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Jermain Defoe - The Biter Bit!

What was initially reported as a “feigned head butt” by Jermain Defoe upon West Ham midfielder Javier Mascherano turned out to be an incident which the press have happily blown out of all proportion.

After being hauled down cynically for the third time in the first half, Defoe, whilst on the ground a yard or two away from the miscreant, did a bum shuffle across the gap, and sank his teeth into Mascherano’s upper arm.

Now nobody but the two parties knows whether Defoe “playfully nibbled” Mascherano, as suggested by Martin Jol, but what is certain is that the Argentinean won no friends through his melodramatic collapse, which could have been no more emphatic, had he been struck with a fatal dose of the bubonic plague.

There have been some great tabloid headlines such as “The tooth hurts” and “Bite Hart Lane”, but in the health and safety ridden age that we live in, even sports minister Richard Caborn has leapt into the fray, with an urge for the FA to review this case. Presumably, the Minister would like Defoe to receive a retrospective three-match ban for violent conduct.

FA rules state that retrospective action cannot be taken if punishment is meted out on the day, although the case involving Ben Thatcher and Pedro Mendes proved they will act in exceptional circumstances. A couple of years ago, after Jamie Redknapp had been yellow-carded for a foul on Tim Cahill at Goodison Park, his offence was “up-graded” despite the fact that the referee had acted on the day. Here we have another case where the referee acted, by administering yellow cards to both Defoe and Mascherano.

If the FA respond to Mr Caborn, then Defoe must be at risk of a ban, but surely Mascherano’s play-acting has over-egged the situation, and Steve Bennett got it right on the day? Spurs Odyssey thinks so!

· Read the match report here

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