Soccer stars continue to not be punished appropriately
By NICK PAPADIS
College Contributor Network
In a week filled with controversy, and more than one star player facing a suspension, it has become clear that football associations around the world are not willing to punish all players equally or appropriately.
The first incident of the week was the two-match ban handed to Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo was cited for slapping and kicking two Cordoba defenders in a La Liga match last Saturday.
Ronaldo's two match ban will mean that he is eligible for the Madrid derby, which will take place February 7. Though the potential ban was longer, the Royal Spanish Football Federation will prevent the recent Ballon d'Or winner from playing for only two matches.
Despite not being the only case currently being dealt with involving star players, the Ronaldo case is at the forefront of criticism because the ban's length keeps Ronaldo eligible for a major rivalry. The decision shows that revenue and rivalry is more important than exacting the proper punishment on star players.
Without Ronaldo, there is no doubt that the Madrid derby would still sell tickets, but it is apparent that the Royal Spanish Football Federation knows it will be an even bigger game with the star in the lineup.
Another star player who has been charged with an offense is Chelsea's Diego Costa, who was charged by the English FA for stamping on Liverpool's Emre Can.
Costa is facing a three-match ban, and is appealing the incident. The case which did not come about until after the match, is yet another instance of stars not being punished appropriately.
The incident which occurred in the second-leg of the Capital One Cup Semifinal is not the first incident Costa has been involved in either. The Spanish national was involved in an altercation with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard later in the match as well as a near altercation with vice captain Jordan Henderson the week prior.
Despite being involved in so many incidents and altercations, Costa has only faced one charge by the FA. If his appeal fails, Costa will be out for up to three matches. However, given the record of football associations around the world, Costa has a good chance at a successful appeal.
In so many cases, football associations around the world are so worried about making money or being criticized that they are not willing to make tough calls and suspend top players. The world's top clubs are also less likely to face suspension than middle-tier clubs.
If a team such as Chelsea has a player at risk of being suspended, it is much more likely that their player will win an appeal than an appeal by a player from a club such as Newcastle or Stoke. This is primarily due to the large amount of publicity that the larger teams receive.
It is also a revenue issue, as the larger teams bring in more money. Though top teams are able to avoid suffering as severe suspensions, it is time for football associations to be fairer and suspend all players equally for their grievance.
It should not take the Luis Suarez's of the world three incidents to receive a long ban, but should instead be put in place upon the first severe offense.
It is time for all players at all clubs, regardless of the size to have there actions punished when necessary. Changes by associations will help ensure the safety of players and the quality of games.
Nick Papadis is a sophomore at American University majoring in broadcast journalism and broadcasts AU Men's Soccer amongst other sports. Nick is an avid Liverpool fan. Follow him on twitter @NPSoccerTalk