Will Haaland and Man City be penalised



By Tony Attwood

In 2005 it was agreed that a player or manager verbally abusing a match official when challenging a decision, will be sent off.  And that is what Erling Haaland did when shouting at Simon Hooper after Manchester City’s draw against Tottenham.   Yet perhaps because he was a Manchester City player, he was not sent off.   He’s been making more comments since – but no response as yet from PGMO.

There can be no doubt what Haaland was doing in his protests in the fifth minute of stoppage time moments, and if he is not banned for a significant number of matches then certainly several other clubs that until now have only been kept in check by having multiple yellow cards waved at them, will feel free to rant and rage with arms akimbo and on occasion swivelling.

There is also no doubt that Haaland rushed over to Hooper and that the referee was surrounded by a mass of Manchester City players, described in the Telegraph article as an “angry mob”.

Thus the swearing, the arm waving, the close proximity and the group of players around the referee all are offences for PGMO to consider.   One wonders if the various players will be considered to be in breach of four offences, and thus get four match bans each, but probably not.  This is, after all, Manchester City.

Now what has been happening in the past is that the clubs have been fined, and a recent article in the Daily Mail pointed out the English league clubs were fined over £1.3m last season for referee abuse alone.

But this of course is where the next problem lies – for any fine against Manchester City is pretty meaningless since Manchester City have unlimited funds – at least until the 110 cases filed against them by the Premier League reach a resolution, and so they can easily go on paying fines without a care in the world.

Of course, there are other ways of handling this, as in September this year Liverpool’s Van Dijk was given a ban specifically for abusing the referee in their league match against Newcastle.  But again, this is Manchester City, so probably not.

So given this is an issue (which has been around at least since 2005 when the rules were changed to deal with verbal attacks en masse) one would hope that by now the PGMO would have its range of punishments sorted out.

And there is an issue of interest in this for Arsenal, because as we have noted before Arsenal have focussed on reducing the number of yellow cards they get from referees, and have modified both their play and their behaviour to meet the rules and indeed the whims of PGMO.

Thus in a very real sense, the question is not just will Manchester City be penalised for breaking lots of rules but are Arsenal being penalised for abiding by the rules?

In 2019/20 Arsenal notched up 86 yellow cards and it is interesting to see what Arsenal has done since then in comparison with other clubs – and reflect on how PGMO are dealing (or indeed not dealing) with this situation.

In the final column we can see in brackets the number of yellow cards that each of the three clubs will achieve this year by the end of the season if they carry on at the same rate as now.


Club 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23 2023/24
Arsenal 86 47 60 52 18 (48)
Tottenham 82 53 67 75 38 (103)
Man City 60 46 42 44 27 (73)
Chelsea 60 49 63 77 47 (128)


Now in that last column what we can see is that both Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur are heading toward a yellow card total that is their biggest in the last five seasons (and probably more than that although we’re having to derive all the figures individually, which is why we haven’t gone back further than 2019/20).

Arsenal on the other hand has worked assiduously to take the club down from being the most yellow-carded club in the league in 2019/20 when Arteta arrived, until now.

And this final point is worth mentioning as the media and indeed the Manchester City manager have been making snide remarks about Mikel Arteta’s “rant” (as the media ceaselessly dubbed it) in relation to referee behaviour this season.

But there is another question here: do yellow cards have any impact on long term behaviour generally?   I have often argued that when Arteta arrived he found a club that was top of the yellow card table, and has worked to take Arsenal to the bottom of the yellow card table.  Not, I would add because of any moral duty, but rather to regain control of the team from PGMO.

With Chelsea and Tottenham from 2020/21 onward we can see teams travelling in the opposite direction and different managers will do things differently.  The question now is, will PGMO just let them carry on getting more and more cards?  The media never seem to mention it, so perhaps no one feels it is an issue any more.


5 Replies to “Will Haaland and Man City be penalised”

  1. Arsenal have an interesting philosophy where the players have to keep their mouths shut but the manager doesn’t. I suppose once the game is over any post match rant is less likely to be punished. Guardiola actually said after the game when asked about the referee that he wouldn’t do an Arteta. But I suspect Guardiola had a serious point. If City in general and Haaland in particular had taken some of their chances then the referees mistake late on would have been irrelevant. The players can’t do anything about the referee but they can control their own performances, I suspect that’s the point he will be hammering into them in training. The problem with Arteta’s rants is if everything is down to bad luck and terrible referees then it relieves the players of responsibility. Not a problem when everything is going well but it can come back to bite you when the team is up against it and your team has the wrong attitude.

  2. Jod
    As far as I am aware Arteta has only had the one post match outburst, or rant as the media call it, and that was after the Newcastle match. Generally speaking Arteta’s post match interviews are measured, calm and polite. If Arteta is the serial offender you say he is could you give the us the evidence to support your argument. You have made similar accusations regarding Artetas behaviour before and been asked for supporting evidence but you haven’t provided any. Show us all the occasions when Arteta has blamed bad luck and terrible referees. Probably because their is none.
    So come on show us the evidence and then we can take your rant seriously or not as the case may be.

  3. mick shelly

    You shouldn’t bother yourself with jod, he’s simply a ranting anti Arteta mouth that doesn’t know when to keep it shut. This is what he said about Arteta back on the 27th of Novemeber:

    “Kind of ironic for Arteta to be cutting out dissent among his players while never hesitating to shoot his mouth off himself”.

    So, Arteta “never hesitates to shoot his mouth off” apparently, but like yourself I could only recall the one post match ‘rant’, I’f indeed it was even a rant. Statement of fact more like.

    Still, I thought as Arteta “never fails to shoot his mouth off” I’d ask jod for some examples, you know just by way of a bit of evidence to back his own ‘rant’ up.

    This is what I said back in November:


    “Kind of ironic for Arteta to be cutting out dissent among his players while never hesitating to shoot his mouth off himself”

    Okay. Apart from the one STATEMENT about VAR being embarrassing, which I’m sure you agree with, but if not please feel free to explain why not, I don’t really remember Arteta ‘shooting his mouth off’.

    As you suggest he NEVER HESITATES TO DO SO I look forward to a list of occasions he has done so.

    Please feel free to repeat them all in their full glory for us to read.”

    –As we all knew would be the case he neither explained why he thought Artetas statement was incorrect, and he didn’t produce one other example of Arteta shooting his mouth off, not one, but ironically here he is again shooting HIS mouth off about something he has absolutely no evidence to support.

    Now you’ve asked the same question. All I can say is don’t hold your breath micky, the guys all mouth.

  4. micky

    And another thing I said was that Arteta is obliged under PL rules to answer post match questions. When asked if he thought a decision was incorrect is he supposed to lie and say he thought it was good?

    If he thinks our officiating is so bad it is ‘embarrassing’ is he not allowed to say so when it clearly is?

    It is not a rant simply stating facts, especially when you are obligated to do so.

  5. If match day officials implemented the sanctions that have been available to them for the past 20 years they might command more respect.

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