UEFA Needs To Show Strength in Handing Down Suspensions

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UEFA Needs To Show Strength in Handing Down Suspensions
David Silverman/Getty Images

The UEFA has handed Didier Drogba a two-match ban for his red card in the dying moments of the Inter-Chelsea match.

Drogba was already on probation until July 2011 for his tirade last year towards Ovrebo. He had to serve a three-match ban, which in itself was a disgrace to all clubs.

The suspension obviously should have been greater in order to further prevent such instances of blatant insubordination toward referees, but instead of instituting a subsequent two-match ban for the recent incident because he was on probation, the probation was simply extended another two years.

UEFA officials say this is to show the seriousness with which they will now look at Drogba, but I disagree. This shows the same lack of spine UEFA has exhibited in previous years.

Drogba will now be able to return to Chelsea early enough in the group stages next year that he will be able to affect the outcome of the group. UEFA did not want to leave a prominent striker of a world-class club out of the competition, but if this was a small club, I bet the decision would be drastically different.

They have opened the door for world-class strikers to do what they want, because UEFA does not want to dilute the pool of players in the competition. This opens the door for dangerous play and further insubordination toward referees, which only hurts the image of the game and the competition.

The other side of the story could be that UEFA thought the red card was soft, in which case this would be their way of rectifying it without actually publicly disapproving of the card.

I believe the former to be the reason and not the latter, which is a slap to the face of every other team in the competition that plays fair.

 

Notes

•Drogba will be 34 when this suspension ends and I have no doubt he will still be a decent striker. Will he be as good as he is this year? Probably not. Are they allowing a striker with limited time left to play as many games possible in the competition instead of showing the strength in handing down suspensions they need to?

•Being an Arsenal fan, I am bound to feel the wrath of fellow fans, but I believe Eduardo should have been banned for two games. The amount of contact was not sufficient to go down like he did. This left open the door for further penalties and the "there could have been contact...even though we didn't see any...until the replay...which UEFA is against, unless it is 10 days later" argument.

•Henry's incident is a little different. He has no obligation to tell the referee it hit his arm. I feel the referees of that game should have been suspended. Instead, nothing happened, only further justifying Drogba's rant toward officiating in UEFA-sanctioned competitions.

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