Football should take the NFL’s approach to discipline

During an NFL encounter last night, unbeknownst to me, a player was ejected from the field of play for removing his helmet and jabbing a finger towards the official. It was brought to my attention via the means of Twitter on Monday morning and it got me thinking; what if something similar was to happen in football?

I have to admit, I’m unsure as to which player was sent off for what team, but it was a move that happened nevertheless. However, if that were to happen within the beautiful game, imagine the fans reaction? This, of course, comes after Mark Clattenburg opted to issue Chelsea’s Fernando Torres with a second yellow card during the Blues’ 3-2 defeat to Manchester United on Sunday evening.

Unsurprisingly, but sadly enough, there was uproar following the decision. Did Torres dive? Was there contact from United’s Jonny Evans? Whatever your opinion, Clattenburg decided to hand the Spaniard a second yellow, regardless of the front-man’s pleas from himself and his teammates, as he felt the former Liverpool ace was guilty of simulation.

Nevertheless, away from the reports of racist language towards John Obi Mikel, Clattenburg received a tirade of abuse following the decision. Fans were heavily critical of his performance, while the scenes on the touchline between Roberto Di Matteo and Sir Alex Ferguson were nothing short of embarrassing.

In comparison to the NFL encounter, the players accepted the decision, without feeling the need to berate the referee for what he perceived to be the correct call. Now, sit back and think if something similar were to happen in football in England?

Think of, say, John Terry being red carded for screaming in the referee’s face over a decision he feels was wrong? It would be almost unheard of in the modern game. But, it is the strictness that the FA needs to adopt if they are to continue their respect campaign.

The amount of abuse officials undergo throughout a 90 minute encounter, regardless of their performance, is starting to reach stupidly high levels, a majority of which comes from the players that are backing the respect campaign.

If the FA were to bring in a similar approach to that of the NFL, it would undoubtedly take time to adjust. However, with time, fans and, in particular, players would begin to adjust to the new system, leading to the overall standard of the game improving as a result.