Football Rant: Getting booked for celebrating

Welcome to the football rant where basically I will be ranting about the things in football that really annoy me and hopefully a lot of other fans too. This week we’re starting off with something that has been angering me for a while but this past month got really out of hand and that is bookings for celebrating.

Last week just days after the tragic Chapeconense air tragedy, where almost an entire team was killed, PSG striker Edinson Cavani celebrated his successful penalty against Angers by wearing a t-shirt dedicated to the victims of the tragedy. Most sane people would regard this as a great gesture towards Chapeconense and its fans but rather controversially he was booked for his celebration. Obviously this was a really stupid move by the referee as it came across as very disrespectful but technically speaking Cavani should have been booked for taking his PSG shirt off. So why are players booked for celebrating in this manner?

The ruleabout celebrations had actually been relaxed until 2003 when FIFA began to enforce it again, so I looked to their website for clarification. Naturally, like the whole organisation, this was not particularly useful although I did like how FIFA states that it wants players to ‘avoid such excessive displays of joy.’ Ruining fun is sort of FIFA’s thing so this was not too surprising.

So I looked beyond just FIFA’s website and found there are four main reasons given for why players are booked for celebrating by taking their shirt off. Lets see just how valid these reasons are.

  1. Time Wasting – this reason is one of the more valid one’s as if a player scores a winning goal with five minutes to go taking his shirt off is a good way to lengthen the celebration and run down the clocl. In Cavani’s case however he scored a penalty that put his team 2-0 up in the 66th minute so I can’t think of the booking being justified here.
  2. Viewing Discretion – This one is a bit of a tricky one as in some Muslim countries a man’s bare chest is considered offensive. I would argue that if a goal is scored outside of a Muslim country there should not be a problem. Moreover Cavani did not even show his bare chest.
  3. Political Message – I can totally see the logic of a player being booked for a political message that has no place in a modern society – Paolo di Canio’s Nazi salute springs to mind. But to book Cavani for a message dedicated to victims of a plane crash is wrong.
  4. Sponsorship – Now this is the one that really annoys me. Players are booked because they are not showing the sponsor on their shirt for one minute out of 90? This is absurd and without going on a rant about the over-commercialisation of football is a total embarrassment.

So there are some valid reasons for booking players for celebrating, but some reasons are just really not necessary. In Edinson Cavani’s case it is clear that he should not have been booked and referees need to use more common sense when booking players for celebrating.

Right that’s all for today’s football rant but I’m going to try and make this a regular thing. Before you go a comment below or follow on twitter would not go amiss: https://twitter.com/cameroneyles

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