Here’s something that I really find crazy about UEFA, and the governing body of football in general. They apparently can do nothing about players diving, wasting time in a match, acting unprofessionally; they can do nothing about referees failing to see obvious goals, penalties, or getting offside decisions totally incorrect; but if someone deliberately gets a yellow card, they are up at arms to defend the “fairplay of the game”.
The current incident concerns Real Madrid in their Champions League game against Ajax, where Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos seemed to deliberately get themselves booked for time-wasting, so that they could miss Real’s final game in the groups, rather than risk sitting out matches in the knockout stage. UEFA have charged the club for this, and the players are waiting to find out what punishments will be dealt.
Jose Mourinho has defended his players of course, though even he would find it hard to deny this tactic. My question, however, is what is so unfair about getting yourself booked. It is a victimless crime, and the only advantage gained by Real is the ability to rely on their own players rather than see them sit out important games for a meaningless yellow card received long ago. If Alonso and Ramos had really “earned” their bookings, such as if they had gone in for a bad challenge on an opponent, they probably wouldn’t have been charged. So what is UEFA’s message here? Yellow cards are ok, as long as you hurt another player? Whacky stuff.