When Nottingham Forest player, Chris Gunter stamped on Sanchez Watt’s foot on Sunday the travelling Leeds United faithful were outraged that the referee didn’t produce a red card. I saw things a little differently however, realising Gunter’s actions were in retaliation and knowing that the referee could quite easily have sent several players off for the altercation that followed.

Thankfully, it seemed that both Leeds United and Nottingham Forest had avoided costly suspensions as the referee remained lenient in what had been an extremely fiery encounter between the two fallen giants. The FA however, have decided to take a second look at the incident and will decide whether disciplinary action is necessary.

This is not good news for Leeds or Forest who are both struggling with numbers at the moment. Forest have a threadbare squad that Davies has failed to strengthen during the summer and the Whites are without several key players including Robert Snodgrass, Billy Paynter and Patrick Kisnorbo.

What’s particularly irritating about the whole thing is the hypocrisy of the FA. When a referee makes a bad decision and sends a player off unfairly, the FA rarely overturn the ban and usually tell us the referee’s decision is final. Why then, despite the assistance of two officials in coming to his decision, is the referee’s authority being undermined in this case? Simple – because it was on Sky.

These kinds of incidents happen season after season, and very rarely result in a FA investigation. Throw the Sky Sports cameras into the equation however, and the aftermath of the match continues for another week afterwards.

I’m not saying that both Sanchez Watt and Chris Gunter didn’t deserve sending off, because in truth, they probably did. But the referee spoke with his officials, heard the thoughts of the players and came to the decision to simply caution the two players – a decision that worked as both players kept out of trouble for the rest of the game.

I fear this could result in a 3-match ban for Sanchez Watt. Simon Grayson insists that Watt’s initial stamp was unintentional, but it’s hard to judge and the FA are unlikely to punish Gunter without dealing the same damage to Sanchez Watt and Leeds United too.

UPDATED: The FA have decided to fine both clubs for failing to control their players and have also “offered” Chris Gunter a three-match ban for his part in the incident.

  • Lee

    If the referee has issued a yellow card for the insident, the rulling is that they have already acted and cannot increase the yellow to a red.

    If the referee had missed the incident and not taken any action, then Watt and Gunter would both be up for 3 match bans.

    If any further action is taken it will just make a further mockery of the ‘crazy’ rules that exist in today’s football.

  • Craig

    I fear the same TSS but I think it is more likely that Gunter will be more harshly treated than Watt.

    • Andy

      You may be forgetting who Watt plays for. I believe there’s an automatic 25% bias against any Leeds player in any FA investigation. And Forest are nice and cuddly, so there’s another 10% bias.

  • Christopher Gee

    If the yellow cards dished out by the ref were only given in response to the handbags that started after the stamping then hopefully any further action against Watts is unlikely. But that’s a gamble we don’t need and SG might have done well to keep his thoughts to himself. Completely inconsistent, as you say, so we’ll probably have 15 points docked.

  • herdee string

    ‘I aren’t saying…’ –

    I AM you dumb muthaf**ker.

    • Craig

      @herdee string

      RESPECT – that is no language to use about a legend. Many of us have the occasional dig about TSS’ grammar but we do it respectfully.

  • TSS

    @herdee string

    Haha, I do that a lot! Even though I know it’s wrong, I rarely proof-read anything before publishing so leave myself open to Grammar Police such as yourself.

    Keeps you pedantic so and so’s busy if nothing else.

    • Andy

      The apostrophe is not used to pluralise. It signifies possession or abbreviation.

      So and so’s means either ‘belonging to so and so’ or ‘so and so is’.

      So and sos means more than one so and so, which is presumably what was intended.

      Sorry. I couldn’t stop myself.

      • TSS

        That’s it, you’re all banned!

        Just kidding, I was actually unsure there. ‘So and so’ is singular, which was wrong as the Grammar Police are many, so I went with ‘so and so’s’ which looked wrong, but so did ‘so and sos?’

        Probably should have just called them all c*nts and had done with it!

  • Bill Fox

    This investigation can only bring bad news and is so unnecessary. Still, it may solve the ‘who does Snoddy come in for’ question!

    • TSS

      @captaincrash

      Snoddy replaces Johnson or Kilkenny in my mind (with Gradel replacing the other)

      @craig

      Haha, cheers for that mate! (Even though I detect a hint of exaggeration/sarcasm)

      • Craig

        @TSS

        Absolutely no exaggeration or sarcasm intended TSS.

        • Craig

          I’m simply trying to make your life easier so you have time to update the Predictions League table ;)

  • Muppets

    They are investigating the incident, not the players. They are duty bound to do that for any flare up. They may well take action against the clubs for failing to control their players or against other individual players if necessary but that cannot punish Watts and/or Gunter any further.

    • TSS

      @muppets

      Of course they can, they’ve done it before numerous times. Granted, they usually extend the ban of a player who has already received one but I’d not be surprised to see Gunter or Watt receive one in this instance.

      Still, I hope you’re right and it’s nothing more than a fine for both clubs.

  • Jaygoooner

    Sanchez of Arsenal versus Gunter of Tottenham. Accident waiting to happen weren’t it lol. Your reading of the indicent is spot on TSS. Without any Sky cameras there, the spat would already be yesterdays news.I propose we get rid of referees, assistant referees, fourth and fifth officials and just let Andy Gray and Richard Keys make all the decisions. That way, Man Utd win the Premier League every year, Old Red Nose gets made a Lord and everyone is happy.

  • les irwin

    the FA in theory can do nothing as someone said yellow cards were issued chances are with the F A gunter will get nothing and watt banned for life however gunter should have been off it was a deliberate stamp ,watt did step on him accidently.but the ref issued a card, now was that for the fighting (handbags )or the incident if it was for the fighting then there was no cards for the stamp so retrospective punishments can be used ,so expect gunter to get nothing and watt banned for life

  • We Beat The Scum One-Nil

    Agree with Lee re rules – the ref dealt with it and so no further action is possible (bans are only increased where an inappropriate appeal is made against a ban already imposed).
    Agree with Andy re apostrophy – so and sos!!

  • Muppets

    I challenge you to name one instance when the FA has handed an additional penalty, be it fine or ban or even suspended sentance, to anyone who has been yellow carded by the referee. Just one will do.

    If the ref had not booked either player or had sent them off, yes, I agree, the FA would be able to (and should) impose further sanctions, especially on Gunter.

    • TSS

      @Muppets

      As others have correctly pointed out, it depends on what the ref says the yellow cards were issued for. If the FA claim the yellow cards were given for the handbags in the box, they can do whatever they like with regards to the stamping.

    • TSS

      @Muppets I hate to say ‘I told you so’ mate, but looks like Gunter is getting a three-match ban.

      http://www.leedsunited.com/news/20100817/fa-statement-on-forest-game_2247585_2125730?

  • Craig

    But surely the FA can’t ‘claim’ anything other than is written in the referee’s report?

    • TSS

      @craig

      Even so, if the ref has attributed the yellow to the handbags, they can punish for that, and if he’s attributed it to the stamp, they can punish for the handbags.

      I’ll behave now before I have to put on my “everyone hates us and we don’t care” Leeds United/FA conspiracy hard-hat

      • Colin

        @TSS – that’s right – if the ref didn’t see the stamp (and he didn’t) then he could say that the yellow was for the scuffle and the FA can impose a ban on Gunter.

        The FA did this with Adebayor in March when he ran to the other end of the pitch and celebrated in front of the Arsenal fans. The ref said he gave him a yellow card for wasting time. The FA gave him a 3 match ban.

        Also, the FA may also be looking at the referee, especially if the reports from both Grayson and Billy Davies were particularly damning.

        I think Gunter will get a 1 or 2 or 3 match ban for the stamp. I don’t think Watt will get anything.

  • Forest fan here again! I guess the ban that has been offered to Gunts suggests that the yellow cards were for the scuffle, rather than the initial incident. I’ve only seen Gunts’ part in the incident, so cannot comment on whether Watt was lucky – I don’t think our lad can complain too much though.

    I completely agree that this has only come up because of the cameras. I think the ref generally did a good job and didn’t want to get the cards out, so good on him.

    As for anti-Leeds bias, I can’t comment, but the FA treated Forest very harshly twice last season against Derby, when the woolly ones started fights (albeit with provocation) and Forest players tried to break it up – we got big fines on both occasions whereas Derby got off lightly.

    • TSS

      Hi Rish,

      We do seem to draw the short straw with the FA and FL all too often. For me, I still can’t accept they had any justification for docking us a total of 25 points after administration. Aside from the fact I find the idea of punishing a team in severe danger of going under absolutely ludicrous in the first place, to allow our opposition to decide whether they should have an advantage over us beggars belief!

      As for the decision, it’s definitely because of the cameras. If it wasn’t on TV we wouldn’t be talking about this now and the FA know it. Can’t say I’m surprised though as the FA is rarely consistent.

      I’m not saying the ban is harsh, but if it just grates on me that the FA spin the line of “the referee’s decision is final” one minute, then undermine them the next!

  • Craig
    • TSS

      Haha, whoever wrote that is a legend!

  • Tim Wilsom

    Just read that a while ago. Brilliant

  • les irwin

    we did tell you muppets this would happen ALL OF US LOL gunter should have been off it would have been a less of a ban for him 1 game but now 3 if he contests it 4 it wasd nowt but a stamps a stamp

    • I agree that most refs, if they saw it, would have sent Gunts off. I can only assume that the ref didn’t see it, booked them both for the handbags and hence the FA are able to punish retrospectively for the stamp.

      But if the ref didn’t see it, and neither did any of the officials, then he couldn’t send them off, could he?

      Gunts was a very silly boy and you cannot really complain about a three-match ban in the circumstances. I wish I knew what Watt had done to pee him off though.

  • Matt BB

    I have to say three games is a bit stiff for gunter, cant say i am too sympathetic though given some of the ludicrous bans handed out to our players, and given gradels four game ban, i am now thinking he got off lightly.

    Looking forward to having both Somma and gradel as options, a bit of pace in attack sounds good to me.

  • The hypocracy of the FA knows no bounds, why didn’t review the Gradel incident with such verve when the Bristol player attacked Becchio and only Gradel was sent off.