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And the FA speaks!

December 31, 2011

Finally! Check this link out for the FA’s written report with regards to the whole Suarez vs Evra saga. It’s a whopping 115 pages though! (Yes, I was rather shocked too).

According to the FA:

First, the starting-point is the natural and ordinary meaning of the words of Rule E3(1). Focusing on the words applicable to this case, Rule E3(1) states that a Participant shall not use abusive or insulting words or behaviour. The words are not complicated. The words of the Rule suggest to us that we should ask ourselves: do we consider the words or behaviour to be abusive or insulting? We have been entrusted with the task of answering that question. That the question may be difficult to answer in particular cases does not alter the fact that it is a straightforward question, uncomplicated by legal technicalities.” ( p 20)

So it was the FA who decided that what Suarez said was insulting and abusive.

We conclude these Reasons with the following comment. The Charge against Mr Suarez was that he used insulting words which included a reference to Mr Evra’s colour. We have found that Charge proved on the evidence and arguments put before us. The FA made clear that it did not contend that Mr Suarez acted as he did because he is a racist. Mr Evra said in his evidence that he did not think Mr Suarez is a racist. Mr Suarez said in evidence that he will not use the word “negro” on a football pitch in England in the future, and we believe that is his genuine and firm intention. (p 115)

Suarez did use the word ‘negro’ (or ‘negrito’ – I really don’t know anymore) to refer to Evra (he did admit this fact, by the way), but he never meant it in a racist manner. But because he did use the said word and that was the charge against him,the FA concluded that he is guilty, and therefore had to be punished. Moreover, according to the FA: “Mr Suarez’s words, which included a reference to Mr Evra’s colour, were insulting. The use of insulting words which include a reference to another person’s colour on a football pitch are wholly unacceptable.” (p 114)

Mr Evra was a credible witness. He gave his evidence in a calm, composed and clear way. (p 112)

Um. Okay. How was Evra a ‘reliable’ witness? How were they able to arrive at this conclusion?

Mr Suarez’s evidence was unreliable in relation to matters of critical importance. It was, in part, inconsistent with the contemporaneous evidence, especially the video footage. For example, Mr Suarez said that he pinched Mr Evra’s skin in an attempt to defuse the situation. He also said that his use of the word “negro” to address Mr Evra was conciliatory and friendly. We rejected that evidence. To describe his own behaviour in that way was unsustainable and simply incredible given that the players were engaged in an acrimonious argument.

There’s something about the line in bold above that I don’t really understand. So you mean to say that the FA didn’t believe that Suarez was using a particular word in such a way that he may have indeed been doing so just because they reckon that it was improbable?

This isn’t over, not by a long shot.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone, Luis Suarez.

December 30, 2011

Some weeks ago, right around the time Manchester United’s Patrice Evra accused Luis Suarez of uttering a racial slur aimed towards him, I made it a point to not blog or tweet about the incident, preferring to let everything play out on its own – at first at least. I wanted to wait until the result of the FA hearing was out before I make any comment. I wanted to get all sides of the story first – I wanted to hear what both Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra have to say before I make any judgments. I wanted to be rational in making judgments, simple as that.

A few days ago, the FA found Suarez guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra, sentencing him to an eight-match ban and a fine , and I was surprised with the result of hearing itself and the fact that they haven’t released any written report with regards to the results. To put things into perspective, Suarez did admit to calling Evra a ‘negrito’, but he was quick to point out that he did not mean to offend Evra, much more racially abuse him. In Uruguay, as mentioned in this particular article, it is acceptable to call a person black with regards to his or her skin color, period. In a nutshell, the concept of cultural relativism is in play here. Suarez is practicing something that is a norm in his homeland – he had no idea that he was doing something that might instigate issues regarding race. Besides, Evra himself stated that he didn’t believe that Suarez was racist, so one can’t help but wonder how the members of the FA came up with their decision. Meanwhile, Evra admitted to calling Suarez a ‘sudaco’, a deragatory phrase Europeans use to refer to people from South America, which Suarez admitted to not hearing. Strangely enough, however, Evra received no repercussions for his actions. What’s up with that?

All over the internet, people have been scoffing at Liverpool fans, condemning them – us – for allegedly ‘supporting racism’. Preposterous, and completely off the mark. We support Luis Suarez because we believe he is innocent and free of wrongdoing, not because we condone racism. Moreover, personally, I believe that it would be just plain wrong to have a person be labelled a racist when it couldn’t be clearer that he isn’t.

I support Luis Suarez not because he plays for Liverpool FC. I support him because he is innocent.

A Little Peek…

December 16, 2011

Check out this link which I got from Una  (best source of Real Madrid news in the net, plus she posts a lot of other good stuff as well) which showcases in the form of a video the Real Madrid dressing room after the Copa game against Ponferradina at El Toralin.

Mou takes the words ‘prepared’ and ‘meticulous’ to another level, doesn’t he? Look at all the plays he had drawn up. Seeing this video reminds me of the time where he apparently used coca-cola bottles in the locker room to demonstrate to the team what he wanted them to do. He truly is the coach for Real Madrid. But goodness, how dirty is the locker room!? I mean, come on. Their used socks are just there!

Looking Back

December 13, 2011

I’ve always been a fan of club football as opposed to international football, but make no mistake – I do support the Azkals. I do want them to succeed. I do want them to make a name for themselves in the game. I do consider them brilliant at the game. Truth be told, however, I’m not really a fan of any Azkal in particular. Yes, I do respect Ian Araneta, Chieffy Caligdong, Phil and James Younghusband, and Aly Borromeo amongst others, but I really wouldn’t consider myself a die-hard fan of these said players. Rather, I consider myself a fan of the Azkals – the team, and Philippine football – in general, if that makes any sense.

The past year as a whole has been positive for Philippine football and the Azkals. Our own football league is slowly transitioning to the mainstream – slowly but surely drawing on supporters, we’ve qualified for the AFC Challenge cup next year, we made it to the semi-finals of the Suzuki cup, and we also made it to the second round of the FIFA qualifiers for the first time in history. Baby steps, true, but considering where Philippine football was around this time one year ago, one couldn’t help but marvel at all the Azkals have achieved in such a short time.

One year ago, do you think that MLS champions LA Galaxy would even consider playing a friendly match with our national football team? No. The fact that they played against us last December 3, 2011 is testament enough to how far Philippine football has come in a single year, and truly, what an amazing year it has been for those who love the game.

El Clasico – An Epilogue

December 12, 2011

I refrained from posting about El Clasico mere hours after the match because I wanted to organize my thoughts first, and attempting to write a coherent blog post with my throat all choked up with bitterness isn’t exactly the nicest thing in the world. I won’t lie – I was disappointed with how Real Madrid played. The form they showcased this time around was incredibly reminiscent of last season’s 5-0 trashing. While watching this team play, it would be hard to believe that they actually had a 15 game streak prior to this particular match. The boys just seemed… lost (there’s no other word for it, really) for majority of the match. Yes, Di Maria, along with Coentrao, and surprisingly Lass, were brilliant, but only having a few players of a single team at the top of their game is never enough. Wait, before everyone gets on my case for being overly critical or something, I would also like to point out that we did play good during the first 20-30 minutes (containing Barcelona is no easy task, after all), but after that, everything just unraveled and fell apart. Cristiano was a shadow of his true self – I actually couldn’t help but cringe while watching him. He ended up missing chances that he would have capitalized on otherwise. Believe me, there’s nothing more disconcerting than watching Cristiano Ronaldo be less than spectacular.

But hey, before I forget, at least nothing worth grabbing the attention of the media (for all sorts of wrong reasons) happened. No eye-poking, no shoving of national teammates, no eye poking, no throat-grabbing or the like occurred, so three cheers for that! We finally have an El Clasico that’s actually a classic.

Anyway, I can’t help but feel that this thing Real Madrid has with Barcelona is more psychological than anything. We are more than capable of beating them, that’s for sure. But somehow, we just can’t. That’s really something Mourinho should address, because we won’t be beating Barcelona anytime soon if we don’t believe that we can actually beat them. I sincerely hope for a better showing next leg.

Before I end this blog post, let’s take a look at Kaka either losing his cool, or misjudging his aim – you decide. I won’t deny, however, that I erupted into peals of laughter after seeing this. This, after all, is so… un-Kaka!

It’s That Time of the Year Once Again

December 10, 2011

…No, I’m not talking about Christmas.

La Liga fans, Real Madrid fans, Barcelona fans – El Clasico is finally upon us. In 5 hours and 45 minutes, football’s biggest rivalry will be invading our television screens once again. If you were to ask me what I’m feeling right now, I really wouldn’t be able to answer properly. Feelings of excitement, anxiety and trepidation currently envelop me, so suffice to say, I’m a mess.

Real Madrid is currently 6 points ahead of Barcelona in the standings of La Liga, but as I’m (and everyone else for that matter) fond of saying, anything can happen in football. Standings and such don’t matter while a match is ongoing. Though I’m feeling a tad bit more confident of Real Madrid’s chances of winning at the Bernabeu right now as opposed to last year’s, and there’s the undeniable fact that we’ve had a fantastic display so far at the Champion’s League, there’s still this feeling of… wariness that I can’t shake off. Barcelona is a team that can never be underestimated, and I fervently hope that every Real Madrid player and coach does not forget this fact.

But really, aside from a Real Madrid win, there’s one more thing that I hope I will get to see during the match – a good game of football. I’m sick and tired of what El Clasico has come to represent these past few games – Oscar-worthy performances, diving, scuffles left and right, and blatant unsportsmanship. I don’t like seeing the game I love take a backseat to the theatrics that occur, and I sincerely hope that football fans get to witness a true classic of a game this time around.

But What’s Wrong?

December 5, 2011
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It’s now 11:57 pm, and in approximately four hours, Liverpool will be playing Fulham at Craven Cottage. As much as I would love to watch the match, I really need to get up early tomorrow for school, and staying up until 6:00 am is not an option. So now, here I am, attempting to organize my thoughts before I sleep, because I tend to get extremely anxious and nervous during game day.

If you compare how we are playing this season to how were doing last season, to say we are doing better by leaps and bounds is an understatement. The boys have been tremendous out on the field, and it’s such a joy to watch them. Lucas Leiva has stepped up incredibly this season, and seeing him weaving through defenders and setting up goals is always a pleasure. We’re currently 7th in the standings, with only 3 points separating us from 5th and 6th place, and we actually have a game at hand (vs Fulham). It should be noted however that we need to win against Fulham by at least three goals to move to 5th, and that’s where the problem starts.

Lately, Liverpool has been drawing games because of not scoring enough goals. A LOT. In perspective, Liverpool has played 13 games, and had won 6, lost 2, and drawn 5 respectively. The thing is, the draws aren’t exactly products of bad plays, wayward strategies, and the like. Goal attempts and chances have actually been abundant for the Reds, strangely enough – they just haven’t been successful in converting most of these chances to goals. The game against Manchester City (which we drew 1-1) is a prime example. The second half was full of almost!goals, but again, none of them were actually goals.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I simply don’t understand what Liverpool is doing wrong. The boys are all on form, yet somehow, it’s as if luck is seldom on our side. We should have won against Manchester City, but somehow, their keeper Joe Hart could do no wrong that same match. It’s just rather infuriating knowing that we deserve to win, and yet somehow… we don’t.

We need this win against Fulham – a WIN, not a draw – badly. We really do. We need to get back on track as soon as possible. Not playing is Europe next season is simply not an option.