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Justice For All - Even Footballers!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 12/11/2003

THE English Football Association have been ordered by FIFA to implement the ruling that players who receive a red card during a game be automatically suspended from the next game regardless of a pending appeal.

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The FA have announced that they will follow this ruling at the commencement of next season under threat of fines or other penalties by FIFA for failing to do so.

But should they?

One of the few remaining niceties about British justice is that in line with the rights of individuals in a free and democratic society, people are deemed to be innocent until their guilt has been proved or, as in football, confirmed.

FIFA is a supposedly democratic organisation, but some of its members have different views on what freedom, democracy and justice means.

Great Britain is not some banana republic ruled by despots. (Some may disagree with that statement.) It is founded on democratic principles and by blindly following the edicts of FIFA, the FA is failing in its duty to protect the democratic rights of players under its control.

The proposed solution to the problem, that appeals will be heard before the next match is only a partial solution. There will, by circumstance, be times when that is not possible and on those occasions, the FA should stand firm and not allow a FIFA directive to erode the rights of individuals in a free society.

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