Just when you thought the people that run our national sport couldn’t take the proverbial any worse, our dear FA come up with the idea of a five-game ban for Mansfield Town striker Adi Yussuf for alleged public urination.
Yes, the poor lad got caught short, just as every person on that ‘independent regulatory commission’ hearing has at some stage of their sheltered lives.
Yussuf was warming up to go onto the pitch at Plymouth last month and a trip to the dressing room toilets would have taken him over 10 minutes – 10 minutes Stags didn’t have.
Click HERE to read boss Adam Murray’s thoughts on the ban
After asking a steward – employed by Argyle – and two of their players he was pointed behind the stand where home players had already done the same deed.
Lo and behold, Argyle supporters complained they had seen Yussuf in action. The referee included it in his report and now the poor lad has has all but the kitchen sink (though certainly a toilet cistern) thrown at him.
I have never heard of a more ridiculous or harsh ban.
It is half of what Luis Suarez got for actually biting an opponent - and that was for a second offence after a seven-game ban for his first nibble.
And, to put it in context, it is one more game than the charming John Terry got for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
Yes folks, in FA Land it’s worse to nip behind a stand out of sight for a pee than to be derogatory about someone’s colour. Incredible.
Also, as a player you can deliberately go through someone with a vicious, potential career-ending tackle and get away with a straight red card and three game ban. So how can this decision be a fair one?
We all get caught by the call of nature and some are less discreet than others.
We go walking in the countryside and we see men (and women – oh yes you do) of all ages, but often older, nip red-faced behind the bushes.
We wander through city centres late at night or music festivals and see the new outdoor urinals which are essentially grey cones with four areas in which to pee. But all you see is the back of the person in action and never the nether regions.
With public toilets closing down everywhere and drinkers needing a last pee after the pub has closed before the bus home, they are a cheap and effective godsend.
Had Yussuf been found guilty of actually flashing himself at fans we would have a different situation. But the lad has done the right thing and been hung out to dry by people who care very little for the outcome of their actions.
If he was visible (he wasn’t), why were these people who complained watching him pee and not watching the football in the other direction?
The sad outcome is that Yussuf had started to grow into a Football League striker this season after finding the fitness difference from non-League to League difficult, and his contribution during Stags’ last 11 League games could have been massive as they labour in their bid to make the play-offs.
Now he will only be available for the final six games, and what if the club don’t feel he has scored enough for them and decide not to keep him? He has also been stung by a £700 fine - a large amount for players at this level.
Without a precedent to go on, the committee were clearly peeing in the wind and once again Mansfield Town will feel they have been hard done by.
Talks with the PFA and solicitors this week will produce nothing as the FA answer to no one. The zip is firmly closed on this one for them.
I Googled the offence this week and could only find evidence of a Bristol Rovers youngster, Jordan Goddard, who did it in full view of fans in a pre-season friendly and allegedly laughed. He was reported but I can find no record of what, if anything, came of it.
Many players caught short during a game simply have to let go and do it while in action.
This happens all over the world. And we are not just talking ‘number ones here’ – ask clean-cut Gary Lineker about his unfortunate ‘number two’ moment during England’s clash with Ireland at the 1990 World Cup!
So Yussuf and other players really are better soiling themselves on the field than trying to be hygienic. At least it may deter opponents tackling you I guess.
The Stags have now installed a Portaloo pitchside at home now for their own and other club’s substitutes to use.
But Yussuf’s ban stands and now I hope that anyone on that committee when they are next out and about and get caught short have the decency to stand by their beliefs and soil themselves too.
Five matches? All I can say is they must be clean round the bend.