Should suspensions be in months or games?

Sashko Pandev got off easyThe recent reduction of Sashko Pandev’s suspension opened an interesting debate about the rules in the Macedonian league.

From a 6 month suspension, Turnovo’s attacker managed to reduce the penalty to 4 months. At first notice that isn’t much, but when you calculate the long winter break in Macedonia, well then it’s actually a very small suspension.

What’s the big deal? During the Round 13 match between Bregalnica and Turnovo in Shtip, visiting player Sashko Pandev punched an assistant referee after he reported him for provoking the home fans during his goal celebration. That happened on 29 October. FFM later suspended Pandev for 6 months due to the severity of his action. So, the younger brother of star player Goran Pandev missed four First League rounds plus two quarter-final Cup games. To sum up, Sashko missed six games, but probably we should count only five as he would have automatically missed one game due to the red card.

Video of the incident:

The 6 month suspension was supposed to end after Round 27, making Pandev miss ten more league games. Reducing it to 4 months, the suspension will be over exactly before the first match of the 2nd half of the season, scheduled for 1 March. That means that 3 of the 4 months were spent in the winter break when no games were played. That’s the problem. The Macedonian league has one of the world’s longest winter breaks (the entire months of December, January and February) which makes the half-seasons look like two different seasons. The break between two half-seasons in Macedonia is, believe it or not, longer than the break between two seasons. A season ends in late May, but promotion/relegation play-offs are played in June as well, while the new season begins in late July and that makes a break of just two months.

So, a 6 month suspension reduced to 4, with 3 of them served in the winter break, is nothing short of ridiculous. FFM must take action and change this rule in order not to have similar cases in the future.

There are two simple but effective solutions:

– a suspension to be expressed only in matches, or
– if expressed in months, then months without games should not be counted.

What’s your opinion regarding this issue? Tell us in the comment section below or at our Forum.

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