As if it needed compounding any further, the point that the FAI seem to be the most blissfully unaware about the problems with domestic football in this country was rammed home this past week and looks set to be done so even more in the coming one.
Firstly let’s cover the decision they have actually made, as on Thursday the Disciplinary Control Unit rejected the appeal made by Roddy Collins against his six-match touchline ban and fine of €1500 for comments made in his column in the Irish Daily Star, wherein he voiced criticisms of the current state of Irish football.
For someone to make me side with Roddy Collins in any dispute is a staggering feat but the FAI have once again managed to outdo themselves. Considering the amount of ranting buffoonery that has been displayed by the Waterford United manager down the years, that this is what has seen him disciplined – and so severely at that – beggars belief, and one thinks that if this were to set some kind of precedent, that nobody even semi-related to the league shall be voicing their opinions on it any time in the near future for fear of what repercussions may follow.
The following extract is a sample of what was apparently deemed out of line by the powers that be:
It (the League of Ireland) would be lost without the supporters and voluntary workers, everyone who tries their hardest to make it happen. Outside of that it’s a shambles.
So essentially a team has seen their manager be forcibly removed from the sidelines for over 20% of their remaining matches this season because he had the audacity to claim that they are reliant on the selfless work of their local community. Draconian barely scratches the surface.
If this is anything to go by, we can only assume that Derry boss Kenny Shiels will find himself in similarly hot water for his comments made in his post-match interview after his side’s visit to Dundalk was marred by a truly baffling refereeing performance that saw so many cards dished out I think I received one at one point.
Shiels’ main point of contention was Conor McCormack’s sending off for a second bookable offence, and how whether or not it was even a foul appeared to be more debatable than if it warranted a red card.
Measured and critical – though not vitriolic – in his assessment, that Shiels asserted the referee had potentially been influenced by the game being broadcast live on RTE will likely see him receive some form of punishment before there is any serious investigation made into why the officiating of the League of Ireland is criticised with such frequency.
It seems the trend being set is that managers are going to be fearful of being fined, or even banned, for simply being honest, which is ultimately what we’d all like to see rather than the cliché-ridden, overly media-trained spiel that we’ve become accustomed to from more widely-consumed leagues.
Whilst the rest of us wish for and admire such candidness, our association seems content with silencing the people preaching it who should be spokespeople for a game they are doing more for than those that are reprimanding them.