In the midst of the Ajax vs. Real Madrid aftermath, the main focus was on the red cards picked up by Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos. The two reds mean that Alonso and Ramos would miss the final group stage, effectively whipping their slate clean for the knock-out stages. UEFA charged Jose Mourinho, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso, and shooting two messengers, Iker Casillas and Jerzy Dudek for “unsporting conduct”. The rule which is essentially just “play nice, and don’t snatch”.
Arsene Wenger, asked for no real reason, other than journalists being generally nosey and wanting to fill up some extra space said “There should be sanctions. I do not want to see that. It’s a pity to see it from a big game. It gives a bad image.” Whilst crossing his fingers and hoping that it will fit nicely in if Arsenal are drawn against Real Madrid. Wait, wouldn’t that be unsporting conduct?
An extremely biased, or plain devilish person would argue it impossible to fully know whether or not the red cards were deliberate, despite the fact we all know they were. The point being that it is within the realm of possibility that Sergio Ramos, confused by so many great passing possibilites, and perhaps working out the square-root of Pi, was just unable to take Casillas’ goalkick for him in the referee’s generous time. It almost certainly was an order, one that Ramos especially decide to make so convincingly obvious he may as well have been whistling in a nonchalant manner and looking at his watch to see just how much time he was wasting before going to shake the referee’s hand after getting sent off. Another damning piece of evidence for the jury to dissect is the possible (but probable) messages sent from the Madrid coaching out to the players. UEFA of course, have no real way of knowing what messages could have been passed through, with lie-detectors being generally unreliable and the factor of “chinese whispers” (no, I have no idea where that term comes from) meaning that Jose’s original message could have been something along the lines of “kick Suarez up the bum for a bit, just for laughs”. Still, why then did Real Madrid not decide instead to have Cristiano Ronaldo, also on a yellow, be sent off?
Of course, once pictures of the whispers in a set way looks like damning evidence but for all we know they could trace back way before that since thursday when some man in Georgia decided it would be a good idea for them to send themselves off and whispered it to his friend before it cascaded down from Jose’ lips -effectively- to Alonso and Ramos’ ears. Meaning said man from Georgia should serve a touchline ban. And anyone else who thought it was a good idea.
So what does UEFA’s charge to Mourinho and his boys (and Dudek) mean? That UEFA must be very confident of their recently acquired mind-reading technology to prove that it was deliberate and not just really fortunate. Honest, sir. Perhaps FIFA have recently accepted the Vulcan home world into the federation. No, Star Trek pedants, I have no idea what the Vulcan homeworld is called. I’m going to guess it’s Vulcanopia. Or Vul-Planet. It was obviously a delibrate way to get sent off. Everyone knows it. FIFA know it, Real Madrid know it, you know it.
The main message is, that if UEFA insist on punishing players for 2 yellows instead of 3 – or don’t automatically wipe the slate clean after the group stages – it will keep on happening. Teams just won’t be this stupid about it anymore. UEFA will probably realise this, when someone like Lionel Messi gets booked on his first game – say fairly, and then, possibly 11 games later gets booked unfairly and ends up missing the final.
Written by Richard Cole