The FA is a complete and utter joke, which makes today's news that Robert Huth has escaped punishment for his blatant stamp on Luis Suarez unsurprising but still disappointing. In cases in which the official has seen an incident there's nothing that can be done retroactively, and given Lee Mason's reputation for being absurdly competent and all-knowing, there's no reason to doubt the decision. Accidental, he says. But of course, Lee Mason, it's quite common for folks who have perfect balance to hold their arms up in the air and stamp a foot down to just make sure that they're balanced oh what's that a chest down there? How curious, better use it for footing.
In fairness, the incident has received a decent amount of coverage, at least in the Liverpol-centric world, and many neutrals have also been quick to condemn both Huth's actions and the failure of the FA to have anything resembling common sense. But what's received just as much, if not more, attention was the later incident involving Suarez, one that Tony Pulis picked out as worthy of a three-match ban. It was a dive, pure and simple, as the Uruguayan first lost his footing and then flopped his way to the ground, arms out. With so much attention on the penalties not given that were actually deserved, the move was poor in taste and timing, and didn't do any favors to a club that's vehemently defended him time and again.
Today Brendan Rodgers has resumed some form of that defense, though, this time pointing out the lopsided nature of coverage around Suarez:
"As manager of this football club I find it incredible that in nearly all the coverage about Luis Suarez this weekend, very little focus has been placed on the fact that he was actually the victim of a stamping incident within the first five minutes of the game. At this moment there seems to be one set of rules for Luis and another set for everyone else."
I'm of two minds here--first, I'm glad that Rodgers has come to the defense of one of his players, and managed to show awareness of the level of criticism and critique that'll be aimed at him on a match-to-match basis. There certainly is a higher level of vitriol aimed at Suarez, and with his reputation constantly referenced during match coverage, it's hard to not agree that there's something other than the standard rules being applied to the player when he's on the pitch.
On the other hand, I'm hopeful this is as far as things go from the club's perspective, as I've got little interest in another saga unfolding that sees Liverpool spending as much time managing things off the pitch as they do on it. Matters last year involving Suarez were cringe-worthy at times; even as bad as the football was, the public relations nightmare that unfolded for Liverpool was even worse. This is a completely different matter, but no doubt one that could chase the club as the season progresses.
It's an issue without a defined right or wrong way to be handled, which likely makes things difficult for Brendan Rodgers and the club. But hopefully they can find a way to conduct their business without sacrificing the club's integrity--one that, as he states later in his release, "protect(s) the values, spirit and people of this great club and game while searching for a consistent level of results in order to make progress on the field."