The FA’s decision to ban Patrice Evra for four games was ridiculous. The FA’s decision to then take an unprecedented step in publishing the report was equally as ridiculous.
Raising awareness amongst reds about the poor and unequal treatment of Manchester United by the FA is something I try to achieve whenever the opportunity arises (sadly, far too often!), so the FA’s recent behaviour provided me with another stick to beat them with.
Our captain has today joined in with the FA bashing, much to my delight, mocking their disciplinary procedures and questioning whether he’ll be charged for doing so.
“They said I was abusive? That’s kind,” Neville said. “To be honest with you, the disciplinary process is, at best, erratic. It always has been. There is no consistency. This incident was six, seven months ago – I thought speed was meant to have been brought into the disciplinary hearings. We’re in the same situation as we were before – it seems to go on forever.”
Neville then reflected on his own dealings with the FA’s disciplinary process, recalling their decision to charge him for celebrating an injury time winning goal against our bitter rivals, Liverpool. At the time, he questioned whether the FA wanted a game full of robots. Their decision to fine him £5,000 suggested that they did.
“You can’t do anything about the FA disciplinary process,” he continued. “I gave up years ago trying to be a voice, trying to bring reason to certain things. You need consistency, which means you need the same people sitting all the time, professionals who understand the game, who understand the passion of the game, the human element of the game. Sensible people – that doesn’t always happen, though. It’s erratic, I am sure they would say that themselves. You haven’t a clue what you’re going to get when you go down there. I was down there three or four years ago and I left bemused.”
Neville then mockingly implied that he may face punishment for questioning the behaviour of the FA.
“Will I get charged for this?” he asked. “I’d put it far more in the hands of the professional game because you’ve got non-football people sitting on the panel, sitting opposite you with no understanding of the game, and that’s a problem. They’ve tried to introduce a more professional element, but they don’t really have a say, the main decisions are made by the non-football people. From what I can see it is more like a criminal case than a football disciplinary hearing.”