492 quid to scone Cristiano Ronaldo with a lighter. That’s what the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) are charging these days: and Atletico Madrid snapped up the bargain with glee. There are other offers to be had as well. According to the RFEF it’ll only cost your club £246 if an individual owns up to what, everyone admits, was a hell of a shot. However, the fee is doubled to £984 if you catch CR7 on a day when he does not have his standard three inches of hair product acting as force field around his cranium.
The unsavoury affair is further evidence that football fines are not fit for purpose. Rather than a form of retributive justice in which a proportionate punishment is served in order to act as a genuine deterrent against further misdemeanours, football fines read more like the results of a charity auction to raise money for a local boy scout troop.
After a slow start to the evening which saw a meal for four in the local pizzeria going for £37 and the year’s free car-washes fail to reach its reserve price of a fiver, things pick up as the auctioneer starts the bidding on the nights star piece: Do I hear £247 for this once in a lifetime opportunity to clock the best footballer in the world with a Zippo? Sold, to the gentleman in the Atleti top!!
If you feel it is not worth wasting a five fer a poun plastic lighter on today’s stars, perhaps the RFEF can interest you in the opportunity to eye gouge the assistant head coach of FC Barcelona? Again, a snip at £492 and a price that Jose Mourinho found far too good to turn down back in 2011.
Alternatively, for the big spenders out there, £3,500 grants you carte blanche to racially abuse an opposition player. Back in 2005, Spanish head coach Luis Aragones, treated himself to calling Thierry Henry a “black shit”. This was the same month that ex Lazio striker Paolo Di Canio paid double that for the privilege of making Nazi salutes on Italian football pitches. Just £7,000 to honour a fascist movement responsible for the deaths of over six million Jews, Romani, Slavs, Poles, homosexuals, disabled, mentally ill and many other non-Aryan minority groups.
Incidentally, around this time Robert Pires wore a Puma T-shirt during a television interview when his national team was sponsored by Adidas. A truly heinous crime and thankfully he was duly hit with a £35,000 penalty. Five times more than it would have cost him to deliver repeated public Nazi salutes. Ten times more than he would have paid to use the colour of an opponent’s skin as a derogatory term to insult him. And 71 times more than the price of poking the eye of a cancer sufferer or attempting to split someone’s skull open with a lighter.
And people say there are no morals left in modern-day football…