Two Minute Warning
Football’s “cheats” are getting away with too much
It was a sickening Sunday if you’re of an Aston Villa or Tottenham persuasion, as two highly controversial decisions helped Manchester United and Chelsea claim precious victories. Shaking their heads in collective disbelief, the Life’s A Pitch panel tries to dissect the greater issues surrounding Ashley Young’s ‘dive’ and referee Martin Atkinson’s decision to award Juan Mata a goal, when TV replays clearly showed the ball hadn’t crossed the line.
Looking back on two contentious penalties awarded to Man Utd in as many weeks for alleged ‘fouls’ on Ashley Young, the Sunday Telegraph’s Duncan White wonders if the England winger will find it hard to shake off his newfound reputation in a hurry. “Young’s in trouble because if your own manager is calling you out, you know you’ve sunk pretty low,” he claims. “The problem for him now is that people will be aware of him, referees will be aware of him, and he won’t win them [penalties] any more, certainly not as easily.”
Contemplating Chelsea’s second goal in their FA Cup semi-final thrashing of Spurs, David Walker of the Sunday Mirror believes that the Blues players should be under the microscope for their own actions, just as much as under-fire referee Martin Atkinson. “John Terry and [Juan] Mata knew it wasn’t over the line,” he says. “Players want the referees to be spot on with every decision, yet they cheat and exploit. They will say it was an act of gamesmanship to get there and that the end justifies the means.”
While conceding that Atkinson’s error was inexplicable, The People’s Tom Hopkinson doesn’t believe the red-faced official should be punished too severely. “I don’t think he [Atkinson] should be banned, that’s too harsh,” explains Tom. “He’s just had a shocker, but you should send him away for a couple of weeks, get him away from the game and maybe bring him back for one game in the Championship or League One before the end of the season to get him back in.”
Watch the full video discussion by clicking on the image play button above.
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