This column has long argued for video evidence to be used in football, but in the meantime, wouldn’t a bit of common sense be helpful? At the weekend, Emmerson Boyce was dismissed in the game against Newcastle for two yellow card offences. The referee, Andre Marriner, then admits that having watched the video evidence, he made a mistake in cautioning the player a second time. Fair play to him for that. Wigan, who were leading 1 – 0 at the time and comfortably in control, go on to trail 2 – 1 before ending up with a 2 – 2 draw. That, you might think, is punishment enough. But no. Because of Fifa’s ridiculous rules, Boyce can’t be reprieved and will now miss Wigan’s next game against Everton. In other words, even though it’s been proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Boyce is innocent, Fifa still consider him to be guilty. All of which flies in the face of several occasions where Fifa officials have gone unpunished after protesting' their innocence over ‘dodgy dealing’ even though the weight of evidence would suggest that they are as guilty as sin.
Confidently arrogant or arrogantly confident
What’s the difference between arrogance and confidence? Nationality, that’s what. Asked where he saw himself in the Fifa World Player of the Year rankings, Manchester United’s Portuguese international Cristiano Ronaldo said: “I am the first, second and third best player in the world. But there are other good candidates.” That’s confidence. Just imagine for a second that a few years back, when he was at his pomp, that David Beckham had come out with something similar. He’d have been derided as being arrogant little Englander. It’s the same the world over and in any sport. If an Aussie predicts victory against the Poms in rugby union – confidence. If an Englishman dares suggest the result might go the other way – arrogance. Mind you, in terms of international results of late, it may be that the confidence of any Englishman is misplaced at best.
On that subject, it’s been a depressing few days for English sport. The cricketers have been hammered twice by India, the rugby league team completed a dire World Cup campaign with a second defeat to New Zealand within 8 days and Martin Johnson’s young guns were taught a harsh lesson about the realities of test match rugby union by the Wallabies. So it now rests with Fabio Capello to rescue what has been a desperate week. On the down side, he goes in to tonight’s friendly against Germany without 8 first team regulars. On the other hand, the last time England played in Germany they hammered the hosts 5 – 1. And that was with Sven in charge. If the ‘Swedish Shagger’ can engineer such a terrific result, there must be hope for England’s Italian stallion.
Opinion seems to be divided on Nike’s new Mercurial Vapor IV Berry – the ‘pink’ football boot. Certainly, the comments received on Footy Boots would suggest that fans are split pretty much 50 – 50. However, perhaps there is a chance here to persuade everyone that they are a good thing. A number of international cricketers, most noticeably Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds of Australia, have been using pink bat handles for a time to promote awareness of breast cancer. Rather than being purely a fashion item, couldn’t Nike champion their pink footbal boot in association with a similar charity? Mind you, there’s a good chance that, unless they are hugely talented, most pink MV IV wearers will be unmercifully kicked up in the air on a Sunday Morning, bringing awareness to nothing more than a bruised backside.