Defending the indefensible

Posted on 26/10/2010

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Antonio Labbate questions the actions of Juventus following Milos Krasic’s transparent dive against Bologna


A two-match ban was inevitable. History has taught us as much. Even before Vincenzo Iaquinta fluffed the penalty, we all knew that Milos Krasic would be ruled out of the clashes against Milan and Cesena for his theatrical tumble versus Bologna.

Replays, from all possible angles, confirmed as much and those same television images were all the evidence that the disciplinary panel needed to find the Juventus winger guilty of unsportsmanlike behaviour on Tuesday.

It was an embarrassing act of gamesmanship by the €15m summer signing from CSKA Moscow, but Juve’s actions since Krasic fell, under no challenge whatsoever from Daniele Portanova, must be viewed as equally dubious.

“Every player has his reputation and Milos’s is one of a player who is clean and respects the rules,” said chief executive Jean-Claude Blanc. “Whoever judges Sunday’s case should take that into consideration.”

President Andrea Agnelli added: “We are convinced that Krasic’s behaviour was that of a fair person, a great champion who has preferred Serie A to the Premier League, and therefore a player who should be protected both on and off the pitch.”

As arguments though, they were not the most compelling and one has to seriously question how wise the club’s decision to firstly publicly back the player over the incident and then appeal the ban is.

While it’s right to query how the same offence can be punished with a yellow card or a two-match ban depending on whether the referee saw it or not, the reality is that the precedents and the fact the dive was so blatant makes Krasic’s simulation indefensible.

Prior to today, three Serie A players were found guilty of diving to win a penalty in trial by TV. The first was Ivica Iliev, who was actually banned for an extra game after celebrating the spot-kick award in Messina’s tie against Ascoli, Inter’s Adriano during a match against Roma and Marcelo Zalayeta.

Only the latter won his appeal against a 180-minute stop, when footage from a local TV station cleared his name after Napoli were awarded a controversial penalty against Juve at the Stadio San Paolo.

There will be no unseen footage to save Krasic though. At a time when Juventus are still tarnished by the scandal of Calciopoli, it would have perhaps been wise to not defend the midfield inspiration but to condemn him instead.



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