Conmebol's Shameful Handling of the Neymar Ban

At the moment, confusion reigns over the fate of Neymar at the 2015 Copa America after the Brazil captain received a straight red card for attempting to head-butt Colombia defender Jeison Murillo after referee Enrique Osses had blown the final whistle in Colombia’s combative 1-0 win in Santiago

On Thursday, reports in the Brazilian media claimed that Neymar was looking at a minimum two-game suspension, thus ruling the Barcelona forward out until the semifinal, assuming Brazil gets that far. The Copa America disciplinary board later confirmed the Brazilian media reports, only to see Conmebol, the South American region’s confederation, step in less than an hour later to reduce the 23-year-old’s ban to one game. In doing so, Conmebol said that its disciplinary board would meet again on Friday to “decide the final punishment.”


According to Caio Rocha, a member of Conmebol’s disciplinary committee, this is what’s happening: "In theory, Neymar could be suspended just one game,” the Brazilian told Folha de Sao Paolo (via ESPN) on Thursday. “The rule doesn't make clear if the yellow received yesterday, his second of the tournament, is maintained. If the tribunal interprets the that the yellow is voided/annulled by the red, the automatic suspension falls and Neymar could be punished with just a one-game suspension."


Is Off The Post the only one who’s baffled by Conmebol’s handling of this?

Let’s start with the cold, hard facts: Neymar, who everyone knows is an extraordinarily talented soccer player and by far the Seleccao’s biggest star, has now received two yellow cards and a straight red in two games at the Copa. 

His first, a yellow against Peru in a 2-1 win, was for misconduct: wiping away the referee’s disappearing foam. His second yellow, received in the first half of Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Colombia, was for a deliberate handball, although replays seem to indicate that this was a harsh call. However, a few minutes later, the Barca star was lucky to escape a second yellow for what could have easily been deemed a deliberate foul on Carlos Sanchez, who by the way did an excellent job marking Neymar all night. If that wasn’t enough, Brazil’s captain definitely should have been booked for his reaction to that call, as he angrily spiked the ball on the ground and away from the spot where the foul occurred in protest to Osses’ decision.

After that, Barca star was walking on very thin ice. In fact, OTP was surprised that he made it as far as the final whistle. However, his dismissal for the attempted head-butt on Murillo in the melee that ensued was an indisputable straight red card. 

So, to sum up: we have one warranted yellow card, one unwarranted yellow card, one missed yellow card (Osses might have been trying to make up for the prior call), and one straight red in two games for one of the world’s biggest stars.

If OTP were Brazil coach Dunga, he’d be thinking: this is how my captain behaves?

In any event, forgetting for a second about the two yellows and whether or not they were warranted, a straight red for attempting to head-butt another player is violent conduct, plain and simple. Now, the handling of how long a player is suspended for after a straight red is actually regulated by association and league authorities, or in this case, the Copa America disciplinary committee. However, since Conmebol has (temporarily, anyway) superseded the Copa committee’s ruling, FIFA, if did not have reason enough to throw the book at Conmebol for its role in all the kickback scandals, should sanction the South American body for the manner in which it has stepped in and undermined the authority of its discipllnary committee.

If Neymar does indeed get away with a one-game ban, FIFA absolutely has to step in here.

In many leagues across Europe, including the English Premier League, violent conduct constitutes an automatic three-game ban. Granted, we’re talking about a three-week long tournament here, so two games would seem sufficient for a straight red card. However, given Neymar’s other yellows and overall poor behavior on the field -- not to mention his comments about the referee off the field -- OTP would like to see the Brazilian given an additional game ban to show that such misconduct will not be tolerated and that no player is bigger than the laws of the game.

That’s probably not going to happen, but there is plenty of precedence for FIFA handing out two-game bans for violent conduct at other tournaments— Zinedine Zidane’s stomp against Saudi Arabia at France 1998 comes to mind. For the sake of consistency, and of keeping the game’s stars from becoming more important than its rules of conduct, FIFA has to intervene here. 

14 comments about "Conmebol's Shameful Handling of the Neymar Ban".
  1. Lou vulovich, June 18, 2015 at 8:17 p.m.

    Funny how technical players like Neymar get
    Physically abused right in front of the referees
    and no one in soccer has an issue with the referee simply ignoring rules, and not calling fouls,cards. But when one of these players finally
    Reacts everyone wants his head.

  2. Allan Lindh, June 18, 2015 at 8:18 p.m.

    Attempted Head Butt????
    you mean he didn't touch him?
    and what, I wonder did the gentleman say to Neymar?
    This isn't Futbal, Copa America is a war, get used to it, and stop whining. Everyone wants to see Neymar in the rest of the tournament.
    Good call, Conmebal

  3. Vince Leone, June 18, 2015 at 11:41 p.m.

    Head butt? You mean that attempted love tap that didn't even connect? I'm with Lou Vulovich--how about some red cards for the many vicious tackles on the creative players? Uruguay was guilty of collective aggravated assault on Argentina's creative players and the ref seemed to have no problem with it.

  4. yara da Silva-Heying, June 19, 2015 at 12:31 a.m.

    A game without Messi, Neymar is totally different. Neymar almost was left in a wheelchair thanks to Zuniga who got no punishment. A headbutt deserves a one game suspension, a broken vertebrae, nothing.

  5. Brian Garcia, June 19, 2015 at 12:36 a.m.

    This writer is either Colombian or a Real Madrid fan

  6. Santiago 1314, June 19, 2015 at 11:21 a.m.

    I'm a Real Madrid fan... And I think Neymar is a little Kaka...LOL...Disciplinary Committee's exist at the Authority of the Federation... If they have the Authority to overide the Committe, SO BE IT...Let the Twit play in the Quarters.... He'll get Tossed Out and Hurt his Team even more...

  7. Santiago 1314, June 19, 2015 at 11:24 a.m.

    Maybe he is Upset that The Spanish Court has decided to Take him to Trial, over his Tax Evasion...

  8. Santiago 1314, June 19, 2015 at 11:25 a.m.

    Maybe Messi and Neymar will be playing in Orange Jumpsuits next year!?!?!?

  9. Luz Virgen, June 19, 2015 at 11:42 a.m.

    I watched the game and Murillo was verbally abusing Neymar, and clearly continue enticing him after the game was over. There have been many fouls that have been completely ignored through all the games played so far.

  10. J Sagett, June 19, 2015 at 2:17 p.m.

    Neymar's always been a disaster in waiting. Always was a diva/diver, though his teammates at Barca seem to be able to keep him somewhat under control. Without that peer pressure, this is the result. Captain of his national team at his age and temperament? Please. What a bad, bad joke. Wait'll you seen the contortions CONMEBOL goes through to keep him on the pitch.

  11. Allan Lindh, June 19, 2015 at 8:17 p.m.

    Neymar is just a kid, I can only imagine what was said to him. And he didn't touch the guy.
    And he wasn't drunk.
    He wasn't driving drunk, putting many peoples lives at risk,
    And Vidal is going to play.
    cummon, give him a pass on this one

  12. Lou vulovich, June 19, 2015 at 10:09 p.m.

    Allan. Very well said, it would be great if common sense and justice would prevail. Not to mention the wishes of 90% of all football fans watching Copa America. Sadly that will not be the case.

  13. Santiago 1314, June 22, 2015 at 3:30 p.m.

    @ J Sagett,..Contortionist Indeed...They Don't call it CONMYBALLS for Nothing....LOL

  14. Soccer Madness, June 22, 2015 at 9:21 p.m.

    For all those Neymar haters I wonder what type of players they do like to see. My bet is they think that the way Colombia defends Neymar is well done, hitting him every chance they get. The real shame here is that had the refs who were assigned these 2 games amongst Colombia and brazil been good and cleaned the game upbfrom the beginning those 2 games would have been amongst the best shows in the last 2 years. But with the refs allowing such vicious play they robbed us of 2 skilled teams playing quality soccer.

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications