Greg Dyke, chairman of the Football Association, has vowed to change the governing body’s disciplinary rules after the organisation’s decision not to punish Fernando Torres for scratching Tottenham centre-back Jan Vertonghen.
Speaking at the Leaders in World Football conference at Stamford Bridge, Dyke openly discussed why the FA needs to possess power to take greater retrospective action, even when the incident is seen by a match official.
As reported by Martyn Ziegler of The Independent, Dyke appears adamant on reform:
When millions of fans watching on TV can see an incident like this and the FA does not take action it is understandably baffling to everybody and has to be addressed.
For the FA's disciplinary department to find itself in a position where it is not able to take action against an obvious scratch just can't be right.
Although changes during the summer made it easier for the FA to provide post-match punishments, per Ziegler's report, Dyke indicates the laws of the game need to evolve further in order to work effectively.
Torres’ scratch on his Belgian opponent came in the heated 1-1 draw between Chelsea and Spurs at White Hart Lane. The Spanish forward—who was later sent off for racking up two yellow cards—managed to escape a prolonged ban after the incident was witnessed by a match official.
Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas was irked by the decision and criticised the FA for its incompetence, per BBC Sport:
The decision is a disgrace. [...]
How can you see the images, pretty clear, and come out without punishment, on something (which) overtakes all professional behaviour? Obviously, it is almost a farcical decision.
Dyke’s plans to alter disciplinary procedures could significantly impact behavioural problems in the Premier League. Right now, there is too much pressure on referees to make correct decisions within seconds of events taking place.
Should Dyke initiate greater retrospective power for the FA, match officials will receive less flak for making a mistake. Although human error is always likely to impact refereeing decisions, the knowledge that poor judgements can be altered would provide the FA with a sense of power that has long been missing.
Instead of dismissing the officials' lack of action in the heat of battle, it makes sense for the FA to work alongside the referee of said match in order to produce suitable post-match punishments. In the current state, the FA's authority is undermined by a system that accepts any action as definitive.
Dyke's ideas need to be developed quickly if they are to have an effect. Torres' scratch—which was beamed across the world in slow motion—provides the perfect opportunity for new laws to be installed.
As it stands, players are able to escape without taking responsibility for their actions on the pitch, while match officials are lambasted for enforcing guidelines that fail to shield the man in charge.