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Manchester City Faces FA Charges After Failing to Control Emotions in their Controversial Draw Against Tottenham

In a thrilling encounter between Manchester City and Tottenham, the post-match narrative has taken an unexpected turn. The Football Association (FA) has charged Manchester City for ‘failing to control their players’ in the aftermath of a contentious decision by referee Simon Hooper. The incident involves star striker Erling Haaland, who is also under scrutiny for his on-field behavior and subsequent social media post.

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Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur – Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain – December 3, 2023 Tottenham Hotspur’s Dejan Kulusevski scores their third goal Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

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The Incident

During the 3-3 draw on Sunday, referee Simon Hooper made a crucial decision to reverse an advantage, leading to City players, including a visibly upset Erling Haaland, confronting the official. Haaland’s frustration boiled over as he vented on social media, uttering a four-letter word upon seeing a replay of the incident.

The sequence unfolded when midfielder Rodri delivered a pass to Haaland, who was subsequently fouled by Emerson Royal. Despite the foul, Haaland displayed remarkable ball control, orchestrating a pass over the top to set up Grealish for a potential goal-scoring opportunity.

Screenshot 2023 12 03 at 19.48.07 Manchester City Faces FA Charges After Failing to Control Emotions in their Controversial Draw Against Tottenham

Referee Hooper initially opted to let the play continue, withholding his whistle. However, he later interrupted the game, awarding City a free kick instead of allowing them to capitalize on the potential advantage. This decision triggered vehement protests from City players, led by an incensed Haaland, who vehemently expressed their displeasure by surrounding Hooper.

Upon reviewing the incident through replays, it became apparent that Hooper had gestured towards a foul initially without blowing his whistle, ultimately causing confusion as play progressed.

Screenshot 2023 12 03 at 19.51.46 2048x1276 1 Manchester City Faces FA Charges After Failing to Control Emotions in their Controversial Draw Against Tottenham

Post-match analysis on Sky Sports revealed a critical timing discrepancy in referee Hooper’s actions. The commentary suggested that Hooper delayed blowing the whistle, doing so only seconds after Haaland executed a pass over the top of the Spurs defense, setting up Grealish for a potential attacking opportunity. This timing nuance became a focal point of discussion, implying that the delayed decision impacted the course of play and contributed to the ensuing controversy involving City players and the referee.

What Does the Law say?

According to the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the law regarding the referee signaling advantage involves extending one or both arms forward at shoulder height. The decision to play advantage should be based on specific criteria:

1. Real Benefit for Non-Offending Team:
The referee should only play advantage if there is a tangible benefit for the team that did not commit the offense.

2. No Serious Player Injury:
Advantages should be played only if no player is seriously injured as a result of the foul.

3. Avoiding Risk of Reaction or Confrontation:
The referee should assess the situation and ensure there is no risk of a negative reaction or confrontation among players.

The referee is required to make a quick, tactical decision, keeping in mind the following considerations:

  • Allowing play to continue may not always be in the best interests of the non-offending team, especially if they are in or near their own penalty area and/or under pressure.
  • A free kick in an attacking situation might be more advantageous for the non-offending team than allowing play to continue.
K5GAZHQCCFL4BJB7ZL4DAC3NAI Manchester City Faces FA Charges After Failing to Control Emotions in their Controversial Draw Against Tottenham
Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur – Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain – December 3, 2023 Tottenham Hotspur’s Dejan Kulusevski celebrates scoring their third goal Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

The IFAB further emphasizes that the referee can wait a few seconds to allow a potential advantage to develop. If, after this brief period, the non-offending team does not benefit and gains no advantage, the original free kick can be awarded. Importantly, the IFAB notes that the non-offending team should not be given two chances, highlighting a scenario where a player is fouled but recovers and has a shot at goal. If the player does not score, the referee cannot go back and award a free kick for the original offense. This underlines the principle that the advantage should not unfairly favor the non-offending team in multiple instances.

Manchester City FA Charges and Potential Consequences

Manchester City now faces its third charge by the FA in the last 12 months. The FA alleges that the club failed to ensure its players behaved appropriately during the 94th minute of the match. The Premier League champions have three days to respond before the case is heard by an independent panel. With a history of fines, City anticipates another significant financial penalty, possibly surpassing the £75,000 punishment handed out in February.

History of FA Charges

This recent charge adds to City’s growing list of disciplinary issues. In February, the club received a £75,000 fine for two separate incidents during a match against Arsenal. The Gunners were also fined £65,000, with an additional £20,000 suspended. The recurrence of such charges suggests a pattern of on-field misconduct that could lead to stricter penalties.

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Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur – Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain – December 3, 2023 Tottenham Hotspur’s Giovani Lo Celso scores their second goal Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

Guardiola’s Reaction

Despite the contentious draw, City’s manager, Pep Guardiola, initially maintained composure, choosing not to remonstrate with the officials on the pitch. However, Guardiola indirectly expressed his displeasure with referee Anthony Taylor, labeling him ‘the master of commander who knows everything.’ This follows Guardiola’s decision to refrain from becoming outspoken on refereeing decisions, a stance different from some of his counterparts.

Haaland’s Social Media Post

Erling Haaland’s use of explicit language on social media drew attention but is unlikely to result in punishment. The FA typically focuses on on-field behavior, leaving players’ off-field comments outside its jurisdiction. Haaland’s emotional reaction on social media reflects the intensity of the situation and the players’ dissatisfaction with the officiating.

As Manchester City navigates another FA charge, the club finds itself in the midst of controversy for the third time in a year. The potential consequences could extend beyond financial penalties, impacting the team’s reputation and dynamics. The outcome of this latest incident will undoubtedly be closely watched by fans, pundits, and football authorities alike.

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