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FIGC Follies: Week 29

This weekend was not a pretty one in Serie A. One could expect the tensions running high in the Derby della Capitale, but it’s harder to understand some of the increased tension in the other matches. Blame it on the rain, I guess.

As a result, yesterday, the FIGC reviewed a few of the incidents that resulted from the tensions and handed down bans. The question is, what constitutes a red card vs. a 2 match ban vs. a 3 match ban? Or do any of them go completely unpunished?


Let me say right here that I do NOT condone any of the incidents in question here, all of them definitely deserved a punishment. The question is how much?

The FIGC can be inconsistent, but this weekend was a tragic example. Instead of me trying to tell you about it, please watch this video and see if you can find the inconsistencies:


It’s hard to see any consistent rulings here, based on the perceived intent, the level of violence, whether it was on the ball or off or whatever the FIGC makes up about these decisions to sound anything remotely close to fair. But the most blatant error of these collective rulings is Totti’s face getting stomped on with absolutely no punishment for Matuzalém.

According to La Gazetta dello Sport, Matuzalém “was absolved by TV replays because, ‘in the dynamics of his movement, the excitement of the initial challenge and his subsequent attempted leap over the grounded player to reach the ball, the players suffered in equal measure and there was no desire to stamp on the opposing players face. And with doubts as to any intent, the Federal Prosecutor decided not to discipline the player.’”

O….K… So with their interpretation of intent, I have to ask, in the case of Ibra’s red, where was Marco Rossi’s hand when he reached back, what did he do, and did Ibra react to this? And if someone grabbed or punched you in the crotch, Signore Federal Prosecutor, would you not react in the same way? Just speculation, of course, but I doubt this was considered when determining intent.

Additionally, I felt that Ibra’s dirty punch was only a red card offense, nothing more. If you had to add additional suspensions, a second match would not be out of the question. But when you hand him the same ban as someone who charged over to the corner to head-butt a player he apparently deemed was timewasting or one who high-kicked into the chest of a player studs up, I have to ask, did you see the same things I did? And while Matuzalém is playing his next match and poor Totti is scheduling plastic surgery to put his ear back on or whatever, Ibrahimovic will be sitting out 3 matches for a stupid dirty punch?

All I ask for is some semblance of consistency. When someone throws someone to ground, takes a dirty punch or shove mid-play, then they should ALL get red cards and ALL receive the same number of match bans. And when someone does something a little more calculated, like Chivu’s sucker punch from behind or Eto’o’s head butt, both off the ball, then their punishment should be worse. And when someone’s face gets stomped on, intent or no, there should be a very healthy ban, a fine, and perhaps a good old-fashioned spanking.

The lack of any punishment for Matuzalém is completely incomprehensible to me, so I cannot even begin to address that one. Hell, Totti himself has been banned for less, there is no rationale you can give me for this. And if he does it again, because he got away with it, I will likely blow a fuse myself and do something worthy of a suspension or worse. How’s that for irony?

So, although I try to be rational despite being a woman (more difficult than making a free kick blindfolded, I know,) I have to ask the question: Was Ibra given the same ban for a lesser incident because his name is Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his reputation precedes him? What kind of a ban would he receive if he cleated Hamsik in the chest? What if he was in Matuzalém’s place - how many matches would Ibra sit for something like that? Or were phone calls of the Calciopoli nature made to ensure he received a larger ban? (Difficult not to think about considering the derby coming up which conveniently falls within his ban.)

Unfortunately for Serie A and Italy in general, these questions are probably way too common, and the answers come in the form of ridiculous rhetoric or just plain silence. What a shame. Yet another smudge on the beautiful game in the league that plays the most beautiful football, at least when the players are not playing dirty and the FIGC playing even dirtier.