Talking Sport: Suarez ban shows FA’s priorities are all wrong - again

Luis Suarez - was his bite ban too long?
Luis Suarez - was his bite ban too long?

On the FA’s website, you can find their mission statement, which states it ‘aims to deliver an effective and professional organisation for the greater good of English football’ - writes Patrick Norrie.

One could ask if the ten-game ban given to Luis Suarez for his bite serves English football the greatest good?

What this ban does portray is that FA’s decision-making is arbitrary. For while the bite was admittedly very strange behaviour, it surely was far less serious than a footballer breaking his opponent’s leg. The latter is a much more widespread problem in the game, yet the FA keep on setting the wrong example.

In 2010, Ryan Shawcross got a three-game ban for breaking Aaron Ramsay’s leg, a potentially career-ending tackle. Furthermore, according to FA’s warped logic, a bite deserves a longer ban than racism.

Does selecting the kick-off time of the FA Cup final at 5.15pm serve the greatest good for English football? The Football Supporters’ Federation certainly don’t think so: “Manchester City and Wigan Athletic fans are being asked to pay for an overnight stay in London to satisfy the whims of a TV company.”

By the time the game finishes, it is likely many fans from the north-west will miss the last train back home.

It was interesting to see Alex Horne, FA general secretary, attempt to defuse the situation by informing the critics that ‘we’re now used to consuming our football in those time slots’.

Such a peculiar phrasing not only highlights how out of touch the FA is, but also reveals that the FA are prioritising television revenue over supporters’ welfare.

Sadly, this is not the first time the FA has neglected the welfare of supporters.

As shown in the findings of the Hillsborough independent panel, it was a scandalous decision to select a stadium that had an out-of-date safety certificate for the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

In 1981, 37 Tottenham fans were injured in a crush in the Leppings Lane End during an FA Cup match. As the Hillsborough Independent report states: “The risks were known and the crush in 1989 was foreseeable.”

It is about time the FA started representing the interest of supporters for the greater good of English football, as their website suggests they do.

Do you agree with Patrick? Was Suarez’s ban too long when compared with shorter bans for other offences?

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