Monday, October 27, 2008

The Styles saga - He got the decision right

I've held fire on the Rob Styles saga until now because I've been doing a bit of investigating. You'll recall that the FA rescinded the red card handed out by Styles to Habib Beye in Newcastle's match against Man City, when Beye tackled a player in the penalty area from behind, touching the ball first but bringing the City player down.
The thing is, Styles was right and it's as though he's the only person in Britain to have realised the laws of the game changed this season. Check out Law 12 on Where there used to be six offences for which a direct free kick or penalty are given, there are now seven. So now, a direct free kick is awarded if a player "tackles" in a manner considered by the ref to be careless of reckless.
In previous editions of the laws of the game, players did not commit a foul if they got the ball first, but that phrase has disappeared from the laws. It is no longer acceptable for a player to argue that they got the ball first when they have also cleaned out the player and sent him flying.
Beye did get the ball first, but his contact with it was minimal. Robinho, if he had been able to stay on his feet, might well have got to the ball and scored.
Thus Styles was dead right to send Beye off. He denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity with a reckless tackle.
But such is the mood in our game at the moment that it doesn't matter what the laws state. When the mob howls, our leaders bow down and scrape.

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