Get yer shirts off for the . . . . .

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Now it would be so easy to show the stereotypical Geordies in relation to this scribing but I won’t stoop so low as to insult those “wonderful passionate football fans in the North East” ©

This particular piece concerns the obligatory yellow card that is produced when a player takes off his shirt usually after scoring a goal.

To me it’s a childish action but it doesn’t really bother me one jot, however the suits don’t like it and complain it wastes time putting it back on and incites rival supporters to hooliganism.

The referees love a booking or two especially when it leads to a second yellow, which as we all know ultimately means red, the whistlers hide behind the small print and bemoan the assessors will mark them down if the letter of the law isn’t followed to the hilt.

In 2003 a  FIFA sub-committee took it on itself to re-instate the rule that the removal of shirts in celebration will be a mandatory cautionable offence.

The law was relaxed a couple of years before but football’s governing body approved a proposal that the celebration must be punished by a yellow card.

Critics might argue FIFA is taking away the joy of scoring a goal, but there are other considerations.

“Football is televised worldwide and Muslim countries find it offensive to see bare chests.”

Now that is a minefield I appreciate, however what about the after match shirt swops? do the tv producers put on  a blank screen? plus  is boxing, swimming etc banned viewing in Muslim households?

“The rule will also please sponsors who have been unhappy that their names are not always visible as the cameras follow a jersey-less goalscorer.”

Sponsors, I knew they would have something to do with it.

“There is also the problem of putting the shirt back on again as Manchester United’s Diego Forlan discovered against Southampton once, the  Uruguayan was attempting to replace his shirt when play had re-started following his goal he had scored.”

The referee could always add a bit of extra time on to allow for a small stoppage  but come on how hard is it to put a shirt back on?

Contrary to perception it is not a trait of the modern game, this  phenomena dates back to at least the mid nineties when The FA sent the letter below to all 92 clubs.


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