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FA Chairman Greg Dyke uses Fernando Torres 'scratch' incident to highlight need to improve FA rules


Much has been written and said about the whole Fernando Torres vs. Jan Vertonghen incident and series of incidents, so I'm not going to waste time with a recap.  Let's just say that either of them could've or should've been suspended at various points (before and after the match) and were probably worth about four yellow cards each (during the match).

In addition to the players, the Football Association managed to discredit itself, too, by once again showing the silliness of its "seen it" rule.  Basically, if a match incident is seen (even if just partly) & punished (however leniently) by the referee, the FA cannot act on it retrospectively.  Unless there are "exceptional circumstances," like, say, a bite.  But remember when Sergio Aguero stamped on David Luiz?  The referee saw it (or at least part of it) and awarded a free kick.  Thus, no further punishment.  Just a month before then, Wigan's Callum McManaman escaped punishment for an even worse challenge because the linesman saw the "coming together" although not the "full extent" of it.

Over this past summer, the FA did enact new rules that were supposed to help it mete out proper punishment.  But like a man punching himself with his own fists, they once again dropped the ball with Torres, letting him escape on a technicality.  New FA chairman Greg Dyke is not too happy about this and, speaking today at the 'Leaders in Football' conference at Stamford Bridge, has basically promised further changes coming next summer.

...there’s a very important point to be made following the incident involving Fernando Torres and Jan Vertonghen at White Hart Lane last week.

For the FA’s disciplinary department to find itself in a position in which they don’t feel they have the authority to take action for what was an obvious scratch to the face can't be right.

What this means is that despite the rules being changed in the summer to allow action to be taken in instances which were not properly seen by the officials they clearly weren’t changed enough.

When millions of fans watching on television around the world can see an incident like this and the FA does not take action it is understandably baffling to everyone and has to be addressed.

-Greg Dyke

Good.  Perhaps there's hope after all of the FA managing to do at least one sensible thing!

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