Only a game? As Joxer says, ‘a principle’s a principle...’

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney pauses during the Champions League Group C soccer match against Basel at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Keystone/Laurent Gillieron)
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney pauses during the Champions League Group C soccer match against Basel at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Keystone/Laurent Gillieron)

Denmark must be rotten because this week I found myself agreeing with Mr. Heart Surgery himself Harry Redknapp. I’m not a Danish prince but I knew something must be wrong when I uttered the words ‘that’s right Harry, you tell ‘em.’

The point on which myself and the Spurs manager agree is that the English Football Association are in danger of being seen as hypocrites after ensuring that Wayne Rooney’s three match international ban is reduced to two.

Rooney, who is as articulate as a fossilised Tyrannosaurus Rex, travelled with a horde of stuffy looking men in expensive suits to Switzerland earlier this week to plead his case. UEFA, for some bizarre reason, decided that a three match ban for kicking an opponent was too harsh and reduced it by one game.

It all started in October when Rooney kicked out at Montenegro’s Miodrag Dzudovic during England’s final qualifier. Rooney knew exactly what he had done and was shown a straight red card.

The ball was yards away when Rooney kicked Dzudovic and even the world’s most skilled lawyer would find it hard to argue that the incident didn’t pertain to outright violence.

It’s no secret that the FA view Rooney as a talismanic player who can make or break their dreams of lifting the European Championship trophy in Kiev next summer but does a desire to win excuse compromising on everything they claim to stand for?

The FA is the governing body of English football. If a team want to appeal a red card dealt out to a player during a domestic game they must appeal to the FA. How can the FA expect to be taken seriously now that they have relentlessly lobbied UEFA to reduce Rooney’s ban? It’s hypocrisy, plain and simple!

The FA haven’t taken a strong enough stance with Rooney’s actions and seemingly, just because he’s the golden boy of English football, they have decided to put their principles aside and pursue selfish objectives.

I wonder how the FA would react to the news that a Swedish, Ukrainian or French (all of whom are in England’s group at next summer’s European Championships) player, who was banned for three games had their punishment reduced to two games. Would they keep quiet or complain? Who knows but one thing’s for sure is that because of their actions the FA will now face a barrage of complaints from clubs who fail to have their player suspensions reduced.

Redknapp’s ire was echoed by Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish and Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Mick McCarthy. Ex-Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy quipped that he’ll look forward to appealing to the FA if one of his players is shown a straight red card in the future - could you blame him?

The FA have left themselves wide open to criticism and few would disagree that the organisation’s credibility has been damaged.

As Joxer Daly says in Sean O’Casey’s play, Juno and the Paycock - ‘a principle’s a principle’ and the FA might rue their actions.