April 25, 2011 MLS--One Law, Two Interpretations (from TorontoFC.ca)
One Law, Two Interpretations Asif Hossain TorontoFC.ca April 25, 2011 Toronto FC is off to Alberta's capital Monday afternoon looking ahead to their Nutrilite Canadian Championship first leg semifinal tie against FC Edmonton on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET on Rogers Sportsnet). Toronto is the two-time defending NCC champion. The club will want to make it a hat-trick haul in 2011 as the NCC winner advances to the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round in July and August. While the Reds are moving on from the weekend's disheartening draw at home to Columbus, the Tony Tchani incident continues to be a watercooler topic at MLSsoccer.com. On its Monday Postgame feature, John Bolster put Tchani's second bookable offense from Saturday afternoon - that may have cost Toronto two extra points - in stark contrast to an earlier incident in D.C. Here is the excerpt regarding Tchani: It’s often said that the highest compliment you can pay a referee is that you didn’t notice him at all. Well, we’ve been noticing the refs quite a bit recently in Major League Soccer, and this week was no exception. In the Toronto–Columbus game on Saturday afternoon, new Reds midfielder Tony Tchani celebrated his first goal for the club by jumping over the BMO Field placards and running to celebrate with the home fans. When he returned for the restart, the referee showed him a yellow card—Tchani’s second—ending his afternoon. Shorthanded for the entire second half, Toronto gave up an equalizer to Emilio Renteria and had to scrape and claw to hang on for a 1-1 tie. While harsh, the decision against Tchani was within the bounds of FIFA’s Laws of the Game (Law 12, to be exact). Still, it got us thinking: Remember two weeks ago when Charlie Davies hit that penalty to salvage a draw with Los Angeles? After the goal, CD9 bolted the field, hurdled the signboards, climbed a VW car display and tried to enter the vehicle. When he found the car locked, Davies returned to the field and unleashed “The Bernie” on an unsuspecting audience. Any card-able offenses in all of that? Let’s look at the FIFA Laws: Leaving the field of play without the referee’s permission. Check. Unnecessary and excessive display of celebration. You could certainly make the case. Acting in a manner that shows a lack of respect for the game. Hey, a Weekend at Bernie’s reference is extremely disrespectful in any context. Kidding aside, after seeing Davies’ celebration—and others like it—go unsanctioned, it’s hard to fault Tchani for thinking he was safe to share a little joy with the BMO fans. -- So, there you have it. One interpretation of Law 12 for U.S. international Davies, and another for Tchani. A lot is made about inconsistent officiating hurting the image of football and making it less appealing for the casual observer. Personally, I am not too concerned about that. The game is massive at a grass roots level, while the power and appeal of Europe makes soccer an unstoppable force in North American homes and pubs on a large scale. But those of us who are tuned to Major League Soccer matches every weekend deserve some consistency or at the very least, an explanation for wildly different interpretations of a rule within two weeks of the same season.
back to TFC 2011 news and results