Liverpool’s Ryan Babel made some slightly ill advised comments on his twitter page after his side lost 1-0 to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday and the FA have immediately launched into action and charged him with improper conduct.
The facts are that there were two massive game changing decisions in the match and they both went in favour of Manchester United. In the first minute Dimitar Berbatov was blown on by Daniel Agger and hit the deck like he had been picked off by a sniper. The penalty was awarded and Ryan Giggs dispatched it for what turned out to be the only goal of the game.
It probably was just about a penalty as Agger stuck a leg out that he didn’t need to and there was the slightest of contact. Having said that, if I was a Liverpool fan or player I would have been very unhappy with the decision.
Just after the half hour Steve Gerrard put in what was a pretty naughty challenge on Michael Carrick. Referee Howard Webb incensed Liverpool by producing a red card and effectively ending their chances of getting anything from the game.
It probably was a red card but again, if I was a Liverpool fan or player I would have been sure that a yellow card would have sufficed.
It was against that background that Ryan Babel posted on his twitter page,
“And they call him one of the best referees. That’s a joke.”
To add to the comment, Babel also posted a link to a mocked up picture of Howard Webb wearing a Manchester United shirt!
Babel has over 166,000 followers on twitter so his message was seen far and wide. He subsequently removed the image and wrote an apology.
“My apology if they take my posted picture seriously. This is just a emotional reaction after losing an important game. Sorry Howard Webb.”
Despite the apology, the FA have decided that they need to take action. This seems ridiculously heavy handed. The post was made when Babel was feeling sore. His comments are hardly offensive and the photograph is a joke. He said sorry and that should have been that.
PFA boss Gordon Taylor told BBC Merseyside,
“Where’s our sense of humour gone in our game? He’s apologised, let’s move on. I would think that Howard Webb is a big enough man, a big enough person and good enough referee to take it. To my mind, and to most footballers’ minds, it is the same sort of stuff that flies about every weekend via mobile phones, but they are obviously taking a stance on it. I thought a warning would have been sufficient.”
There are a lot of bad tackles in the game, a lot of controversy over a silly offside law, an increase in crowd violence and sadly, a lot of cheating, particularly by way of diving. It is a shame that the FA are not as quick to sort out these type of things as they are to jump on a player who has really not done anything too much to harm the image of the game.
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fa should charge him..