If the FA really thinks spitting is worse than racism or violent tackles, it should think again

According to the television pundits Robbie Savage and Phil Neville, considering the matter immediately after this week’s Tyneside gob fest, there is no greater crime a footballer might commit than spitting at an opponent. Which, given the range of cruelties available to the modern footballer, is saying something. Worse than putting a fellow worker’s career in jeopardy through a reckless stamp, worse than abusing them racially, worse than elbowing them in the temple: this, then, is some foul misdemeanour.

And the FA appears to be in accord with such a view. Never mind that the consequences of a spit can be removed within moments by the judicious application of a shirt sleeve, it is apparently deserving of a far more draconian punishment than leaving a seven inch gash, open to the bone, down an opponent’s shin. For their mutual exchange of bodily fluids at St James’s Park on Wednesday night, Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse face a ban of six games each, despite the latter’s rather elegant and honest apology. Which is two more games than an unrepentant John Terry received for saying things on the field of play to Anton Ferdinand which redefined the term ugly.

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