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What a joke! The FA refuses to review Fernando Torres’ face scratch on Jan Vertonghen

Oct 1, 2013, 11:58 AM EDT


The English Football Association will not review Fernando Torres‘ face scratch on Jan Vertonghen during Saturday’s 1-1 draw between Chelsea and Spurs, preventing them from taking further disciplinary action against the Spaniard.

The Blues striker and Spurs defender spent the better part of 51 minutes locked in a full-blooded battle before Torres lost his cool after what he believed was a dive from the Belgian.

In a reaction tailor made for someone with the nickname ‘El Niño,’ Torres grabbed hold of Vertonghen’s face and dug his nails into the Belgian’s skin. Torres was booked for the claw-job and was later sent off for a reckless challenge on the Spurs defender.

Given the violent nature of the scratching incident, many felt that FA could revisit the incident and hand Torres an additional ban to the one match after he was shown his second yellow card in the 81st minute.  On Tuesday, they announced that won’t be the case.

“One of the match officials saw the coming together of the two players, albeit not in its entirety,” an FA statement read. “In these particular circumstances, in line with the FA’s policy on when retrospective action may be taken, reviewed this summer by the game’s stakeholders, no action may be taken.”

source: Getty Images

Fernando Torres was issued his second yellow card for this challenge on Jan Vertonghen.

Torres could have been banned for up to four matches should the FA referred the video to its new independent disciplinary panel and violent conduce been found. But, as referee Mike Dean’s assistant Jake Collin saw the incident, the FA refused to review the incident.

This system permitting an independent panel of three former referees to look at incidents retrospectively and decide if charges should be brought replaces the old system where action was only taken if the referee viewed the footage and judged whether he should have sent a player off. But, in both cases if any match official saw part of the incident – even if not the full detail – then the FA cannot take further action. Which is exactly the loophole the Torres incident falls.

If this system – and the decision – sounds ridiculous that’s because it is.

The main problem is that the system allows referees to avoid handing out additional bans if they’ve seen at least part of the incident – thus the “albeit not in its entirety” line of crap. With three field referees following the play at all times, is there ever really an incident where referees won’t have seen at least a glimpse of the incident? Doubtful.

In the case of Torres and Vertonghen, the linesman (Collin) was standing just behind Torres and clearly saw the coming together of the two players. What he couldn’t see, however, was Torres’ child-like face scratch, which is precisely why the Spaniard was issued a yellow card and not a red.

The fact that the FA now refuses to review the incident based on seeing part of the tussle, is without question, asinine.

So, is Fernando Torres getting preferential treatment here?

Possibly. Outside of his puerile claw-job, Torres is not known for being a dirty player.

But you can bet that if Luis Suarez, Joey Barton, Ryan Shawcross, Cheik Tiote, Marouane Fellaini or Craig Gardner pulled this move the FA would’ve found a way to review it and assess an additional ban.

What a joke.

  1. medic0nduty - Oct 1, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    What a joke indeed.

  2. aric32 - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    If you give Torres a ban for the grab of the face, there was no scratching motion and no visible marks afterwards, then Vertonghen should get the same for 2 shameless dives. Quid pro quo.

  3. fernandopurres - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:43 AM

    What, was this written by a Spurs fan?

    “and was later sent off for a reckless challenge on the Spurs defender.”

    You mean going up in the air and having his arm out to brace himself which Vertonghen used to shamelessly dive?

    There’s a bigger issue thought which is the overall ***** nature of football. Guys snap in the heart of the moment, a punch is crossing the line, a sort of face slap/clawing should just be shrugged off. Why do the fans and media want to make a mountain of a molehill out of every single little thing? In the NFL you have some shoving, maybe some slaps, you move the hell on. Good god why is this sport so prissy?

    But lets move on to another issue. I’ll agree that within the existing rules Torres should prob have been sent off for the initital clawing. But which was the worse of the two wrongs? Torres initial scratching, or Vertonghe’s dive? Which is more damaging to the game?

    What Torres did while bad doesn’t hurt the game besides from a “think of the children” sportsmanship level. What Vertongen did and the stupid ref fell for, goes DIRECTLY towards the integrity of the game. Just like the recent spat of players in Real Madrid and AC MIlan tackling a defensive player intentionally and getting a penalty out of it. Cheating players NEVER getting punished is a bigger problem than getting angry on the field and retaliating.

    This is why I can’t stand soccer sometimes. The officials in charge of it and the media is so myopic. Look at the NBA, they saw flopping was a problem and they have a new policy in place to retroactively punish floppers. Why is soccer so slow and stupid in comparison?

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