A Day of Tough Decisions in British Sport

English Football and Cricket Come Down Hard

Well it has certainly been a day of tough decisions in British sport. In the Premier League, Swanseasacked their manager Michael Laudrup and Andy Carroll’s ridiculous sending off against Swanseaon Saturday, was upheld on appeal by the Football Association.

In CricketKevin Pietersen has been told he will no longer be required for International duty by the ECB.

Swansea came down hard on their manager Michael Laudrup and fired him after Saturday’s defeat to West Ham. It was their sixth defeat in eight Premier League games, which leaves them only two points off the relegation places.

Laudrup led Swansea to their first major trophy, winning the League Cup last year and qualifying for the Europa League, where they beat Valencia early in the competition. With that and a successful Premier League campaign last season, it seems very harsh to dismiss the manger now and it is hard to see how putting the current captain in his place is likely to produce better results.

Andy Carroll‘s sending off, while playing for West Ham against Swansea, on Saturday was totally unjustifed. He swung out an arm in frustration during a full body challenge by Chico Flores and caught him a glancing blow across the top of the head. It did not look like he was trying to hit anyone, he was just really frustrated. But Flores clutched his nose and writhed around on the ground, making the absolute most drama he could of the altercation.

Carroll was shown the red card and dismissed. Neither he, the West Ham players nor the commentators, where I was watching, could believe it. But the FA saw fit to uphold the referee’s decision. This is really a case of backing their man, no matter how bad a decision he makes.

In some ways Kevin Pietersen’s fall from grace comes as no surprise. He has often been labelled a disruptive character in the England dressing room and has clashed with players and coaches in the past. He stepped down from the England captaincy after only 5 months, when he had conflict with Peter Moores, the coach at the time. He also retired from international limited overs cricket in 2012, only to reverse that decision two months later.

But Pietersen is England’s all time leading run scorer in all forms of cricket, amassing 8,181 Test runs, 4,440 One Day International runs and 1,176 T20 runs. He was even England’s highest scorer on their disastrous recent tour of Australia, where they managed only one win in 5 Tests, 5 ODIs and 3 T20s.

But that devastating tour seems to be at the root of a clean sweep by the ECB, with technical director, Andy Flower, standing down only days earlier.

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