Spurs midfielder Dele Alli looks set to escape a ban after he allegedly made a middle finger gesture towards the match official in last night’s 2-1 win for England over Slovakia which leaves the Three Lions just one win away from the World Cup finals in Russia nextsummer.
The 21-year-old was annoyed when the referee failed to award him a free-kick in the second-half and TV pictures caught his making an obscene gesture at the official as play continued. Alli has claimed it was aimed at team-mate Kyle Walker but that is unlikely to convince many observers.
The implications of his actions could be serious should FIFA decide to take the matter further but a look back to earlier this year and an incident involving Lionel Messi should mean Alli escapes any severe punishment.
Messi was initially banned for four matches and fined over €9,000 when he insulted an official during Argentina’s match against Chile but the Argentinean FA successfully appealed the decision after the game’s governing body admitted that the evidence was insufficient to establish an infringement had occurred.
It’s believed that TV pictures alone will not be enough to ban Alli for a lengthy spell although he could be charged for bringing the game into disrepute. If match referee Clement Turpin fails to note the incident in his match report, FIFA will quiz him as to why he did not send the player off at the time.