Manchester United's 3-1 win over Fulham on Saturday was marred by an incident that saw Fulham right-back Sascha Riether stomp United midfielder Adnan Januzaj. Now Riether has had to face the music.
The Football Association have issued Riether with a three-match ban, according to Rob Harris of the Associated Press.
Fulham's Sascha Riether suspended for 3 games after accepting FA charge for stamp— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) November 6, 2013
There were plenty of question marks regarding whether or not Riether would be suspended at all after Fulham disputed the FA's decision, according to Ben Rumsby of The Telegraph.
While Fulham admitted that match officials should have issued Riether with a red card (which they didn't since they presumably didn't see the incident late in Fulham's loss), Fulham challenged the process used by the FA to determine the suspension.
According to Rumsby, Riether's case was the first determined by the FA's new video panel and Fulham believed that rules may have been broken in doing so. With that said, the FA moved forward with the suspension and Riether himself accepted it on Twitter.
I will accept the consequences of my actions, and hope to put it behind me when I return.— Sascha Riether (@saschariether) November 5, 2013
In addition to accepting responsibility for his actions, Riether apologized to Januzaj, as well as to his Fulham teammates and fans.
I want to say I am sorry to Adnan Januzai.It was very unlike me and I can only say that frustration got the better of me.— Sascha Riether (@saschariether) November 5, 2013
I also want to apologise to my teammates, fans and everyone at the Club, for the ban incurred following Saturday's match— Sascha Riether (@saschariether) November 5, 2013
How do you characterize Riether's ban?
While Riether deserves credit for accepting the ban, the manner in which it came down certainly lends itself to criticism.
Per Rumsby, Fulham officials were unhappy with the decision due largely to the fact that Chelsea striker Fernando Torres wasn't disciplined for scratching the face of Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen back in September.
The inconsistencies are troubling, but the most important thing from the FA's perspective is to do the right things, regardless of past missteps.
It appears to have done that in this situation, but most observers would probably agree that the FA needs to use the Riether suspension as a precedent rather than an outlier moving forward.
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