Black eyes go unpunshed

A statement on the official Leeds United site has criticised the FA for what they call a lack of consistency after Luciano Becchio was left with a black eye following an elbow from a Hull City player on Tuesday night.

Just two weeks earlier Luciano Becchio was the victim of a horror tackle from Cardiff City’s Jay Bothroyd that went unpunished, leaving the Leeds United fans and manager outraged.

Both incidents were largely unseen during the games and have been brought to light by video replays after the fact. The phenomena, dubbed ‘trial by replay’ has become a big part of football discipline hearings over recent years but there appears to be very little consistency in the FA’s decision and use of the replays to punish those involved.

On both occasions, the FA claim the referee saw the incident and would not second guess him as a result. However, both replays show the referee badly placed and looking elsewhere so I think it’s safe to conclude someone is deceiving us somewhere!

Referees come under a lot of scrutiny these days because of the Sky Sports era in which we live, and I think that goes a long way to explaining why the referees seem to be lying to the FA. By accepting they missed the incident and got it wrong, they’re undermining their own authority. This will in turn lead fans to further question the referee’s right and ability to govern the game, so it makes sense for them to collectively prevent video replays being used to punish players.

Meanwhile, the FA continue to be their own worst enemy. The FA tells us that it wants to send a positive, fair play message to youngsters playing the game, by cutting out nasty tackles and cheating at the highest levels. The Hull City elbow in particular contradicts that philosophy completely. When a replay like that is available, youngsters are going to see it and think they too can get away with it so long as the referee isn’t watching. When the FA also fail to punish players afterwards, where’s the deterrent?

I think Leeds United are right to complain about consistency. Last night we saw the always thuggish Joey Barton punch Pedersen in an incident not dissimilar to the elbow Becchio took, with the referee seemingly looking elsewhere. With the Barton incident covering column inches in all the national rags, I’d be willing to bet good money he gets punished.

All the while, Luciano Becchio watches on through one eye and the rest of us are expected to believe that two separate referees saw a potentially career ending lunge and an elbow to the head, yet felt no action was necessary – and people wonder why Leeds fans feel victimised.

25 Responses

  1. Dje

    Entirely agree.

    Nothing wrong in a ref admitting he missed an off the ball incident – as it probably means they are doing the job, ie following the play of the game. Perhaps one day we will have a clear goal not given with the ref admitting afterwards that he never even saw a shot being taken let alone whether it crossed the line, as he was too interested in covering all possible avenues of off-the-ball incidents to bother following the actual game.

    You have to have the deterrent factor of punishment hanging over players. A professional foul = a red card. That is a tactical decision, a little beyond the spirit of the game, but it is fair enough – you deny a goal and you lose a player as a result.

    If refs miss something on the field, the player has to know that yes they may get away with cynically blinding the opposition (for life?) and forcing a substitution, but the repercussions will (and defiantly will, not perhaps) be at least a three match suspension.

    Do you think James Pearson would genuinely weigh up the pros and cons of risking Ashbee elbowing Becchio so that the Leeds forward would have to retire early and have some marginal advantage for the remaining 20 minutes of the game (or until Somma comes to reap revenge), if he also knew that Ashbee would be categorically banned from the next 3-5 games. No way, you’d fancy that Ashbee might help gain more points in those 3-5 games for Hull than any he help the team pick up from an elbowing of Becchio in that one match against Leeds.

    Not to say that Pearson told Ashbee to elbow Becchio. But, aside from having him sent off for it, I imagine Pearson won’t be too bothered about it. Essentially Ashbee, Pearson, Hull got away with it. So it makes sense to have a manager knowing that an elbow instantly will mean a three match ban and a fine for his one member of his squad, regardless of whether a red is shown during the match or afterwards. Perhaps only then will you get teams to actually want to play a game of football, and not play the ‘game’ element of football.

    • Dje

      Sorry, I meant Nigel Pearson. Tsk, I think I went to school with a kid called James Pearson.

  2. Bradley Lomas

    This is truly disgusting! Look at the poor man, how the hell can this go unpunished?!

    I’m usually one of the first to stick up for referees, and defend them, by saying they’re only human, and they make mistakes. But simply lying to the FA just to save his own backside? Ridiculous!

    Anyway, just want to send well wishes to Luciano, and a speedy recovery. If no justice is done, i say next time we play Hull, A foot to the testicles wont go a miss :)

  3. Bill


    At first glance of the photo I thought you had done this to get Somma a start!!


  4. Dan

    what makes these issues worse is the fact that the referees get no punishment for their poor performances! I totally agree with Tony Pulis, when he states officials should be judged then relegated and promoted accordingly! Incidents happen in every game, but if a ref can honestly say he saw the incidents on Becchio, then the FA have a bigger problem in that the referees really font know what they are doing! Lets face it, if you performed like this in your job you would be strung up!

  5. Boo Hoo

    AAAWWWWWW bless him, did he take a little knock awwwwww. ASHBEE is a legend every leeds supporter and player should have a black eye. Leeds are scum.

    • Loki

      Awww poor Hull fan who thinks that Leeds hate Hull and it’s a rivalry! You mean fuck all to us! Insignificant shit little club. The very fact that Ian Ashbee is a club legend signifies even further the triviality of Hull City.

      Sit down, shut up.

  6. steve underwood

    So ashbee is a legend is how proud to have a thug as a legend still he might look ok in league one next season.A poor hull side who parked 4 at the back 6 in midfield had to rely on great free kick and lucky own goal,they never once tried to play football if BOO HOO you are happy watching that then i feel very sorry for you

  7. Boo Hoo

    BOO HOO little old leeds, you are right when your back in leauge one again and we are playing PL football again, you wont mean fuck all to us.

    Its hard to belive that dirty leeds are crying over a little knock, what gays. ha ha ha

    • Loki

      Gay? Wow… I need to go and reconsider my life, Boo Hoo I really appreciate you’re input here. I could have carried on blindly down this road, but this has really come as a wake up call for me… How could I be so naive?!

      You know, the world needs more insightful down to earth men of the world like you to right everything that is wrong. Kudos to you. Truly, you sir are enlightened.

      I think the greatest point to take from this is your selflessness, looking on the internet to find a blog or forum for supporters of a team you don’t even support just to show us the error of our ways. You must have time to kill.

      Although he may (may) have felt bad about it at the time, clearly your Dad’s decision to fuck his sister and get her pregnant wasn’t lost on society. We have him to thank for this truly inspired thought provoking rhetoric of a man who could best be described as Cunt.

  8. steve underwood

    To be fair to BOO HOO it must hard to find any other hull fans forum so he has to come on here.It must be hard when your real local derby are scunthorpe and grimsby that must get you really excited,anyway of you go back to your fishing and living in the worst city in england

  9. TheReaper08

    @Boo Hoo “BOO HOO little old leeds, you are right when your back in leauge one again and we are playing PL football again, you wont mean fuck all to us.”

    You may have a long wait before you get back to the PL, may I suggest an education to keep you busy in the meanwhile.

  10. TSS

    @Stevie I salute you fellow Leeds fan. That, is one of the most amusing comments I’ve read on TSS.

    @TheReaper08 “…in the meanwhile”? Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as meantime, does it?

    • TheReaper08

      @TSS Meanwhile – during the period of time between two events.

      Good enough for me and certainly aces leauge, fuck and you are right when your back in leauge one again.

  11. TSS


    Most definitely. I’m the last person who can criticise anyway with my reluctance to proof-read things prior to publication. It results in at least half a dozen blunders a week.

    In fact, I’ve just realised that I have a new top ten entrant after comparing Revie to the “Egyptian” God, Zeus. Unusually for TSS, it was published for at least a hour and no one noticed!

  12. TheReaper08

    @TSS I won’t criticise as my record on both spelling and grammar is atrocious.

    I do take offence however when our friendly domain is invaded by the likes of the above.

  13. Colin

    @TSS Spot on as usual, Joey Barton’s got a 3 match ban for violent conduct.

    Having your arm up at any time isn’t good but sometimes black eyes and arms in the face do happen accidentally and sometimes the ref acts and sometimes he doesn’t. But what makes this worse and a real case for video evidence is that this (and the Bothroyd challenge) were pre-meditated. If it’s pre-meditated then it’s violent conduct and that should be allowed to be assessed by video evidence and punishments handed out accordingly whether the ref saw it or not.

    The Bothroyd challenge was high and he knew he had no chance of getting the ball. Pre-meditated.
    Ashbee knew that Becchio had no-where to go – if watch the video you can see is is tangled and man to man with the other player. When the ball comes down there’s nowhere for either player to go. Ashbee knew this, and made a concious decision to go in with the arm and not for the ball but for the man – Ashbee got no where near the ball and got the man long before the ball came into a position where he could get it.

    That’s violent conduct.

    @bradleyjames17 forget Ashbee testicle time next time we’re at Hull. Next time we have that ref, someone should walk up to him, smack him in the eye and ask him if he saw that.

  14. TSS


    It’s the difference that column inches make. It’s absolutely crazy how inconsistent the game remains, despite the benefit of technology to improve it. This irrational fear FIFA, the FA and purists have that technology is the crux of all evil is really holding back the game.

    Reducing the human element from the game can only be a good thing. No one can try to con a computer and there is no point rolling around on the floor acting. Rather than a 4th official to hold a substitutes board up, would it really be so hard to have someone watching it on a TV screen with the benefit of replays and a mic to the ref?

  15. les irwin

    that is a disgrace if that had been in a town centre it would be assault end off we have had rough or no justice again the fa want to sort em selves out they are in effect useless to make matters even worse that other tosser bothroyd has been given player of month award .i reckon it will take one of our players to get killed before owt happens

  16. Gryff

    The FA really are making themselves look ridiculous. We all know that the FA are an old-boys’ club, while FIFA’s corruption is being exposed weekly.

    It was a bad elbow. The annoying thing is that Chris Gunter of Forest fame was sent off for a girlie stamp on Sanchez Watt earlier in the season while a potentially leg-breaking tackle (with the man’s eyes clearly fixed on said leg, not the ball) at Cardiff is swept under the Welsh FA’s rug and an elbow in the face (all strikes to the face are supposed to be a red card) is probably to be completely ignored. And this is just Leeds United’s complaints.

    Frankly, I couldn’t care much less about people using elbows and the occasional crunching tackle (though Bothroyd’s was terrible), but we must remember that this is a game. A game that kids watch, and that fills a void in many kids’ lives. What kind of an example is it when a frustrated footballer can just elbow someone in the face and get away with it, or attempt to break somebodies leg and is then given the opportunity to laugh about it on TV after the match?

  17. sunnyleeds

    Better ignore these losers. They have no place on this blog.

    Leeds have been suffering from bad decisions for decades. Harsher decisions which have cost us dearly include Raymond Tinkler’s decision to overrule the linseman who was flagging for offside in the match against West Brom in April 1971: a goal which cost us the League championship; Greek referee Christos Michas’s string of bad decisions in the European Cup Winners Cup against Milan in 1973 which led to Michas being banned after he was accused of taking a bribe; Michel Kitabdjian who disallowed a legitimate Leeds goal in the European Cup final against Bayern Munich in 1975, and on and on, down to decisions we witnessed the last fortnight, though of a less serious nature.

    One day these will be calalogued, and with today’s technology one could assess the mess that referees have laid down on Leeds through the years.

    The only thing one can do now is to adopt a policy of NAME AND SHAME. Videos of these bad decisions should be put on a site. Names like that of referee Christos Michas should never be forgotten. And the same applies to relatively more petty incidents like the elbow on Becchio’s eye.

    I totally support the club when they do not take such decisions lightly.


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