In the build up to the
vs. Man United game this evening the two stories that seem to be dominating the headlines are Wayne Rooney’s alleged elbow from the weekend and the shooting incident involving Ashley Cole, an air gun and a student on work experience. The question has been asked: should either of them be playing this evening? Chelsea
First of all, I think that both incidents should be treated completely separately. Let’s take a look first at Wayne Rooney. For me I think that the ref has got this wrong and that it deserved a red card. No questions asked. I guess the interesting point to come out of this is the response of the clubs and the FA. I have blogged before about how outrageous it is that the FA aren’t allowed to hand out further punishment if the ref brandished a yellow card (it point blank refuses to accept that referees are human and equally capable of making mistakes as the rest of us), but in this instance the referee took no action in terms of cards and so the FA had the perfect opportunity to issue the appropriate sanction. It failed to do so. I accept that issues of violent conduct are subjective and that there will be disagreements but I do not think that there will be many football fans up and down the country that can defend what Rooney did.
Secondly, the Ashley Cole story. This one is staggering. I don’t know what it is about the guy but he just can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble. Whether he should be allowed to play this evening or not though is, for me, pretty straightforward. Taking the actual nature of the incident at the moment, what occurred was an example of misconduct at the training ground. The club have decided to reprimand him internally, which looks as though it could be a telling off and a fine equivalent to approximately 2 weeks wages. If the police decide to get involved to investigate whether a crime has been committed, so be it. The point I am trying to make is that it has the square root of nothing to do with football and should be kept as such. If you take into account that a weapon was involved and that someone was hurt then clearly this is a very serious matter, however speculating about what happened won’t get anyone anywhere. What I would say is that if you are carrying a gun around you are solely responsible for it and pointing at someone else is entirely unacceptable. It doesn’t matter if you think it is loaded or not; you may not get a second chance with a firearm. Maybe an appropriate course of action would be to remove any license that Ashley Cole may have (do you even need a license for an air rifle?).
So, in short I think that we are talking about two very serious incidents but two very different incidents and they therefore should be treated as such. One is to do with football and, directly, a game and any punishment should be in line. The other is possibly a criminal matter and as such should be dealt with by the police and the courts. Otherwise it is a private matter that can be dealt with accordingly.