The bizarre Scottish suspension that's followed Celtic loanee Conor Hazard to Helsinki
Imagine you were HJK Helsinki loanee Conor Hazard, sent out from Celtic to gain important match experience.
You’ve made a decent start, impressing your teammates. You adjust to the environment, maybe even learn some Finnish. Everything’s going alright.
Then you remember that, for some reason, you’ll have to miss your next HJK Helsinki game, because you were incorrectly sent off playing for the Celtic B Team against Clyde in the City of Glasgow Cup.
It sounds farcical, but it’s true. Hazard was sent off in November against Clyde, after “fouling” David Goodwillie outside of the box. Even the typically even-handed Celtic match report after the game was incensed by the decision [Celtic FC].
As a result of that blatantly incorrect decision, Hazard will forced to watch from the stands when HJK Helsinki take on FC Honka later this month [HJK]. Understandably, the Northern Ireland international is annoyed, but at least he’s been able to reflect on a solid start in Northern Europe.
He said [HJK]: “The ban is due to a bad decision by a referee in Scotland, and unfortunately the ban is also in force in Finland, which I am not happy about at all. You just have to live with it.
“[Helsinki has] been nice. I didn’t think I would [adjust] so well. HJK has treated me great and the guys in the locker room are top guys. I’ve enjoyed every minute here.”
Stranger than fiction: Celtic man Hazard suspended for a game in Finland because of a Glasgow Cup game
Now, obviously, some suspensions carry through different competitions. If you get sent off at a World Cup, for example, you’ll miss your nation’s next competitive game.
If you’re suspended by the SFA for an incident in a Scottish Cup game, that’ll follow to the league. And so on. But across nations? From a decision that should’ve been repealed, in a Glasgow Cup game? It seems utterly farcical. Who does it benefit? Clyde?
We doubt The Bully Wee have been writing to the Finnish FA. It seems unlikely there’s a department at FIFA or UEFA going “aye, maybe it is weird, but do you follow the Glasgow Cup yourself?”.
Surely there’s a way of sorting this. If Hazard is suspended for a game in Scotland when he comes back, it’d make far more sense. For him to not be allowed to play for HJK Helsinki in their next game, though, seems utterly bizarre.
At least Hazard appears to be enjoying himself. According to HJK Helsinki, he’s one of the loudest voices in the dressing room already.
All fine and well. There has to be a way of sorting this unusual issue, however.