Footballing Fines in Perspective

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At least Jason Kreis didn’t call someone a cheat, right? I was guessing the fines in the English Premier League and the fines in the MLS would be astronomical different for coaches, but they’re not too far off, unless you come out blatantly and call some a ‘cheat’.

Following the Carling Cup Final 2007, Arsene Wenger called a linesman ‘a liar’, leading to heavy criticism, an FA investigation and a £2500 fine and a warning about his future conduct.

Across the pond, the Major League Soccer Disciplinary Committee suspended Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis one game and fined him $1,000 for public criticism of MLS officiating

Compared with what Kreis makes and what Wenger makes these numbers aren’t necessarily fair. Proportionally, the money Kreis is doling out is a big chunk of his check I’m guessing. I think the MLS loves to make those stand up for the integrity of the league type statements, coming down hard to show their strength and their power.

But the referee is such a crucial element to the game, and if you’re going to build the game and a league in the U.S., that’s one area where you can’t fudge. They can’t risk having the league and the quality of the officiating castigated when the league is on its best footing in years in terms of level of play.

I don’t know all the details about what Kreis said or why he was so frustrated with the officiating, but I’m guessing it has to do with a certain LA player named David Beckham. Perhaps Beckham was getting preferential treatment. And I’m not just pulling Beckham into this because he hasn’t yet been mentioned in this MLS piece, and he always seems to get dragged in whenever anyone talks about Major League Soccer – but Becks might sway the referees decision making just because who he is. Making referees a bit nervous about their calls.

I like the intensity Kreis brings to the game. He’s no Mourinho yet on the intensity radar, but his youth serves him well. He’s fresh from just playing in the league and his desire to win is clear. Kreis is passionate about the game and that comes through. Who’s the Mourinho of the MLS, that might just be the Chivas coach Preki, but his English his too good so there’s no Yoda like sayings. Not sure if he’s a wine drinker though.

As far as the fine, Kreis didn’t get personal as far as I know. And this was a ref, not a player. And the MLS might have come down harder if there was a direct calling out of a player. Wenger did this in the past – when he pointedly let Ruud know how he felt about him.

Wenger was fined £15,000 for calling United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy “a cheat” in a post-match television interview.

That’s a big fine for name calling it seems.

I can’t wait though until the MLS has as much gamesmanship on the field as the coaches have in the English Premier League, playing their little games to bend referees in their favor, or influencing the other teams or players with a few nuggets of wisdom before the game. All in the style of the master Alex Ferguson.

Then there are the coaches who fine their own players, take Fergie who fined his own players a whopping $2 million dollars for a pre Christmas party gone wild. I digress a bit from the topic of fines, but Ferguson has always dismissed the attention-seeking player, and this quote below sounds like a direct swipe at Beckham:

“These present-day footballers need to be noticed, with their earrings and tattoos. They no longer go to the small Italian restaurants but to the big and bright places.”

Fines do set a standard for the players and the league; let’s start giving more out, like if you miss a wide-open shot and your team loses. That might be a bit too harsh. Take San Jose rookie Shea Salinas’s miss against Chicago a while back, that’s worth a fine right? He’s only a rookie, we’ll give him a break but that certainly would up the ante as far as finishing.

Where do these fines go or who gets the cash? Thankfully it all goes to charity and it’s not stock piled but some GM in the MLS offices for strip clubs and happy hours. Not that they would use the fine money for that. Not saying any have or would – just stirring up the pot. Don’t fine me for it.

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