Everton defense against Frank Lampard revealed after FA charge for Liverpool comments
Everton and Frank Lampard’s defense after being charged over comments he made after the Merseyside derby at Anfield earlier this year has been revealed.
Lampard was charged by the FA following the Blues’ 2-0 loss to Liverpool in April. Throughout the match, his team felt aggrieved by a number of decisions they perceived as going against them, including a second-half penalty against Anthony Gordon.
With the scores still at 0-0, the winger appeared to have been brought down by Joel Matip in the Liverpool box. However, referee Stuart Attwell dismissed appeals from Everton, who then lost the match.
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Blues boss Lampard later said in his post-match press conference: “Well, it’s a second-half penalty, for me. I don’t, I don’t think you bring them here and, I think, probably if it’s Mo Salah at the other end, I think he gets a penalty.
“And I’m not trying to create a conflict here, I think that’s a reality of football sometimes. Maybe I’ve played in clubs, sometimes, that were top eight in the league, and the crowd behind them, and you do for me, for sure it was a penalty. The second on Anthony. It’s a foul, it’s a clear foul. But us, you don’t get them here.
Lampard was fined £30,000 by the FA after the comments but attended a meeting with an independent regulatory commission on May 30 before that decision was made. And the organization has now released the written reasons for the charge and what Everton’s defense to the comments was.
The document revealed that the Blues had submitted in evidence an ‘analysis of the sanctions’ over the last two or three seasons, which were accepted, although the Commission would also ‘consider their relevance’ during the hearing. Two letters from David Harrison, director of football operations and club secretary at the club, as well as a letter from Lampard himself, were sent.
One of Mr Harrison’s letters read: ‘Mr Lampard’s comments were a general statement based on his long experience in football both as a player and manager at club and international level, on the difficulty of being handed penalties when playing away from home in front of large, vocal and supportive crowds – in his view, ‘sometimes it’s the reality of football’ that it’s more difficult for teams away from receiving penalties.
“This is an objective statement backed by facts because over the thirty Premier League seasons around 2,431 penalties have been awarded, of which 61% (approximately) have been awarded to the home team – being in further noted that Liverpool have not had a penalty against them in 46 Premier League appearances, which is the longest run of any club in Premier League history.
Everton also referenced ‘alleged Jurgen Klopp comments’ when submitting an article from December 20, 2021, purporting to relate to what the Liverpool boss said to Paul Tierney after a 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur. The Evening Standard report submitted alleges that Klopp said: “I have no problem with the referees. Only you.”
The Commission determined that it could also “consider their relevance” at the hearing, although no other specific reference is made to them in the report. However, the written reasons further state: “The absence in these reasons of reference to a particular point or argument should not mean that the Board has disregarded the point or arguments, many of which were advanced in course of the main part of the hearing were taken into account in all cases when considering mitigation measures.”
The reasons confirm that Lampard never intended to personally criticize Attwell or question his integrity, and the Commission accepted that there was no malice in the comments. But, they also had no doubt that any “reasonable man” hearing his comments would think the words implied bias on the part of the referee.
Included in their mitigation, the Commission accepted the Everton manager’s apology that his comments were not intended to be malicious. And, the organization was impressed that Lampard interrupted a family vacation to attend the meeting via Microsoft Teams.
The written reasons also note that the Blues boss regretted mentioning a specific Liverpool player by name, and he would remove it if he could. This mitigation reduced the financial penalty from what was initially a £45,000 fine to £30,000 – Lampard also being ordered to pay the costs of the Regulatory Commission itself.