All-powerful Uefa, so pure and righteous, finally took aim at Chelsea today. Hefty suspensions and substantial fines were handed out for the Blues' so-called improper conduct during/after the Champions League semifinal second leg against Barcelona in May.
Via UEFA.com ...
"Chelsea FC striker Didier Drogba has been suspended for six UEFA club competition matches – the last two of which are deferred for a probationary period of two years – following incidents at the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg against FC Barcelona in London on 6 May. The decision was taken today by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body.
In addition, Chelsea defender José Bosingwa has been suspended for four UEFA club competition matches, the last of which is deferred for a probationary period of two years, for offences at the same game.
Drogba and Bosingwa were facing charges of being in breach of the principles of sportsmanship by insulting the referee by making offensive comments. Drogba's suspension applies to the next four UEFA club competition matches for which the player would be eligible, while Bosingwa's ban applies to the next three UEFA club competition games for which the player would be eligible.
Chelsea have been fined €100,000 for the improper conduct of their players and the throwing of missiles by their supporters at the match against Barcelona, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Either the club or the players may appeal against the decision within three days of the dispatch of the reasoned decision."
Drogba, Bos, Roman & Co., get on that ASAP.
While these punishments are hardly surprising, they're equally undeserving. Sure, Drogba and the club should've been punished. Four matches with a view to six, though? Not so much. Bosingwa three despite retracting his statement almost immediately, and issuing a full apology to the official?
What really angers me is the inconsistency with which UEFA acts. It's laughable.
First, lets take a look at the UEFA disciplinary regulations. Below is their process for establishing bans:
a) suspension for one competition match or for a specified period for: repeated protests against or failure to comply with the referee’s orders
b) suspension for two competition matches or for a specified period for pestering or insulting any match official
c) suspension for two competition matches or for a specified period for acting with the obvious intent to cause any match official to make an incorrect decision or supporting his error of judgement and thereby causing him to make an incorrect decision
d) suspension for three competition matches or for a specified period for assaulting players or others present at the match
e) suspension for five competition matches or for a specified period for serious assault
f) suspension for ten competition matches or for a specified period for assaulting any match official
Well, I don't see the charge placed upon Bos and Drogs do you? No, that's because they've been hit with Article 5: "Breach of principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship" This also includes "conduct which is insulting or otherwise violates the basic rules of decent conduct" and "bringing the sport of football, and UEFA in particular, into disrepute." What's hilarious is that this particular clause does not have a set ban -- which is, no doubt, why they choose to use it instead of say "b," which fits closest with Drogba's actions here. It suggests a two-match ban, but can be altered. Still, though, it's rather interesting.
Now, lets take a look at some similar incidents and their coinciding punishments. You'll be shocked (not really).
Diouf v. Celtic, 2003
"Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf escaped with a two-match ban today for spitting at Celtic fans during last Thursday's Uefa Cup tie.
Uefa's disciplinary panel imposed the ban but took into account provocation by Celtic fans, and fined the Glasgow club £2,300 for their supporters' conduct during the incident.
It had been expected that Diouf would receive a four-match suspension but Uefa said the ban took into consideration the provocative behaviour of spectators."
Analysis: So Diouf can spit at supporters and receive a four-match ban, but Drogba is suspended for six matches for confronting the ref -- no physical contact -- and for being caught on film. What if he had not been caught by Sky Sports cameras?
Furthermore, Diouf's "ban took into consideration the provocative behaviour of spectators"? OK, then why didn't our bans take into consideration the provocative behaviour of the match official? Oh that's right, because he's an UEFA employee.
Dida v. Celtic, 2007
"AC Milan's Dida has been banned for two matches after the incident which saw a pitch-invading supporter approach the Brazilian goalkeeper in last week's Champions League match at Parkhead.
Dida's theatrical reaction to being tapped by the Celtic supporter after Scott McDonald scored the late winning goal has cost him severely.
Dida was found to have breached UEFA's "principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship.'"
Analysis: So Dida received the same charge, but a lesser sentence? Hmmm.
As you can see, it's pretty ridiculous. What's more ridiculous is how Ballack escaped punishment altogether? Are you serious?
Regardless of the lunacy of these charges, I doubt we're going to see either suspension lessened. Moving on, then.