Manchester United and QPR Sket Balls: Rio Ferdinand is a role model, say FA
BANS in football are often arbitrary and baffling. Teams with racist fans have been charged less amounts than fans carrying flares and one player can spit in an opponent’s face and get a lesser ban than someone throwing a punch.
So with that, we come to the sticky problem that is Manchester United legend and QPR makeweight Rio Ferdinand.
If you missed it, Rio used the word ‘sket’ in a tweet. If you don’t know what sket means, it is either ‘a woman who is considered to be of loose morals’ or, more accurately, a lady who only wants to have sex with black men. Okay? All clear.
Ferdinand has been banned for three matches and given a £25,000 fine. The QPR defender will also have to go on a mandatory education course. Rio has labelled the whole thing as “ludicrous”. However, he will not be challenging the punishment, instead, preferring to accept it and get it out of the way. Also, it is clear that challenging the verdict is an exercise in futility.
The FA, meanwhile, have said that the severity of the punishment is mainly to do with Ferdinand being a role model.
“With nearly 6m followers, Mr Ferdinand is clearly an experienced Twitter user and should know better,” said the FA. “He is, without doubt, a role model for many young people. His responsibility is therefore that much greater.”
Last week, Ferdinand posted a message on Twitter that read: “Is humour even allowed. I’m baffled! Ludicrous – I don’t mean the rapper.”
Rio is said to be so angry at the whole matter, that he’s unlikely to accept any invitations to work with the FA. Rumours are that Ferdinand feels that the FA is guilty of double standards by punishing him and ignoring other offences. Again, to Twitter, a user tweeted Rio and said: “I can see that the FA have operated a double standard here. They have not prosecuted Mackay & Moody & Referee Elleray” to which Ferdinand responded: “Preach!”
Malkay Mackay and Iain Moody, you may recall, were party to a whole host of emails and communications which were sexist, racist and homophobic. Referees’ chairman David Elleray avoided serious punishment earlier this year after being accused of making a racist comment to another official.
What is most puzzling is how the FA came up with such a penalty. It seems that using slang words (admittedly not particularly nice words) equates to a two-footed, leg-breaker of a challenge. One can end a player’s career, the other one was, ostensibly a rubbish ‘Your Mum’ joke. If the FA wanted to really stamp this out, they’d offer counselling and explain why Rio’s language – and not Mackay’s or Ellerey’s – language was a problem in football.
However, in the report itself, the FA went into amusing detail.
Jokes aside, there’s a problem here.
An arbitrary ban, a cash fine and some token ‘education’ isn’t going to change a player who still has a fractious relationship with the Football Association over the treatment of his brother, Anton Ferdinand, regarding the John Terry racism case.
The FA see Rio as a role model, but clearly don’t see themselves accountable for any sort of authority, transparency or the kind of decision making designed to make sense to anyone else.