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Stepping Over the Line

August 25, 2006

Thatcher ElbowOn Wednesday night, Ben Thatcher stepped over the line. The line between an unfortunate late challenge, and a premeditated assault.

In the Premiership match between Portsmouth and Manchester City, Ben Thatcher ‘tackled’ Pedro Mendes with his elbow raised, which left Mendes unconscious. He had a fit or seizure while pitch-side, and required oxygen treatment before being taken to hospital. Thankfully, no apparent lasting damage was done, and he was released on Thursday, although he will undergo medical and neurological supervision over the next week before he is cleared to play again.

Thatcher has been charged by the FA with ‘serious foul play’, suspended from first-team action pending the results of the an internal investigation by Man City and an investigation has been launched by Greater Manchester Police into the incident.

An over the top response?

I bet if you are Mrs. Mendes you don’t think so, but personally I think getting the police involved is unnecessary, and so does Portsmouth manager Harry Rednapp:

” I don’t want to see the police getting involved. It is football’s problem and the game should deal with it. Let’s hope that the FA can take the most appropriate action possible. “

By ‘appropriate action’, it’s pretty safe to assume he means ‘give him a 10 match ban or give me 5 minutes alone with him in my office’. I know which one of the two I’d prefer.

MendesThe one good thing that may come out of this, is that the FA could introduce retrospective punishments for incidents where the referee has already passed judgment, ie. awarded a yellow card. At present if a yellow card is awarded, the FA don’t / can’t / won’t increase the punishment, although the FA have said that “the incident is being considered as an exceptional case.”

Once it has happened once, all clubs will start demanding FA action after similar incidents, so the repercussions of this could have greater longevity than the bruises on Mendes’ face.

Thatcher’s manager Stuart Pearce said his actions were ‘undefendable’. In that case, I hope for Ben’s sake that as a result of this he doesn’t need a lawyer.

~ TranceFixed


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