8 Oct 2009

Rafa Benitez vs. the pathetic bureacrats at the FA: I know who I'm backing....

It has been revealed that Liverpool Manager Rafa Benitez has been charged by the woefully out-of-touch FA for blatantly inoffensive glasses joke after the Spurs game at White Hart Lane in August. I didn't think it was possible for the FA to become any more pedantic and pointless that it already is, but I was wrong...

When asked what he thought of referee Phil Dowd's performance Benitez during the Spurs game, Benitez took his glasses out of his pocket and examined them, the implication being that Dowd might want to borrow his glasses.

Gosh. How utterly and irretrievably offensive! I'm sure Phil Down lost sleep over how his reputation was damaged by such an outrageous stunt.

According to ESPN, Football Factors' Graham Bean - a specialist in defending high-profile managers against FA disrepute charges - will be taking Benitez's case to to the FA Commission in an attempt to explain the Spaniard was merely trying to inject some fun into his press conference with the glasses ga.

Bean told ESPN Soccernet: "The new FA rules have been structured, that irrespective of whether something is true or not, it cannot be of a personal or offensive nature. Rafa was asked about the referee, took his glasses out and looked at them, and then smiled. It was his sense of humour, it was not intended to be offensive or personal. If you cannot inject some humour into your press conference, we all might as well pack up and go home, it's ridiculous."

I completely agree. I’m all for the FA’s Respect campaign but this is just laughable. Whatever happened to freedom of expression? The right to have an opinion? Does that all cease to exist just because the FA creates some (arguably ineffective) guidelines?

Of course, there needs to be balance, and when the criticism of a officials is personal and unreasonable then the FA should take action, but this is not one of those situations.

It just smacks of the FA jobsworths trying to justify their jobs and jumping on anything they can in an attempt to assert their waning authority.

I have absolutely no problem with Benitez criticising referees – if it is reasonable and done in a non-personal manner then I’ll support him every time.

Poor referees; always being criticised. Well, no one forces them to do the job; if they can’t hack it, let them retire and replace them with refs who get the big decisions right more often and are able to take legitimate criticism.