Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Why Pardew's Punishment Slaps the Face of Decency

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Why Pardew's Punishment Slaps the Face of Decency

Article excerpt

Byline: Patrick Barclay

LET'S get one thing straight about Alan Pardew before addressing his two-match ban for shoving an assistant referee: the nature of his apology -- quick, candid and in public -- was refreshing and the FA commission rightly took it into account. But the punishment was still ridiculously light.

It sent out the most unhelpful message to every level of a game struggling, like the education system, in the face of social indiscipline. It proclaimed that physically taking out one's frustrations on the nearest body, even if he is a match official, is, well, a bit naughty rather than unthinkable, taboo, something you are frightened even to contemplate.

That status is now occupied only by breaches of health-and-safety or child-protection regulations and, while these are serious matters, they hardly outweigh the necessity for a match official to be able to conduct his function free of pushing, shoving or -- when the field is anonymous and the cameras take no interest -- a fear of escalation into serious violence. …

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