16 April 2013

Jason de Jong’s Phantom Yellow

That second yellow card shown to Global FC’s Jason de Jong in the United Football League clash tonight against Pasargad FC has got to be yet another embodiment in football terms of the cliché fact is stranger than fiction.

A Pasargad player burst forward from midfield to take a shot. De Jong slid to block it, turning his back to the ball as is the instinctive way players do to protect not only the face but also the bread basket and the family jewels.

De Jong’s arm was raised as he slid in, a purely reflex action part and parcel of the sliding movement. Of all things that the ball could hit, unfortunately – for de Jong, that is – the ball hit his arm.

For his troubles, de Jong was called for a foul and shown a yellow card; which meant that his endeavour for the night had come to a very rude end indeed.

There are a few rules in football that FIFA prefers to keep open to interpretation; and handball is one of these. It is so easy to say that there is a foul the moment the ball comes into contact with the arm or the hand.


A foul and a freekick would have been fine. A yellow card and a sending off, to my mind, was not only criminally stupid; it was also irresponsible.
But no; that is just too straightforward and football can be anything but. Controversy just has to be part and parcel of football.

And so, FIFA says that a handball can only be called if, as discerned by the referee, there is deliberate intent to handle the ball.

Applied to the de Jong situation earlier tonight, it can be argued based on the rule that the handball call was even contentious since he had his back to the ball when the shot was made.

How in hell can you deliberately handle a ball that you can’t even see? Somebody explain this please!

So, if the handball given was harsh, then the yellow was doubly so – and particularly as Global, despite leading by a goal, were then reduced to ten men.

De Jong’s yellow in the first half was of the sort that made him, in the past, my favourite thug. The lad has never been the sort to shirk away from a challenge; and if he could stick the cleats in, why the hell not?

To be fair, he’s cleaned up his act of late; which is why I can totally understand his annoyance with the undeserved sending off.

A foul and a freekick would have been fine. A yellow card and a sending off, to my mind, was not only criminally stupid; it was also irresponsible.

Fortunately, Global won the match 2-nil; but de Jong’s sending off has the potential to influence how the title race goes.

Global FC’s coach Brian Reid was also later shown the red card and banished to the stands – an indirect consequence of de Jong’s sending off. I do not condone Reid’s histrionics; but I can totally understand his frustrations.











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