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Aston Villa pay for incompetent referee in Spurs clash

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Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur have both agreed to pay £20,000 to the FA because of an incompetent referee.

Richard Heathcote

When Christian Benteke hit Ryan Mason two weekends ago in the Tottenham-Aston Villa match, there was plenty of arguing between fans of both teams. Should Benteke have been given a red? Should Mason have gotten one too? Which club is more dire?

But there was one thing that everyone could agree on: the match only got to the point of an on-pitch fight because referee Neil Swarbrick had absolutely failed to control it. So naturally, the FA assessed the situation and decided to chastise Swarbrick for his failure as a referee, but really it wasn't the end of the world, so let's just leave it at a firm reminder.

Hahaha, I'm just kidding. Why would England's organizing football body be reasonable? The FA decided instead to charge Villa and Spurs with failure to "ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion." And now the decision has come down that both teams will pay £20,000 fines. Here is the FA statement in full:

Both Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur have been fined £20,000 after the clubs admitted a breach of FA Rules in relation to their fixture on 2 November 2014.

The charge was that the clubs failed to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion in or around the 66th minute of the match.

Both clubs accepted the standard penalty fine of £20,000.

In the big picture, that's a pretty tiny fine, but it's the principle of it all that galls me. It was very clearly a failure of the referee that allowed the match to get so out of hand, and yet its the teams that get punished. What an absolute joke.