The MLS Disciplinary Committee has struck again and the Vancouver Whitecaps have received their third retroactive one game suspension in four games.
Japanese forward Masato Kudo has been fined and banned for one game for simulation and embellishment in the play that drew the penalty to give the Whitecaps the eventual 1-0 game winning lead last weekend.
The Blue and White previously saw Costa Rican winger Christian Bolaños receive a one-game ban after a sliding tackle on Laurent Ciman in the season opener against Montreal. Midfielder Kianz Froese got the same punishment for a clumsy challenge in week two against Kansas City.
On the issue at hand, is the Kudo suspension merited?
Some media members
in the centre of the universe in Toronto seem to think so.
Whitecaps can’t possibly be upset with Kudo decision. There’s “drawing a pen” and there’s “egregious embellishment”. Kudo’s was the latter.
— Kurtis Larson (@KurtLarSUN) March 31, 2016
Let’s be honest, was the penalty call harsh? Sure. Was there contact inside the box? Definitely. Did Kudo go down easy? Most likely. Was it a foul? It is coin toss. I am ok with the call that was made on the field, just as I would have been ok if the referee had not granted the PK.
However, whether or not the play warrants a suspension is a whole different conversation.
If we are strict in reading the letter of the law, or, in this case, the MLS Disciplinary Committee (DisCo) Principles and Parameters, the answer is no. Masato Kudo should not have been suspended.
Section 5 of the aforementioned parameters state that:
“In obvious examples of simulation/embellishment, the Disciplinary Committee must be unanimous in its view of the incident, and it must be obvious.”
Is the Kudo play an obvious example of simulation? Well, MLS referee David Gantar was only a few yards away with a clear view of the play and he did not hesitate to call it a foul. So, it can’t be that obvious.
Shouldn’t MLS and the DisCo trust their officials and stop publicly embarrassing them by re-refereeing matches from the comfort of their New York City offices after the whistler blows? Shouldn’t they follow their own “rules and parameters”?
Diving is a big problem in football. All parties involved: players, coaches, referees, leagues and federations need to work hard to eradicate it. But a league needs to have clear rules that are followed consistently.
Get it together, DisCo.
*Update: MLS has pulled an… MLS move and, over the last hour, they have “adjusted” the aforementioned MLS Disciplinary Committee (DisCo) Principles and Parameters. The changes help substantially in justifying Masato Kudo’s suspension.
The freshly baked rules argue that
- In obvious examples of simulation/embellishment: In the event a player engages in simulation and/or embellishment, he will be fined. However, if such act has a material impact in the match the player will then be suspended and fined. Those instances of simulation and/or embellishment which, by definition, have a material impact on the match are as follows:
- Opposing player receives a red card (player will be suspended regardless of the Independent Panel Red Card review decision)
- Opposing player receives a yellow card, provided the caution:§ Is the player’s second yellow card in the match§ Triggers the player’s yellow card accumulation threshold
- Opposing Team is awarded a penalty kick (player will be suspended regardless of penalty kick conversion)
I left the original formatting as it clearly shows the haste in which the new rules were cooked up.
So, to sum up. The embellishment does not have to be obvious any more. And if you are found unilaterally guilty of such a heinous crime and your team got a penalty kick, or the opposing team gets a yellow card that triggers a suspension or they get a red card, the guilty player automatically is suspended one game.
Got it. Let me write this in pencil since I will probably need to erase it and change it soon.
It is situations like this that seriously jeopardize MLS Commissioner Don Garber’s plans to have this league among the top in the world by 2022.