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FA investigating Spurs Women midfielder for “successful deception of a match official”

Is it us? Are we the drama?

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United - Barclays Women’s Super League Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

The FA has opened an investigation into Tottenham Hotspur Women’s midfielder Eveliina Summanen for “successful deception of a match official” after overturning Manchester United Women’s Ella Toone’s red card.

In Spurs’ February 12 game against United, Ella Toone was sent off in the 80th minute for an incident with Eveliina Summanen. Toone pushed Eveliina to the ground, and their legs tangled together. Seemingly in retaliation, Toone shoved Eveliina back to the ground as she attempted to get up. Eveliina covered her hands with her face, and the ref showed Ella Toone a red card. After the match, United head coach Mark Skinner (and a healthy portion of Manchester United’s online fanbase) accused Eveliina of play-acting, and announced that United would pursue an appeal of Toone’s red card.

Up to the FA’s involvement, it’s a sequence of events we’ve seen a hundred times. The game is full of players covering their faces, grabbing their ankles under minimal or no contact, and managers accusing opponents of being dirty, lying cheats while their own players take up the same antics. It seems real selective of the FA to call it out now. I can’t help but think it’s only because a beloved England international is involved, or because of some kind of moral panic about diving in the women’s game.

Reffing is already an issue in the WSL. Just days ago, we saw Leah Williamson pop Lauren Hemp in the face—a potential straight red that went entirely uncalled. The incident between Toone and Summanen came after a whole match of uncalled fouls on both sides, to the extent that the players felt unsafe. You can’t really blame players for embellishing when they’re getting kicked left and right and seeing no repercussions. Overturning a referee’s very fair decision, and investigating a player for simulation could make it even more challenging for referees to make these calls.

Twenty-four year old Eveliina Summanen is a promising midfielder who can play as a DM or as a box-to-box. The Finn arrived at Spurs from Sweden last January, and made an instant impact. Eveliina known for her ability to cover pitch, carry the ball, and link up with her teammates. She’s also the Spurs player who has committed the most fouls, and been fouled the most. At her best, she’s always on the ground. It’s a big part of her game and I, for one, love her for it.

Here’s hoping she thinks this is as comical as I do, and that she’s back rolling around in the mud against Reading on February 26th.