The FA have turned down Arsenal's appeal of a three-match domestic ban for violent conduct for forward Gervinho today, according to the official club website. Gervinho will miss Arsenal's matches against Liverpool, Manchester United, and Swansea.
The incident leading to the suspension has been covered pretty extensively, but to recap: with 20 minutes left in the match against Newcastle on Saturday, Gervinho was clipped on the foot in the penalty area by Cheik Tiote. He went to ground, but referee Peter Walton wasn't interested; Joey Barton, though, was very interested, to the point that he lifted Gervinho off the ground by his shirt collar while screaming at him. Surrounded by three Newcastle players and in various states of brawl, Gervinho eventually managed to slap Barton on the side of the head in frustration. Barton looked bemused, then surprised, then fell over.
Although there is no specific rule against raising hands to another player, it is de facto a red card in today's Premier League, and Gervinho was de facto'd right off the pitch by Walton for violent conduct. Barton, amazingly, was only given a caution, despite having hoisted a large human off the ground by a bit of polyester around his neck. For his role in the brawl, the yellow; apparently not a penalty to Arsenal, though, although the ball was in play when Barton decided to ignore it and turn around to berate the Ivorian (who, to be fair, had gone down a bit easily earlier in the match).
So, to be clear: EVEN AFTER EXTENSIVE VIDEO REVIEW*, the FA appear to have reached the following decision:
- Taking refereeing into one's own hands Batman-style, lifting a man up violently by his collar while screaming undeservedly in his face, shaking him, surrounding him: "Take it easy, tiger".
- Slapping a man on the side of the skull after being manhandled and berated by half of the opposition, undeservedly: "you violent scamp! How dare you! Leave my pitch at once!" (And yes, it is true that retaliation always gets punished. That's just sports. But: dammit.)
- Walton's decision-making: sigh. It's just like when he was in charge when Alex Song stamped on Joey Barton (oh, that was the same match? Oh!), when Lee Bowyer stamped on Bacary Sagna, and when Ryan Shawcross broke Aaron Ramsey's leg for a year! But hey; he gets a holiday this week, according to Sam Wallace of the Independent.
*I have no idea whether they actually scrutinized the tape again in light of the appeal, but I'd like to think that they might.