Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shocking The Drog Behavior !

The oddest aspect of the Didier Drogba coin toss was that he was allowed to carry on by the referee after aiming an abusive gesture at the Burnley fans, exchanging a few choice swear words and then forcibly returning a coin that a Burnley fan may or may not have 'dropped' on the pitch. The precedents are pretty clear on the matter.

The other incidents that I can recall that are similar are when Jamie Carragher under-armed a water bottle back into the crowd in 2002 (some people seem to recall that he threw a coin, but I remember it as a plastic bottle) and Gary Neville attempting to wind up buoyant Everton fans, in April 2005, by crashing a dead ball into the advertising hoardings - but inevitably missing and striking a spectator. Both received straight reds.

When El Hadji Diuof spat at Celtic fans at Celtic Park in March 2003 he was responding to being patted on the head following a slip; the referee was obviously unsighted otherwise another straight red would have been issued.

When Eric Cantona went somewhat further at Selhurst Park he had already been sent off - and was subsequently banned for six months.

That Drogba was booked can only suggest that the referee didn't see the whole incident and the FA will now inevitably respond with a minimum charge of bringing the game into disrepute. Add to this a possible court case - especially as there is a massive potential for ricochets in a situation where a rich man like Drogba is caught bang to rights. I would be surprised if fewer than 50 Burnley fans were 'hurt' by the coin!

Didier Dogba was clearly wound up by the loss of an automatic first team slot - Nic Anelka seems to be Scolari's first choice - and responded to that as well as some probably quite heated baiting. But there are no excuses, the apology was a good first step and may reduce the inevitable ban to just three games. Drogba has recently stated his intention to see out the remaining years of his contract - but if a bid comes in in January he may not now get the chance. Chelsea's finances are under a little pressure and if Scolari wants a little elbow room in the transfer market, Drogba could well be the catalyst.

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