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John Terry, AIG and Fergie’s Rant on Hackett

We all, by now, are aware that John Terry’s red card has been rescinded. The word, I can’t seem to find the link, goes that his punishment (i.e., the one match ban) has been ‘reduced’ rather than his red card being revoked. This in itself strikes me as strange, because I would imagine a red card would at least warrant a one match suspension.

My second gripe about this whole fiasco is about the nature of the card itself. The referee’s decision to send Terry off was not for a professional foul — which is rather easy to detect with video footage — but for “serious foul play”. This would be a matter of opinion and interpretation of rules by the on field referee, and if the FA are really concerned about the integrity of their “Respect” themed Premiership season, then undermining what seemed like a referee decision doesn’t sound like a good way to start.

It really makes no sense whatsoever. Either the red card has to be rescinded — which it cannot because it was a refereeing decision — or there has to be a one match ban at least, because it was a red card.

I, for the life of me, cannot understand this. Someone in the know, kindly educate.

This, of course, has not gone down well with Ferguson, whose rant against Keith Hackett has been well documented last season.

“By the letter of the law it was not a goalscoring opportunity. Maybe it’s good to have an FA panel people can go to but it certainly opens the gate to that kind of thing now. If it had been a Manchester United player Hackett would never have done this for us.”

I don’t buy the last statement, because I know it’s just his anger getting to him. But I do understand Fergie’s concern that this decision is yet another instance of inconsistency in the appeals process. He should have kept his mouth buttoned about the last line though. That could get him in trouble again.

Finally, something I’ve been meaning to write for a while but didn’t. AIG collapsed but has been rescued by the US Treasury. Which makes the US Treasury the shirt sponsor of United. People have expressed concerns about how AIG’s collapse might affect United’s sponsorship deal. But I say all that is unfounded. If AIG is to walk away from our contract, we only have everything to gain. Our brand value — on the back of having won consecutive Premier Leagues and a Champions’ League — has never been higher. So we will demand an even hefty sum from a prospective sponsor. At the moment, AIG survives, so we’ll still have that ugly looking logo on our shirt. (Yes, I have never been particularly crazy about having AIG on a United shirt.)