It has been reported in today’s Herald that Rangers duo Madjid Bougherra and El-Hadji Diouf have escaped further punishment by the SFA, following their sendings-off in the Scottish Cup clash with Celtic.
Madjid Bougherra, twice, manhandled referee Calum Murray as the referee first dished out a second yellow to Steven Whittaker and then as the Algerian was to receive his second yellow card of the match.
El Hadji Diouf was also sent off after the final whistle for dissent towards the referee, before he ignored stewards and police to throw his shirt into the Rangers end, as the Herald state, ‘in an apparent act of defiance’.
A report in the Sunday Post claimed that Diouf had been issued with a second red card for those actions and that further punishment was heading the way of the Rangers duo, after Murray made reference to the incidents in his match report to the SFA.
However, according to the Herald, Murray reported ‘no additional misconduct’ in his paperwork, and that he was ‘content that both players were dealt with sufficiently at the time.’
But it seems that Neil Lennon and Ally McCoist will be handed touchline bans, after the pair were reported to the SFA by fourth official Iain Brines. And it is expected that Lennon will be handed a four match ban for a second offence, while McCoist will receive a two match ban for his first offence.
The question is though, the referee took both to task at the time, yet the Fourth Official felt that he should report it even if the referee felt that he had dealt with it at the time. So if that is the case, why is Brines not reporting Bougherra and Diouf for their actions? Chief Executive Stewart Regan also commented on the actions of the duo slamming them, which cause Rangers Chief Martin Bain to slam the comments.
However it proves that the SFA are nothing short of an amateur organisation, who do not have the guts or bottle to take certain players of clubs to task for their actions. Yes Rangers are struggling, man power-wise, but does that excuse their players from being punished that any other club would be punished for?
In fact take a look at our neighbour’s down south. The English FA fined Chelsea for failing to control their players in a match against Manchester United on 23rd September 2007. The players rushed around referee Mike Dean, berating him and intimidating him after he sent off Chelsea midfielder Jon Obi Mikel. While then Chelsea coach Steve Clark was given a £5,000 suspended fine for ‘using abusive and/or insulting words’.
Chelsea were then hit by UEFA with an £85,000 fine and there was lengthy bans for Didier Drogba and Jose Bosingwa for a foul-mouthed tirade at referee Tom Henning Ovrebo, and branding the official ‘a thief’ respectively after defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League semi final in 2009.
And Chelsea were fined £40,000 by the FA over the behaviour of their players in their league clash with Derby in November 2008. After they admitted a charge of failing to control their players.
So while the English FA can take their clubs to task as well as top players, the SFA are showing themselves up to be nothing more than a governing body in name only. Where are the fines for Rangers for failing to control their players? Where are the fines for both Lennon and McCoist, rather than touchline bans? And where are the extended bans for Bougherra and Diouf for excessive misconduct?
While it may be a tad ludicrous to think that the SFA will not punish the duo for their actions, due to the lack of manpower at the Ibrox club. The actions or should that be inaction of the SFA, shows that players can man handle referees, can blank a red card and walk to their fans despite stewards and police telling players otherwise. The SFA cannot now come out and hammer a player for doing either, otherwise they will be seen as biased or playing favourite, and that makes a mockery of not only Scottish Football, but also the rules of the game that are supposed to be enforced by the SFA and their officials.