Tuesday, April 10

Stories Of the Day: Retroactive

Before Chelsea was unveiled as the MLS All-Star opponent, the topic of the day appeared to be retroactive punishments…

Out of England: The referee saw the foul, therefore, according to FIFA and the England FA no punishment could be handed out to Manchester City’s Mario Balotelli for a nasty studs-up challenge on Alex Song of Arsenal this weekend. "Retrospective action can only be taken in scenarios where none of the Match Officials saw the players coming together.”

In the U.S. of A: In Major League Soccer, however, New England’s Shalrie Joseph got more than his game-issued yellow card for his tackle from behind on FC Dallas’ Ricardo Villar. The league suspended the Revolution captain one game in addition to the levy of a fine. 

The retroactive punishment situation is becoming an increasingly discussed topic. Whether or not a ball crosses the line in any given league match is nothing in comparison to a grizzly tackle that takes a player out of the lineup for weeks, if not months at a time. It is still amazing that in this modern time of the sport when we all know that perceptions can greatly vary based on the angle in which you are viewing an incident, that FIFA has not amended this rule to give leagues more latitude in assessing penalties for match behavior.

And as frustrated as some fans may be, let me tell you that it can be just as bad for league officials who have their hands tied. As a long-time league administrator at USL, there were countless times when things occurred off the ball that we could not do anything about either due to lack of evidence or because of the laws of the game. Worse yet were red cards that could not be rescinded. There were almost always at least one or two cases each year in which a foul was either not as bad as the referee though or completely feigned by the player being fouled. But unless the player received the red card out of mistaken identity, there was nothing you could do.

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