Kenny Dalglish has echoed the thoughts of many football supporters and journalists this week by turning the focus on to The Football Association and their procedures.
Speaking in his column in The Mirror, Kenny questioned how independent the “independent panel” actually is, saying that “their disciplinary system has now become so confused and riddled with anomalies that it is farcical”.
The FA chooses who sits on it to begin with. Does that make it ‘independent’?
And who sits on it? An ex-player, an FA council member and a lawyer already known to the FA.
So there’s an FA council member on an ‘independent’ FA commission. That’s convenient.
And there’s an ex-player, who would probably like to do more work for the FA. That’s convenient, too.
Are they paid, by the way? Are they paid by the FA? Do they do it for free? I don’t know the answer to those questions but
I’d like to know.
The point is that the structure of an FA disciplinary procedure like this is inherently unfair.
If you commit a crime in this country, you get the right for your case to be heard by a jury that has no affiliation or responsibility to the people prosecuting you.
Again, all very good questions to which The FA consistently fail to provide answers or solutions to.
Note that Dalglish is not defending Suarez’s behaviour, and nor are we, what Suarez did was wrong but now The FA’s disciplinary procedures are being widely criticised.
“For the benefit of football in this country, there has got to be greater clarification of the rules and more balance in the way offenders are judged” says Dalglish.
Meanwhile, columnist Brian Reade asks in his column, also in The Mirror:
Why the FA prioritised playing to that gallery, handing out a 10-game ban which left them open to allegations they recoil more at the sight of teeth on skin than the sound of studs snapping tibias or “f***ing black ****” being yelled at a fellow pro.
Even Alex Ferguson has questioned the length of the ban (yes, you read that right). “I can understand how Liverpool are aggrieved at it, I must say that,” said the United boss.
In January 2012 it was revealed how The FA had a 99.5% conviction rate.
This comes the day after the new head of the Premier League, Anthony Fry, was revealed to be a Man United fan, meaning three of the key people who run English football are United fans – adding to The FA chairman and vice-chairman (Greg Dyke and David Gill).
As Rafa Benitez pointed out, you cannot have an independent and fair governing body when FA executives are also executives of Manchester United (or any football club for that matter).