In Friday afternoon’s weekly press conference, Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa was obviously asked for his thoughts on the lack of consistency in decisiosn when it came to the Football Association’s Independent Panel.
With Patrick Bamford rightly given a two game ban for successful deception in our feisty clash with Aston Villa the other weekend, the Conor Hourihane ‘punch’ also went to the three man panel but they deemed it wasn’t violent conduct and the Republic of Ireland international got away scot free despite his actions.
Plenty of pundits and former players have already given their thoughts and fans certainly have on forums and social media.
Tasked with the question directly, Bielsa is quoted by the Leeds Live as saying.
“I tried not to judge those who are here to judge us. It’s a fact Bamford simulated he received a kick. Why I have to take a decision to punish someone, I have in mind, a principle you always have to remember when you make justice: all the acts with the same nature must be judged with the same severity. This is a conclusion that offers this decision against Bamford. After the decision against Bamford, all the same acts have to be judged with the same severity. Punch becomes an aggression. According to the capacity of resistance of the one who receives the punch. If the the recipient is strong it’s not an aggression. If the recipient is not strong it’s an aggression. We can understand we can’t feint the punch when we receive it, but we can’t judge the strength of the punch based on the recipient. Obvious conclusion is if you punch someone and this person is strong enough it’s not an aggression and if you punch someone who is not strong, this is not an aggression. That is the conclusion. This interpretation invites people to say ‘what is the conclusion you can reach?’ You should go to the ground with every punch, even if they just touch you and simulate the strength. The only way to get justice.”
It’s a perfectly valid and sensible point from Bielsa. Just because the punch wasn’t strong enough, violent conduct shouldn’t be judged purely on the outcome of the action – it’s the action itself that should take precedence here.
The FA Panel have simply shown that, in many ways, Bamford’s thought process was correct – all he misjudged was that contact wasn’t made.
Players are required to go down in all circumstances if we are to expect fair punishment and that, frankly, is utterly pathetic.