Referee Neil Swarbrick lost control of Sunday's match between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa. And now, the Football Association has decided to reward the referee's ineptitude in maintaining order on the pitch by charging both clubs with disorderly conduct. Here's the statement in its entirety:
Both Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur have been charged by The FA following their game on Sunday 2 November 2014.
It is alleged that in or around the 66th minute of the game, the clubs failed to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion.
Both clubs have until 6pm on 10 November 2014 to respond to the charge.
We all remember what happened in this match, right? In the 66th minute, Ryan Mason and Christian Benteke got into, well, let's call it a "scrap." Mason lovingly nuzzled his head into the neck of Benteke, and Benteke returned the affection by playfully tapping Mason in the face in one of those "Oh, you..." gestures. The honors of various footballing gentlemen were besmirched, and fisticuffs nearly ensued. Beneteke was sent to an early shower, and the match had a distinct edge from that point on.
We can all argue about the merits of the Benteke red card until we're blue in the face. I doubt our friends over at 7500 to Holte will agree with what we think, but that hardly matters. The reality of the situation is that Neil Swarbrick completely lost control of the match. He failed to do his job. And rather than discipline the man whose responsibility it is to maintain order on the pitch for failing to maintain order on the pitch, they decided to charge both clubs for "failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion."
Way to go, FA. Good effort.