The ruling of the Sporting Judge regarding Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s one-game suspension raises a lot more questions than it answers.
It was confirmed earlier today that the Milan striker will be disqualified for one game and has to pay a fine of 5,000 euros ‘for having, in the 15th minute of the second half, uttered, with a provocative attitude, a disrespectful criticism to the referee of the game’.
The Swedish player will therefore be forced to miss the Rossoneri’s next match against Genoa scheduled for Sunday at 12:30pm CET at San Siro. As TMW writes though, it makes the overall situation no clearer.
There is no doubting that Ibra conversed with the referee Maresca in a displeased manner, but it is not clear what prompted the official to give him a straight red and subsequently what reasons he indicated in his report.
The final decision and the one-match ban seems to confirm what was reported. In the FIGC Code of Sports Justice there is no trace of the hypothesis of a ban for “provocative attitude” and “disrespectful criticism” towards the referees. Conversely, in article 36, “abusive or disrespectful conduct towards match officials” is expressly punished with a minimum of a two-game ban.
Since Ibrahimovic was banned for only one round and not two, there are two possible hypotheses. The first is a mitigation of sorts for the absence of insults, but then the decision of Maresca to brandish a red – and use a justification that is not punishable by suspension as per the rule book – seems even more bizarre.
The second hypothesis as per the report is that one of the general principles of the system was used (such violation of the duties of fairness, at a push). However, since there is a specific article regarding discourse with the referee, this seems unlikely and because it is only a one game ban, there is no possibility of appeal.