The past week has seen much scandal as all Copa America predictions that this year’s tournament would be uneventful were quickly put to rest. The past week has seen one of the biggest names in Neymar getting suspended from the rest of the competition and it has also seen the talisman of the host nation, Arturo Vidal, get arrested before leading his team to a thumping victory.
There has been much controversy in the group stage. Vidal was arrested after a sports car belonging to him was discovered wrecked by the side of the road. He was charged with drink driving and spent the night in a police cell. He was bailed in the morning and had to train before his side’s match against Bolivia, a fixture that Chile won 5-0.
Questions are being asked whether Vidal should be suspended for the rest of the tournament and whether the legal process should take precedence over the football competition. Neymar has been banned for a head-butt followed by an altercation in the tunnel after the whistle. Neymar will now miss the rest of the tournament but many are asking whether Vidal’s offence is much worse.
Even though Vidal’s actions were far more reckless, his driving offences do not come under the jurisdiction of the governing bodies in charge of the tournament. Vidal cannot be banned from the tournament for what is technically a driving offence and also a trial must be conducted in order to ascertain whether he is guilty.
Vidal was very lucky that the tournament and the incident both occurred in his home nation of Chile, as a foreign competitive nation may have been much more harsh in their punishment and response. Vidal is one of the key players in this tournament and he is sure to make a huge impact in the knockout stages.