The FA recently ruled that Stoke City’s Charlie Adam will receive a three-match ban for his stomp on Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud.
After handing out the suspension Sky Sports Ben Swanson reported that Stoke City Chief Executive Tony Scholes wasn’t surprised by the ban because 'clubs like [Stoke] very rarely succeed in appeals to the FA'.
Before dissecting what Stoke’s Chief Executive said let's first discuss the matter at hand; that of Adam’s actions towards Olivier Giroud.
The replay shows that in their attempt to gain control of the ball Giroud slips mid lunge while Adam attempts to gain possession by getting between the ball and Giroud. Adam’s leaps into the empty space between both the Arsenal striker and the ball results in his forward foot landing directly on Giroud’s shin.
The FA retroactively ruled that Adam had acted violently in his attempt to gain possession of the ball. On first glance the challenge made by Adam looks ugly.
His foot, carrying his entire weight forward clatters onto the back of Giroud’s shin. It’s hard to see, after watching the incident a number of times, where Charlie Adam acted violently. Reckless, sure. But violent, I don’t think so.
Obviously the act is up to interpretation and the FA interpreted that it was violent. But in any decision there are a number of factors at play. Adam isn’t one to shy away from the rougher side of the game. Remember the tackle rough he made against Gareth Bale in an international match between Scotland and Wales.
Adam’s actions have created a certain profile of himself; one of a rash, reckless, aggressive and perhaps even violent player.
Now Tony Scholes’ has the right and duty to protect and stand up for his players, but going so far as claiming institutional bias within the FA is a stretch. In my opinion the FA took the opportunity to penalise a player it deems, however unfairly, to be too aggressive for their liking. Keep in mind that Adam has been booked a total of 34 times in the last four seasons.
It thus seems that Scholes’ conspiracy theory of collusion within FA or that there exists some sort of bias towards clubs “like Stoke” may be miss-founded or just hyperbolic rhetoric. Obviously this isn’t the first time that such an assertion is made, and it certainly won’t be the last time.
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