee for forty yards or Drogba swearing at the TV cameras as that big of a deal, but I couldn’t disagree more. Aside from the magnitude of these matches, there are tremendous amounts of money riding on these games. The Champions League can generate tens of millions of dollars for the clubs, not to mention the commercial and marketing money that comes with winning it. Careers are on the line, so of course a player or coach is going to show emotion during a match. But they must remember that they must control themselves and that the referee is in charge. The referee must be respected at all times and those who don’t should be severely punished. If they aren’t, the entire game suffers.

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