Friday, February 04, 2005

4 February 2005: Tapping

So the whole did-they didn't-they row rages on. Did Chelsea - perhaps even Jose Mourinho himself - "tap up" Ashley Cole with regards to making a move for the Arsenal defender? According to the BBC, there are a number of possible punishments the FA could take, including a points deduction or even expulsion from the league.

Except for one thing: precedent.

Readers with web browsers (which is the vast majority, I would imagine) could click to read to my previous blogs here and here to refresh their memory of the Beattie/Aston Villa saga, which was resolved by Villa being told they were very naughty boys and they mustn't do it again. Not even a fine, which no doubt made Doug Ellis very happy. Far from setting a price that you can pay to the FA or to the club concerned if you want to make an illegal approach, the FA decided you could do so for free, provided you were willing to be told off by them afterwards for being so very naughty.

Chelsea can happily afford any price short of points deduction (frankly, they can even afford a good chunk of that and still win the Premiership) - but the precedent has clearly been set. No matter how many sworn affidavits the Sun can come up with, the precedent has been set: Villa and O'Leary were guilty, and the punishment was laid down.

Goodness me, if the FA do anything other than reprimand Chelsea (if they're even found guilty, something that can't happen yet given the lack of investigation), they'll be inconsistent. Imagine that? I can't. Surely they'll abide by precedent.

Elsewhere, good news is that it seems the death toll from the Iraqi election didn't grow, and the west are hailing the elections as a massive success. And frankly, they're quite right to do so - the Iraqi people have taken the chance to let their voice be heard. Of course, the majority are Shia, so good chance there'll be a Shia majority government elected when the votes are counted. The Shias, of course, are the notably clerical Islamic group with close ties to the current regime in Iran that the US loves so much.

Oops. Seems people like to vote for candidates they identify with at a religious level. Who'd have thought that?

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