BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Ramires of Chelsea scores their first goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
The International Players Union is the latest body to protest against the suspension of several players from the biggest match in club football for yellow card accumulation. This year's Champions League final will see no less than six clear starters (three from Bayern Munich, three from Chelsea) restricted to the stands after picking up three bookings over the course of the season, and although nobody's defending John Terry after the defender received a straight red card on Tuesday, everyone's feeling rather more sorry for the yellow cardees:
Anybody committing a serious offence in the semi-final should be awarded a red card and miss the final. But the offences that result in a yellow card do not justify the serious punishment of missing the match of your life.
For example, Alaba slipped over and gets the ball kicked against his hand - it is not right that such a player should miss the Champions League final because of this. Some people say that this will give players the licence to kick all and sundry during the semi-final, but that is utter nonsense.
Any serious offence will result in a red card and that still means exclusion from the final.
-FIFPro. Source: Sky Sports.
I doubt their appeals for clemency will have any effect whatsoever, but you have to admit that they have a point. Bayern's defence is going to be ugly (although their formidable forward line, alas, will be as intact as ever), and Chelsea being down Branislav Ivanovic and Ramires will mean that the Blues will also be fielding a severely weakened team at the Allianz.
There's no real reason for this rule to exist, and I hope they do away with it next season. We want to see the best teams playing, and that means we should be doing as much as we can to see the best players on the field. If you've been watching Bayern at all this year, you'll know how important the likes of David Alaba and Luiz Gustavo are, and obviously the names that Chelsea are missing are just as crucial to our team.
I wish something had been done about this before this year, of course, but hopefully UEFA does the right thing and makes sure this situation never comes up again.