Opinion: If Ricky van Wolfswinkel had kicked Yaya Touré, the FA would have shown its big club bias and punished the Norwich City striker
11:09 11 February 2014
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The Football Association has once again shown its bias towards the big clubs of the Premier League by letting off Manchester City’s Yaya Touré for a kick on Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
If it had been the other way round and the Canaries striker had kicked Touré, what are the chances that van Wolfswinkel would have been cited retrospectively by the FA?
We all know the answer to that – Ricky would have been cited, just as Craig Bellamy was for Cardiff yesterday.
The FA has brought in a new system this season which sees three former referees sit as a panel to decide if retrospective action needs to be taken, if a referee has missed an incident in a match.
That panel has to agree unanimously for a player to be cited, which it did not for Touré’s kick yesterday, although it did for a similar incident with Bellamy.
Neither incident was especially vicious, but both were pretty stupid.
There was no reason for a frustrated Touré to petulantly kick van Wolfswinkel in the back as Manchester City were held 0-0 by a whole-hearted Norwich performance at Carrow Road on Saturday. But he did.
There was no need for van Wolfswinkel to chuck himself around on the pitch like a dying swan either.
Equally, a frustrated Bellamy should not have half-heartedly hit Swansea’s Jonathan de Guzman in the back of the head as bottom-of-the-table Cardiff crashed to a 3-0 derby defeat at home. But he did.
How can the two be judged differently?
Neither player particularly hurt the player they took their frustration out on but both players did decide to stop playing football and do something they shouldn’t have.
How can Bellamy now be charged with violent conduct but not Touré?
It couldn’t be that former Barcelona man Touré, undoubtedly a brilliant player most of the time, is one of the star attractions and plays for one of the richest clubs in the world could it?
Perhaps Bellamy’s previous disciplinary problems have come back to haunt him, but the decisions just don’t seem to be equal to me.
Will this anonymous three-man panel explain themselves though? No, of course not, Cardiff just have until 6pm today to lodge an appeal.
One man who surprisingly does seem to support the FA’s decision though is van Wolfswinkel.
The £8m signing from Sporting Lisbon has changed his tune from Saturday, when he angrily charged at Toure and had to be held back by team-mate Leroy Fer.
Posting on his @RvWolfswinkel9 Twitter account, the Norwich striker wrote: “Good to see Touré not getting suspended. Players like him belong on the pitch! What happens at Carrow Road stays at Carrow Road.
“Things happen on the pitch but we all enjoy watching him play so get on with it and enjoy the football, that’s what it’s all about.”
I agree with his sentiment, but I still feel if Touré escapes punishment, so should Bellamy.
Do you agree that the FA often shows bias towards the Premier League’s bigger clubs? Or do you agree with van Wolfswinkel that Touré should have been let off? Leave your comments below.