After Nikola Milenković’s red card in the drawn game with Torino last Friday night, Fiorentina knew they would need to plan for the game against Inter Milan this Friday without their Serbian defender.
With Gaetano Castrovilli also sent-off in that same match, the problems were really mounting up for Cesare Prandelli and his squad. Then came the Disciplinary Commission announcement that Milenković would in fact serve a two match ban.
The charge: Grossly Unsportsmanlike Conduct.
Which leads us to ask where is the similar charge for Andrea Belotti of Torino for his part in all of this.
While nobody is saying that our defender did the right thing, and as soon as he reacted to Belotti’s challenge like that he was always at the risk of the referee’s red card. Having said that, both players came together, their heads did meet, but in a non-violent way. This was no headbutting incident.
Marco Di Bello as a Serie A referee, should be able to tell the difference, and if not, maybe have a look at the VAR. Belotti’s reaction was just embarrassing. Falling to the floor as if his head had been cracked open, lying there with his hands covering his face until he was sure Milenković had received his punishment.
Just as embarrassing was the referee signaling to the Torino bench that their striker was in need of medical attention. Which leads us to the Torino medical staff and their ice pack to Belotti’s unmarked forehead.
If they wanted to make a charge against Nikola Milenković, then it should have been for violent behaviour, as surely that is why Di Bello sent him off in the first place. But if there is anyone involved in that incident that deserves to be charged with grossly unsportsmanlike conduct, then surely that is Andrea Belotti.
Football, for good or bad, now has technology at it’s disposal. Before any goal can be awarded, an offside check must be completed, as they need to make sure a player’s little finger didn’t stray into an offside position. Penalty decisions, well this is of course at the discretion of the referee, whether or not he decides to have another look may depend on his mood, what he had for lunch, the weather, or possibly what teams are involved.
Violent conduct on the field not spotted by the referee can be brought to his attention, and a player suitably sanctioned. So where in all of this are the unsportsmanlike divers and cheaters. When will the powers in charge decide to clamp down on those who seek to have an opposition player booked or sent-off, who roll over and over and over on the ground when surely if they were actually injured that is not a natural reaction.
A real signal could have been sent here, to players like Belotti. I feel that Fiorentina may have been able to accept the punishment handed down to Milenković had the Torino player also been disciplined for his shameful part in all of this.
Instead the authorities decided, in their wisdom, that Andrea Belotti reacted in a completely reasonable and sportsmanlike manner. So why should any other player not do likewise? You may give your team a numerical advantage, with absolutely no risk to yourself.
Unsurprisingly, Fiorentina have decided to appeal this decision. They will be hoping to have their player back for the game with Sampdoria. I will be hoping that they don’t decide to increase his punishment. There is, after all, little logic to their rulings.