After widespread condemnation and the announcement of disciplinary proceedings from UEFA, Chelsea’s Michael Essien has now reportedly made an apology to Reds midfielder Dietmar Hamann.
A Chelsea official revealed that Essien had been in touch by phone with Didi, claiming he’d not intended to hurt him. The spokesman said: “Michael has spoken to Dietmar by telephone. He apologised to Dietmar, assured him the tackle was accidental and that there was no malicious intent.”
The apology from Essien came three days after his tackle, which his boss Jose Mourinho had said he’d not been able to see. The UEFA action against him was to charge him with “gross unsporting conduct” and he has a hearing on 15th December where they will decide on any punishment. Until this statement from the spokesman there had been no word at all on the incident from the Chelsea camp or the 23-year-old.
Didi was lucky to escape with only severe bruising, but he’s still unable to appear for Liverpool against Middlesbrough today. For Hamann the tackle had been bad enough but what was worse was the complete lack of any apology from Chelsea or the player. Speaking after the game, Didi said: “Nobody from Chelsea has said anything to me and Essien hasn’t apologised or anything like that.”
Essien got away with a similar tackle earlier in the season when Chelsea played Bolton in the Premiership. His foul on Tal Ben Haim had been punished with a yellow card by referee Rob Styles, who later wanted to change it to red after seeing the video footage. FIFA stepped in to that however by stating that as the referee had already seen the incident he couldn’t later change his mind and increase the punishment.
On Tuesday the referee and his officials all missed what happened, which surprised Hamann but at least meant UEFA could step in with disciplinary proceeding. Hamann said: “The referee blew the whistle for something else just a second beforehand but with four officials around the pitch these days, did nobody see what happened? I thought they were trying to stop things like that happening in the game.”
For Didi of course it now makes no difference what happens to Essien – Liverpool can’t face Chelsea again in the Champions League until much later in the competition, by which time any ban is likely to have been served. Prior to getting the apology he said: “It’s finished as far as I’m concerned. It’s not for me to say whether it was a booking or a red card, for me it’s finished.” The apology may have seemed a little hollow to Didi anyway, seeing as it was only made after disciplinary action.