21st September 2015: Charges all round as FA release statement

So the FA have today confirmed they will be charging Cheatsea’s Diego Cheata for his attempt to rip Laurent Koscielny’s face off with his bare hands, in the 43rd minute of Saturday’s game at Scamford Bridge.

But just in case they’re accused by Jose Mourinho of having an agenda against his ghastly club, they’ve also charged Gabriel with ‘improper conduct for his behaviour following his dismissal’, both clubs for failing to control their players and warned serial troublemaker Santi Cazorla for his behaviour following his own dismissal.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have also confirmed they are appealing wrongful dismissal and the three-match ban given to Gabriel. The full FA statement read:

Following the game between Chelsea and Arsenal on Saturday [19 September 2015], the FA has taken the following disciplinary action. 

Diego Costa has been charged for an alleged act of violent conduct which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video. The Chelsea forward was involved in an incident with Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny in the 43rd minute of the game. He has until 6pm tomorrow (Tuesday 22 September 2015) to reply. Off the ball incidents which are not seen at the time by the match officials are referred to a panel of three former elite referees. Each referee panel member will review the video footage independently of one another to determine whether they consider it a sending-off offence. For retrospective action to be taken, and an FA charge to follow, the decision by the panel must be unanimous. 

Arsenal defender Gabriel has been charged with improper conduct for his behaviour following his dismissal, whilst teammate Santi Cazorla has been warned for his behaviour following his sending off. Finally, both clubs have been charged for failing to control their players under FA Rule E20. 

Both clubs and Gabriel have until 6pm on Thursday [24 September 2015] to reply.

The first thing to ask is why has Diego Cheata been charged for only one act of violent conduct? Even if you discount the chest bump on Koscielny and the provocatively forceful palms to Gabriel chest, that still leaves the attempted face-off, scratching Gabriel’s neck and kicking out at Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. A hat-trick of violent acts.

I was hoping a for a wave of condemnation for the Brazilian-turned-Spaniard’s behaviour and although he’s received criticism in some quarters, when you have a high-profile figure like England assistant and Sky pundit Gary Neville going on Twitter to say ‘I like Diego Costa’ following the game, is it any wonder his constantly grotesque behaviour on a football pitch is tolerated? In fact, as Neville’s tweet suggests, it’s accepted, admired and perhaps even encouraged, which is ridiculous.

We may as well make our next signing from the WWE roster because if its grappling the fans want to see, then why not give them the real deal, rather than an average striker who spends most of the match trying to maim opponents and the rest of it shouting at the referee trying to get his victims dismissed.

Anyway, as Arsene Wenger said after the game, Gabriel, no matter how much he was provoked both physically and verbally by Diego Cheata, should have remained as cool as Koscielny, and not reacted. The man who’s place in our starting line-up the Brazilian has occupied in recent weeks, Per Mertesacker, has been giving his take to the controversial game when speaking on German TV. As transcribed by Arseblog News, he said:

First of all, he (Diego Cheata) should have been sent off. That’s what should have happened above all. He went far too far and it seems that English referees lack the common sense that’s necessary. The officials certainly didn’t look good in this situation. Having said that, Gabriel can’t let himself be provoked and he should have been walked away from the scene by his team-mates. So we have to take responsibility for the situation, too.

It was also put to the World Cup winner that Cheatsea fans seemed to revel in their striker’s behaviour at the weekend, which is bizarre given English football is very vocal about it’s dislike and supposed intolerance of dark arts like diving and cheating, often blaming foreign players for introducing them to the Premier League. He said:

Well, they certainly didn’t (hate cheating) today. Today the player got a standing ovation from his own fans and that shows you that the rivalry is more important than what happened on the pitch. That hurts, because it definitely didn’t show fairness and certainly didn’t show respect. Those are things football should stand for and that’s why I don’t want anything to do with this (*these sort of antics) myself. I hope it gets punished retrospectively since that option exists. The guy (Costa) was already punished a few times, but so far he hasn’t changed. So I hope the right conclusions are drawn and since there were several violent conducts, it should be easy to make the right decision.

And that’s the point right there – ‘it should be easy to make the right decision’. Except as today’s statement from the FA has shown, they have chosen to completely ignore the majority of Diego Cheata’s crimes on Saturday and in doing so, passed up the perfect opportunity to make an example of a hideous character who is a stain on the English game.

Multiple charges for multiple offences would have been fair and also increased the likelihood of Diego Cheata changing his ways. Instead he’ll serve any short ban he’s given after an inevitable appeal sees it reduced and continue scamming his way through the season at the expense of the competition’s integrity, quality and, ultimately, it’s reputation.

Mourinho told reporters after the game that Diego Cheata ‘needs’ to play this way and all but told the assembled press to shut up about it, because it’s players like him who sell the league to the millions around the world. But he’s wrong on both counts of course.

Players like Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, Eden Hazard, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil draw the crowds and flog the television rights worldwide, and you can show the heart, fight and determination which sets the Premier League apart from the rest, without being a Cheata like his star striker.

Til Tuesday.

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