Football, England's finest gift to the modern world has become a multi billion pound business with players, managers and agents alike commanding mega bucks in the name of kicking a spherical object into a big net. With the European championships nearing, and the Three Lions safely qualified, a wave of optimism should be sweeping the nation.
However all is not well, for one of the squads more enigmatic players went and got himself sent off in the last qualifier after aiming a petulant kick at an opposing player. Now while I will not use this entry as an exercise in character assassination, love him or loathe him, its better to have Wayne Rooney playing in his usual balls out style for you, rather than against you. Yes, the red card that followed the incident was pretty much a given. Playing under what one can guess as a certain amount of personal pressure regarding the exploits of certain members of his family and suspicious betting activity with his usual fiery temperament and desire to win, there was always the potential for fireworks. The kick was petulant, and deserved to be punished as such. The card wasn't disputed, he left the field with a fair amount of dignity, one could almost say he took his punishment like a man.
UEFA however see things a little differently. Despite the managers predictions of maybe missing his talismanic forward for one game, maybe two, despite referee Wolfgang Stark reporting how well Rooney accepted the decision, UEFA deemed the incident as "assault" and handed an automatic 3 match ban to the player. In layman's terms England's most dynamic and arguably best player will not be eligible to play again until the Quarter finals of the tournament. Sorry, If they make the quarter finals of the tournament.
England have 3 days to appeal the decision.
Now while I am not going to suggest any kind of conspiracy against the England team,I will be careful not to draw attention to the goal that never was against Germany in 2010, and definitely stay clear of the whole Mr Sepp "I will never give England anything ever whilst I still live and breath" Blatter and the Russian World cup bribe er sorry bid, I will present the following facts:
David Beckhams much vilified kick against Diego Simeone in 1998 received a one match ban
Goalkeeper Harold Schumachers flying hip challenge against Patrick Battiston, which knocked him unconscious and broke his jaw, was awarded a goal kick. No card.
There are plenty more examples like those above floating around on the net and in various footy fans memories, Our beloved sport is far from perfect, far from fair even, and gives spectators cause to moan and argue long after the last kick of the ball. As a football fan though, I don't think I'd love the sport as much as I do without all the controversy, bad decisions and drama that accompanies each. England will have to prepare for a tournament without Wayne Rooney, at least in the early stages, clearing the way for a potential new icon to lead us into a land of hope and (footballing) glory.