THUS far, I’ve bitten my tongue over the “Wrestling-Gate” controversy following last Tuesday’s ill-fated Juventus CL last-16, first-leg tie; but this morning’s revelation that UEFA appear to be “irritated” by Celtic’s official protest is the last straw.
To be clear from the outset, I do not write this to minimise Celtic’s part in their own downfall on the night, or as a bleating, futile attempt to have the result overturned, the match replayed, or anything else of that nature. I actually think Celtic played heroically well; and could, perhaps SHOULD, have won the match, despite the dubious tactics deployed against them and the match officials’ flagrant dereliction of duty.
Apparently, though, UEFA feel that the request for clarification of the governing body’s views on the legitimacy, or otherwise, of the “Old Lady’s” distinctly un-ladylike defensive tactics is liable to influence the refereeing team for the second leg. Well, all I have to say to that is, “So it bloody well should!!!”
And if UEFA think differently, then I’d say we might as well rip up the rule book, save ourselves a fortune in match fees and travelling expenses (dare I say, bungs?) and go back to the playground days, when there were no referees (not to mention assistant referees, behind-the-goals officials, fourth officials, referee observers etc, etc) – and all the decisions were made by those that shouted loudest, or by the biggest bullies.
As for Stuart Dougal’s pathetic, mealy-mouthed “expert” analysis in vindication of Senor Mallenco’s leniency, I think he should make a closer study, both of the evidence and of the rule book, which is quite explicit in relation not only to foul play but also to misconduct, before pontificating either on penalties or dismissals. Likewise, a random review of the many other ties played on the night and since would highlight the gross extremity of Juventus’ strong-arm and in my opinion, illegal defending against Celtic.
There … I feel better, now.