Jose Mourinho has poured scorn on UEFA’s decision to hand Eric Bailly a three game ban for an incident against Celta Vigo in May.
The Ivorian, during the latter stages of Manchester United’s Europa League semi-final clash with Celta, confronted John Guidetti during a scuffle between the two teams and the former Manchester City man ended up on the floor.
He was handed a straight red card and missed the Europa League final, but will miss both the Super Cup clash with Real Madrid on August 8 and Man United’s opening Champions League group game in accordance with regulations surrounding ‘violent conduct’.
And Mourinho, when asked about UEFA’s decision, claimed that the 23-year-old had already been punished enough after missing the Europa League final.
“My view is that normally with Uefa what you get is what you get and you accept with a happy face or a bad face,” he said.
“You accept it was a red card in a semi-final, I think the punishment of not to play the final is enough, it’s a big punishment not to play the final, and I say that normally he would deserve a clean sheet and start the next season and ready to play the Super Cup.
“But now he’s an important player for us who is not able to play the Super Cup and the first match of the Champions League group stage but not to play the Europa League final and Super Cup is very very harsh.”
People have argued about how justice should be delivered since even before the days of Plato, and I for one am no expert on such a complex matter, but one thing I have always thought to be logical is the maxim of punishment fitting the crime – not a one size fits all quota.
Now, I understand that in many cases this is very hard to determine, but with regards to Bailly’s punishment some common sense here is needed.
The incident in question was, of course, beneath the level of conduct professionals should adhere to, but it was also during a 20-man heated exchange during the latter stages of a European semi-final on a knife edge. Tempers are always likely to flare.
Missing the Europa League final was, I would contend, more than enough punishment; the remaining two games serve as an example of bureaucracy’s disregard for context and their failure to judge situations with a rational, case-by-case, utilitarian mindset.