Mousa Dembele faces a lengthy ban which could see him not just miss the end of the season, but also next season’s opening matches.

The Belgian was charged with violent conduct after cameras caught him appearing to attempt an eye gauge on Diego Costa, during Tottenham’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea.

Yet a screen-grab from Monday night raises doubts as to whether Dembele should have been charged with this offence.

Though Dembele quite clearly attacks Costa, the FA’s rules state that retrospective action can only be taken when the referee and his assistants have not seen the incident.

As you’ll see from this image, the referee’s assistant Simon Beck is looking straight at Dembele and Costa. It seems very unlikely that he did not see what went on.


Sky pundit Jamie Carragher was forthright in his opinion. “He can’t not have seen that,” said the former Liverpool star.

“There is no doubt Mark Clattenburg has been lenient and I don’t mind officials being lenient in big games. But incidents like that, the linesman is looking straight at it and he froze and has bottled his decision.”

Regardless of the severity of Dembele’s foul, have the FA bent their own rules to punish Dembele?



  1. The evidence is there for all,even the FA to see.Their appointed official was there watching what happened and did not do anything.So he could not have deemed it important enough to warrant action.The picture cannot lie.The lawyers will have a field day in court with this one.Do the FA want more egg on face.

  2. Comment: That is what we were expecting to happen we as fans because it was London derby and Tottenham were fighting to retain the trophy. FA people you shouldn’t be silly. leave not to ban any one , record wise we expected that happen, even Diego Costa himself is an Arogant man ever.

  3. Simon Beck is looking directly at the incident, without any obstructions.
    100% with eyes open, he has (did) (MUST) have a birds eye view. Would he be able to swear on Oath, to the contrary?
    The F.A. by charging Dembele, are breaking their own rules. The term Hypocrasy comes to mind.
    Let the Lawyers sort it out.

  4. I have looked at video of the supposed gouging and cannot say that the matter is at all clear.

    First of all there was little reaction from Costa apart from holding the opposite side of his face. You would expect him to go ballistic if any form of gouging had taken place.

    Costa’s face was also clear of scratch marks and his eye fully open for the rest of the match.

    Dembele has been charged and found guilty out of hand by newspapers and ex refs. etc but it is hoped that the FA might be more open minded.

    • This is my big issue, really. Dembele was a bit naughty. No-one is disputing that. But from moment the (Leicester supporting) Sky commentator referred to it, erroneously IMO, as an eye gouge every single medisa source has parroted that.

      FFS, he did not gouge Costa’s eye. It was more a clutching scratch, something like what Torres did to Vertonghen, from what I could see – and something the FA refused to punish despite video evidence. It wasn’t Dembele’s finest moment and I’m not defending it – I just wish folk would stop calling it an eye gouge.

      Interesting that there is photographic evidence that the referee’s assistant was looking straight at it. But don’t be surprised if they ignore it – they can be remarkably hypocritical when they choose and I’ve a feeling they are looking to make some scapegoats!

  5. Dembele was stupid but the whole issue has been determined by Sky, who called it as an eye highe when it was nothing of the sort. He slapped Costa and the assistant ref had perfect view of it. it was a sending off. As was Willians elbow into the face of Danny Rose in the penalty area after already being booked. MOTD called that one but Sky ignored it. And how did Walker get a bloody nose after tangling off the ball (and pitch) with Costa. Maybe he should have rolled around a bit like Fabregas did?

    • I haven’t seen the motd coverage, so I’m glad that was brought up, as i said at the time that incident will be swept under the carpet just like how Cahill could have been sent off multiple times (last man giving away the penalty, clattering Rose as he scored, blatantly kicking Kane in the back whilst on the ground etc…) against us last season when we beat them 5-3, but Jose deflected all the blame onto a refereeing conspiracy against them and no-one paid any attention to it.

  6. The problem is that, it seems as if everybody was against Tottenham that day. The commentators judge everything within minutes. So, they are definately looking to punish somebody. Carragher has already concluded that Dembele is stupid. So, the judgement is already there. Why do so much people hate Spurs?

    • The Leicester bias was sickening, nothings been mentioned about the tackles where we won the ball fairly but still got fouls given against us, and nothing the other way round, no wonder the players got frustrated. Yet as the commentator said at the time ‘that took 3 players to stop Kane there’, which should clearly have been a foul, but they broke from that for the equaliser.

  7. Quite honestly, unlike Costa’s reputation, Dembele’s is spotless and he isn’t even looking as he pushes Costa away and he uses the flat of his hand, so how there are scratches unless he curled his fingers in the initial push(which from the photo he did not), is beyond me. I think that this is hyperinflated MSM rubbish. I have seen this in rugby where the tackled player pushes the tackler away with the flat of his hand and only bends his fingers if the opponent pushes back and that is not curled to scratch but all flexed at the CMC joints to strengthen the push. It sounds like those who want football to be a lying, totally pansy game have the bit in their mouth and it is antiTHFc so it is OK.

  8. I love the fight in him now. Last season Dembele was moping around the field. Now at least, he has some fire in his belly. Excited to see what next season brings us.

  9. I’m a Spurs fan and Dembele may have made an attempt to ‘gouge’ Costas eye but you can clearly see that there’s no blood or scratches so Dembele must have decided against it at the last second. However it was still an attempt and therefore Dembele must face the consequences. It’s not as bad as the Saurez bite though but maybe a 6 game ban should be enough. It’s a shame as he’s been outstanding for us this season. Great player.

  10. the problem was this whole situation was developed to heighten tension before the game on sky sports with interviews with willian ,hazard and fabregas three players stating their provocative anti spurs sentiments publicly without criticism from sky …even ian wright was critical of hazard lack of professionalism considering his poor season… in the media there is the usual two faced approach….. of course there is no context of misuse of the influence of the media of this from the FA….whe the charge is as usual by television retrospectively strange….there were tough tackles but obviously the intent to wind up spurs was there which continued with insults in spanish etc…….chelsea had nothing left this season but behave in this way………what was odd was they celebrated this game as a win but really the new spurs look stronger going into next season……there is an anti spurs attitude across many supporters but this is the old attitudes not accepting the real football improvement and culture at THFC which creates green eyes…..dembele was caught up and didn’t actually gouge his eye but still was seen by this official who was not reacting to events ………

  11. NO just because he missed or changed his mind doesn’t excuse what he did. The intend was there he must of thought about it. Should just expect the ban as they say don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time! Shame thou thought he was our best player this season.

  12. Although not condoned im glad to see Spurs have now got some steel & team spirit. I think we cottoned on too late that we had a chance of title. ( happy to see improvement i think they felt) i think this team can learn from mistakes at last & hope the disappointment fires them up to finish matches off. A few additions
    & we can do it. Still think Defoe would have been option

    • Regardless of the blame being driven to musa dembele and the lads at the team i do not care,i am proud of the boys they show chelsea that it was men against men,not boys for them to walk over easily as they always think and that’s how you loose a title with a fight as back in the days man utd had roy keane fighting for it,….as for defoe can’t agree with u more hope poch re signs him again a major super sub and a good back up for kane next season

  13. Why is it that Dembélé has been tried, committed and sentenced by the press without no entitlement of defence and yet no one has raised the question as to why he apparently did this. On the tv coverage Costa had hold of Moussa’s shirt before he pushed out to Costa’s face. If this is the case and this was a move of retaliation for Costa’s aggression towards him, in fairness shouldn’t Costa be charged with not only his aggression towards Moussa Dembélé but also the fact that, like Moussa, there were pictures all over with Costa’s hands around Vorms throat. I think moussa is being tried by the press and is being used by the FA as a scapegoat. I don’t condone players attacking other players but lets be fair and, if allegations and charges are going to be made then lets involve all guilty parties. It wasn’t a one man squimish.

  14. It`s absolutely disgusting. The entire incident has been brought to the fore by the media, and without a doubt the FA are influenced by Sky, and what they think should happen!

    Suddenly from out of nowhere 24hrs after the game, someone somewhere writes that Dembele is getting a 10 game ban…..and before you know it, every newspaper / website / tv channel jumps on the bandwagon and decides that is what is happening……and it will! because the FA is influenced & bombarded with biased news and suggestions from Sky and the BBC and not strong enough to stand up to them.

    Why don`t Sky put together a montage of clips from every Premiership game this season that Diego Costa has played in, showing every refereeing decision, and showing him running up to to the officials (from wherever he is on pitch) and shouting at the ref trying to influence that decision….firstly, it would take too long! and secondly it`s easier for them to pick out one isolated incident and create an agenda about that!

  15. It looks like Costa’s hand that is on Dembeles back is pinching/squeezing skin. Check out the video from match of the day. If his arm is just around Dembele why is his hand clenched and not flat? Possibly pinching skin through shirt?

  16. When Verts had his face scratched by Torres the FA chose to ignore it and exonerate Torres. I wonder if they will base their judgement on this precedent that they have already set. On top of that, as the picture shows, the official could not have possibly missed the incident. The reason Torres was being judged was because the officials denied seeing that incident, not so in this case. In all if they are looking for a scapegoat they will blame Tottenham anyone else is off the hook (unless they are Suarez and engaging in cannibalism).

  17. Sure his hand was on Costa’s face..n did Costa roll or fall back in pain..n d linesman was there too..with so much intensity n anger.n PROVOCATION..i would have wanted to hit out at d a seemed when Dembelle earlier saw Costa tryin to headbutt Verts..Dembelle went to help n showing him that again n i am gonna.whack you..n thats where his hand landed on Costa’s final intent..D PROVICATION was already BEFORE d match..when 2 top top prifesdionals Aggeuro n Fabregas..openly said..WR R GONNA STOP SPURS WINNING..N FA HAS TO TAKE A VERY SERIOUS VIEW.

  18. No one seems to realise that this was provoked by Costa giving Dembele a Camel Pinch on his back I bet if Dembele takes his shirt off you would still see bruising there today…its all biased

  19. It is reasonable to charge Dembele with ‘violent conduct’, but it was him scraping or scratching Costa’s face rather than any ‘eye gouge’. No eye was gouged or being targeted to be gouged, so it is both exaggeration and a misnomer to be calling it that.

  20. Diego Costa And Fabregas were the real villans! Costa said some abuse to Dembele. Dembele had his hand to Costa,s face rather like Torres did to Vertongen but 100% certainthere was no intention to eye gauge. Torres recieved no punishment. What was appalling was the anti-semetic abuse all Spurs players were put under and so ALL Spurs fans should be very concerned indeed if the FA go in on media advice on long ban on an individual Spurs player and not Chelsea players . What did Costa say was it anti-semitic in Spanish? Hiddink was clearly angry with Fabregas. The assistant clearly did not see eye gauge.When Eriksen took a corner 2nd half you lip read what was unbelievable abuse from Chelsea fans. It looked and sounded like Combat 18 were back! These morons calling “wanker,wanker” to Christian in my opinion were being fired up by Fabregas TV appearance wich literally inferred “we,ll do what take”. It was the worst provocation ever seen on a Spurs team.

  21. Spurs fan.

    I can’t explain or there’s no excuses and many insidance happened that night but the FA has be on point for everyone. Couple seasons ago Chelsea visited white heart lane and Fernando Torres did the same but he has scratches but FA did bigger all. Everyone should be treated the same.

  22. If the FA take action and it is too harsh,i think Dan Levy should get the club lawyers to sieu the FA for bias and failing to honour their own rules.Also the precedents of Torres on Vertonghan,the previos Suarez bans for racial comments and biting are far worse.Lets see the FA defend that in court.Also if the FA do try to hammer the club and player,then i want Dele Alle,Kane,Walker etc to withdraw from England Euro team and see Woy fall flat on his face.One for all and all for one.FA are bending there own rules.Their assistant referee was watching incident,took no action so thats that.The FA cannot then decide to act.Also they have allowed Fabregas to make threats, assault players in the genitals,abuse our club officials and we get silence from the FA.I know our players want to play in the Euros but sometimes a stand has to be taken.The FA must do the right thing or feel the consequences.Fairness and consistency is all we ask.

  23. This wasn’t an eye gouge. For it to be so, or even an attempt at a gouge, pressure must be concentrated in or around the eye for between at least one and two seconds. Which is why the thumb is usually the digit of choice in these circs. If the footage is seen at the true speed you cannot see any movement that suggests a gouge. He draws his hand/fingers down, not inwards. What’s more the contact is fleeting, which is actually why the lino doesn’t see anything while he is looking at it directly. He doesn’t see gouging because there isn’t any! Costa’s (non) response is also telling. The conspiracy is in the slow-mo and freeze frame. There is no footage that shows contact with the eye. You can’t raise the hands so a three game ban is just, but never an eye gouge and mitigation to the hand off is that Costa is digging in to his back.