Congratulations, you win a clean slate of bookings!

Smart thinking? bending the rules? or just a flawed system? John Terry decides…

Well actually John Terry doesn’t decide, but yet again the Chelsea skipper finds himself in the centre of some controversy. Surprise surprise.  But quite frankly I think the press are making a mountain out of a molehill and instead should turn their attentions to the way in which the rules are written.

Apparently getting yellow cards on purpose in order to control the games missed for a 5 card accumulator ban is against UEFA rules, it is deemed as unsporting and / or cheating.  Proving this however, is slightly trickier.

The Carling Cup is often seen as the ideal target to aim for.  “Accidentally” pick up a cheeky 5th yellow card of the campaign in the game preceding the cup game and what do you know, suddenly you are banned for one match and you can resume regular play in the league with a clean slate.

This sort of tactic is not exactly a new thing to try out, but sometimes it is just a little more obvious than other times, Real Madrid made a complete mockery of the system last year by getting Alonso and Ramos sent off in what can only be described as a complete farce, if you missed it, or just needed to be reminded of it again, here is a link from YouTube.

This weekend just gone was the magic weekend for anyone on 4 bookings, especially those “big name” players who wouldn’t be playing in the Carling Cup anyway.  So congratulations to John Terry and Gareth Barry for winning the magic 5th card and essentially getting themselves a free slate clearing, like either of them would have been playing in the Carling Cup tonight anyway.

Congratulations, you win a clean slate of bookings!

Gareth Barry’s booking was definitely more subtle, but it looked like a “thanks very much, i’ll take this booking now” type moment.

John Terry’s however, was, well.. pretty obvious, but to be fair to him, I would have wanted him to do the same as well, he is a massive influence at Chelsea, and losing him in the league is obviously going to be a pain, losing him in the Carling Cup.. less so.

The problem does not lie with JT being a “cheat” or whatever, he took the easiest way of getting his yellow card, he didn’t hurt anyone.  He could have easily picked up a yellow in another way, and I would not want to see someone getting savaged for the sake of missing a cup game. While it may not be the most “sporting” of things to do, the fault actually sits with the rules.

What is the point in having a ban for a Cup game in which the bookings were picked up elsewhere?  If you get 5 yellow cards in the league, you should miss a league game, it really is that simple.  Maybe treat the cups separate, say 2 or 3 bookings in the cup leads to a 1 match ban also in the cup.  Carry it over from season to season if you must, or if you absolutely have to carry them over from the league, make the offender miss the next game (ie the cup game) and then one league game as well, sure you are getting double punished, but at least you are being punished in the competition you are offending in.

If you want to make up your own mind on the JT booking, you can view it on the Yahoo / Eurosport website.

Until the flawed rules such as this are ironed out, we will always have these loopholes and schemes going on, after all, the amount of money at stake for winning the Premier League or getting into the Champions League are huge.