Football: FA sends out right message
Saturday 24 October 1998
This time they have got it spot on. The suspension is long enough to send out a message that referees are sacrosanct but not so severe as to appear vindictive. For once the slow pro-cesses of football's judiciary were helpful as the witch-hunt atmosphere, which had as much to xenophobia as to sensible judgement, had subsided. They were able to view Di Canio's offence for what it was: an unforgivable contact with a referee but not a violent assault. David Batty and Emmanuel Petit both pushed referees last year, but, since David Elleray and Paul Durkin kept their feet, escaped heavy sanction.
Many people, especially officials involved in park football, would have liked to see a harsher penalty, one which would have reverberated around Hackney Marshes and beyond where referees do not have police protection and players are too often ignorant of the rules and quick to anger. There is much sympathy for that view, but it would have been unjust. Each case must be viewed on its merits and Di Canio's punishment fits the crime. As it was he committed one of football's greatest sins but, in the context of a Premiership match, the contact made was slight and highly unlikely to injure.
Whether he will ever play again for Wednesday, or in this country, is yet to be seen. He will have to emulate the self-control evinced by Eric Cantona, when he returned from exile, if he is to do so successfully.
Latest in Sport
David De Gea to Real Madrid: Manchester United goalkeeper spotted arriving at Madrid airport
Angel Di Maria to Bayern Munich: Manchester United to make £24m loss as club want '£35m' for Argentina flop
Wimbledon 2015: Dustin Brown knocks Rafael Nadal out of the championship
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Chelsea 2015/16 home shirt leaked again as new picture appears online
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Russell Brand condemns moment of silence for Tunisia attack victims as a 'minute of bulls**t'
- 4 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 5 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...
£14500 - £17500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are contractors to...