Two weeks on, FC Nordsjælland’s Jores Okore is still fuming over a goal that defied every ethic in the game, but did it break any rules?
By Bjarke Smith-Meyer
“He’s not sorry,” FC Nordsjælland’s star defender Jores Okore told The Copenhagen Post last week. “When he scored he was celebrating. And when we went up to discuss getting a goal back, he came back screaming ‘STOP! STOP!’. He knew exactly what he was doing.”
It may be two weeks since Adriano scored a hugely controversial goal following a drop-ball in FCN’s 2-5 Champions League defeat to Shakhtar Donestk, but the incident will live long in the defender’s memory.
“And the worst thing is that it hardly feels like he’s getting punished for it,” Okore said.
UEFA, European football’s governing body, handed Adriano a one-match suspension last week on Tuesday, which saw him miss this Wednesday game against Juventus. The ban, however, held little importance to Shakhtar as it had already qualified for the knockout stage.
Shakhtar released a press statement in which it accepted the ban, while stating that “everyone associated with the club is deeply disappointed with the incident”. Its owner Rinat Akhmetov described the goal as “unacceptable” and said he was “deeply disappointed”. And even Adriano, the day after the game, expressed his sincere apologies, promising that he would “be more focused and attentive on the pitch and would abide by the rules of Fair Play”.
But Okore isn’t convinced.
“He came out straight after the game and openly said he didn’t regret it. That’s on record! How can you take an apology in hindsight seriously when you consider everything he did and said up to that point?” Okore said.
And now it emerges his club holds misgivings about the ban. Adriano was disciplined under Article 5, UEFA Disciplinary Regulations. But despite accepting the ban, the Ukrainian club has requested for more details behind the legal reasoning behind the suspension. While Shakhtar refused to comment on the subject, UEFA’s press officer told The Copenhagen Post that the topic was not open to “comment or communication” as “the fully-reasoned decision concerning Adriano has not been sent to the club in question as of yet”.
What makes this legal procedure difficult for UEFA to explain is that technically speaking, Adriano didn’t break any rules. And according to Jan Jensen, the sports editor at Ekstra Bladet, the only reason why UEFA acted on Adriano’s actions was because it felt under pressure to set an example for Fair Play and sportsmanship.
“They can point to whatever article they want, because it just doesn’t exist,” Jensen said. “The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. If it was a clear breach of regulation, Adriano would have been fined and banned for several matches. It’s all a bit of a farce really.”
If Jensen had it his way, the whole notion of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct would be completely disregarded, as he feels too many people take advantage of the good nature of other players. Adriano included.
“Adriano’s claim that his natural goal-scoring instinct was to blame for the incident is ridiculous,” Jensen said. “Everyone else on the pitch knew what was going on. He clearly took advantage of the situation. Let’s just stick to the rules that do exist, and forget this notion of playing the gentleman’s game.”