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Whatever happened to honesty and sportsmanship?

Posted on February 20, 2014 by Guest Writer

On Tuesday Manchester City took on one of the heavyweights of European football Barcelona hoping to show that they had finally arrived themselves as a European force to be reckoned with, though they put up a terrific show they failed to stamp their authority on the game even changing their gameplan to accommodate the opposition, no surprise there had it been the away fixture perhaps. Early in the second half City made a couple of fatal errors, firstly Navas their flying little winger having lost possession of the ball went to ground attempting to gain an advantage by winning a free kick, as their players hesitated Barcelona struck and though the initial contact with Messi might have been fractionally outside the penalty box it was a clear foul, a clear goalscoring opportunity and the referee had no option but show a red card irrespective of whether it was in or out of the box.

After the game their coach Pelligrini clearly lost the plot and turned on the referee and even his country of origin suggesting that for some reason his ability as a referee is tainted because Sweden are not powerhouses in world football, it was also clear that the Chilean had done his homework in preparation for a defeat even suggesting the referee paid back Barcelona for some bad decisions he allegedly gave against them a couple of years ago!

After the Tottenham game the Chilean was also asked if he thought that the decision to award a 51st minute penalty to his team and to send off Danny Rose was the turning point in the match.

“I don’t think the penalty was the turning point,”

So what was the difference yesterday?

Last night Arsenal took on the current European Champions Bayern Munich and yet again the dreaded red card was shown when the home keeper rushed out and clattered into Robben and yet again a penalty followed and the obligatory red card shown because that is the current rule governing such situations. Arsene Wenger as expected turned against the officials and Robben suggesting that he dived. Now I generally have sympathy for keepers, opposing players know how to win a penalty and frequently run into keepers and draw an unjust spot kick, Robben like many other players also “dive”, like Navas attempted to do, but this was not one of those occasions and all the events that unfolded were just.

“Robben has enough experience to know to make more of it,” said Wenger. “Overall I thought Bayern made a lot of every single contact. We are not used to that in England.

“There were fouls given today that usually are not given in the Premier League, but it’s different rules and we have to accept it.

Sometimes Wenger amazes with his comments, correct me if I am wrong but Arsenal have been involved in the Champions League for fourteen consecutive seasons, Bayern  have no more experience in the competition than Arsenal, has Wenger learned nothing? it seems not.

The harsh truth for both City and Arsenal is that neither are anywhere near good enough to challenge for the biggest competition in Europe and particularly one that is so loaded in the favour of the Spanish and German clubs, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich have been streets ahead and hold most of the money in their respective leagues, they invariably have relatively easy fixtures before and after European games and for most of the season, whereas Arsenal have just come off the back of two games against Liverpool and another in between against United and before they face Bayern in the return fixture they take on Everton before and Tottenham after, not a single easy fixture amongst them. Manchester City have had a couple of games against Chelsea and shortly after the return fixture have trips to United and then Arsenal to concentrate the mind.

The circumstances surrounding both games were unfortunate but the responsibility rests with the players to avoid situations that leave referees little option  but to show a red card, both situations were avoidable and both coaches and  players involved in the incidents have plenty of experience in European competition. With so much at stake and players seemingly so unaccountable these days it is unlikely that anything will change, Pellegrini will probably pick up a charge and a fine but it will only amount to small change.

Tonight our clubs are involved in the Europa Cup competition and if it all goes pear shaped most of us will look for a scapegoat, there will be errors made by officials as we well know having been on the receiving end against City at crucial times just a few weeks back but a bit of honesty and realism would not go amiss, City and Arsenal were not wrongly treated by officials who simply followed the rules to the letter and until the governing body adjust the rules in relation to such incidents it is wrong to criticise officials.





1 to “Whatever happened to honesty and sportsmanship?”

  1. Boobaspur says:

    It seems impossible for me to imagine the managers of these clubs do not explicitly remind their players that in this competition, red cards will be shown for poor decisions.

    I watched both games and both were clearly red cards.

    The Demichelis red card was deserved, but it should not have been a penalty as it was outside the box.

    Szczesny was a clear red card and penalty and well done to the man for his class actions giving the w**ker gesture to presumably the away supporters as he left the pitch. That creature really has no low he will drop to – he’s worse than an animal and will have to be further disciplined for his disgraceful actions.

    A note on the hopeless Ozil, I thought it was perfectly described by one pundit “He needs a heart transplant” – just further proof if even needed at this stage and as I have said countless times lately: Ozil does not want to play for Arsenal.

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