Craig Salmon says suspending players affects football’s entertainment value and is not in keeping with the interest of fairness
The latest round of Premier League fixtures threw up a slightly interesting statistic last weekend.
Maybe it’s just me, but it was pretty unusual to see none of the Match of the Day pundits on Saturday night debating the merits of a particular red card from that afternoon’s fixtures.
Not one player was sent off during the eight games which took place on Saturday, while Kevin Friend – officiating in Sunday’s 1-1 draw between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur – also managed to keep his red card in his pocket.
The pattern continued a day later as all 22 players remained on the park at the final whistle as Swansea shocked Liverpool at the Liberty Stadium.
Good then that supporters will arrive at grounds up and down the country this weekend in the FA Cup and will not be deprived of seeing a top star in action because of a misdemeanour last weekend.
Suspensions in football have always been a particular pet hate of mine. Why have a perfectly fit and healthy footballer sitting in the stands when they could be on the pitch, strutting their stuff? After all, football is an entertainment industry, isn’t it?
Imagine turning up to watch your favourite singer at a concert only to be told that due to a previous indiscretion they will not be able to perform and you will have to listen to a stand-in instead.
Having players banned, in my opinion, also goes against the doctrine of fairness.
Surely every club should have to face their opponent’s full-strength squad – injury permitting of course.
Instead of having players needlessly kicking their feet on the sidelines, why not deduct points for ill discipline?
I am pretty certain that managers will insist that their players clean up their acts if it’s going to affect their standing in the league table.
Another thing which I would also like to see change is the issue of retrospective action. I am all for players being put on trial by TV if a particular misdemeanour has been missed by the officials. But I would also like to see video used to punish a player even if the referee has seen the incident and dealt with it.
Last month Tottenham’s Dele Alli and Harry Kane were only handed yellow cards for challenges against Manchester City when video analysis later decreed that they should really have been sent off.
However, the pair escaped any sterner punishment as it was deemed that the referee – who only got a split-second look at the incidents – had determined that both tackles were only worthy of a caution.