When Will The Football Association Get It Right?

Brian RhodesSenior Analyst IFebruary 11, 2010

In the wake of the Football Association fining of both Arsenal and Hull City after the heated on field fracas, it is becoming clear that the F.A. cannot be trusted to dispense justice fairly.

Back in mid December 2009 the Tigers were comfortably holding the Gunners at 0-0 at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, with a few minutes of the first half remaining at the Emirates, in the Premiership tie. The referee incorrectly awarded a free kick to the Gunners.

Hull City's Richard Garcia was protecting the ball to prevent the Arsenal players from taking a swift free kick as all professionals do, when from behind Arsenal's, Samir Nasri stomped on the Australian players foot.

Garcia went to ground and his fellow Tigers, Nick Barmby and Stephen Hunt went to defend him. As the melee ensued, Manuel Almunia the Gunners goalkeeper raced from the opposite side of the field to get struck in, as Michael Silvestre dove in as well.

The result was an awful piece of refereeing as both Hull City players got deserved yellow cards, but Nasri only received a yellow card for starting the incident.

On reassessing the incident after the game, Steve Bennett the official on the day failed to increase the action against Nasri, and decided to take no further action, but the F.A. charged both clubs for the on field incident.

Of the incident, Phil Brown the Hull City manager said, the charges were "scandalous" with Arsene Wenger saying that it was "harsh".

However, the fines involved were different for each club. Hull City did not deny involvement in the incident but Arsenal denied involvement in the incident.

The FA made a statement, "At a regulatory commission hearing this week, Arsenal and Hull City were fined for failing to control their players during a match at the Emirates Stadium in December," read an F.A. statement.

"The clubs were charged in relation to a mass confrontation between players from both sides during the fixture on 19 December. Hull admitted the charge.

"Arsenal denied the charge but the commission found it proved.

"Hull City were fined £40,000 while Arsenal were fined £20,000. Both clubs were warned as to their future conduct."

The fines metered out by the F.A. do not bear any resemblance to the response by the clubs. There is no denying that both clubs were involved in the confrontation, but by the F.A.'s own double standards Hull City should have received a lesser fine than Arsenal.

Hull City admitted involvement but Arsenal denied involvement which the F.A. clearly feel was wrong as they fined them for their part in the confrontation. If Arsenal's Nasri had not been involved, why did he receive a yellow card for his actions?

If Nasri had not stomped on Garcia the confrontation would never have happened.

By admitting involvement surely it should mean leniency for Hull City, not in the eyes of the F.A. But what does anyone really expect from the F.A.?

For some unfathomable reason, the F.A. feels the need to increase players bans if they appeal red cards, even though this is in their own rules.

Only a few weeks ago Rio Ferdinand was given an extra game to his three match ban for violent conduct after he attempted to punch an opposing player. The FA called his appeal "frivolous", presumably for wasting the F.A.'s time.

Last season, Chelsea's John Terry blatantly brought down Manchester City's Jo, and deservedly received a red card for his actions, but somehow managed to get his red card rescinded.

Aston Villa's fine goal keeper Brad Friedal, was given a straight red card last season after bringing down Liverpool's Fernando Torres in the penalty area. As clear an example of a red card offence but another example of a player that was allowed to carry on playing in the league because he was inexplicably given no ban for the red card.

Until the Football Association starts handing out equity in it's fines and bans football clubs, managers, players, and fans alike will be scratching their collective heads at the inequity of the FA.