Arturo Vidal – DUI Endangers Chile’s Title Hopes

Arturo Vidal – DUI Endangers Chile’s Title Hopes

Chile is hosting the Copa América for the first time since 1991. While such a tournament is often considered an event to showcase a nation, this year’s edition may very well go down as the Copa of scandals. The start of the games was accompanied by protests with students demanding much needed educational reform. Last night one of the tournament’s brightest stars the Brazilian Neymar received a red card after a scuffle with the Colombian player Carlos Bacca which could mean the end of the tournament for the Brazilian star. Yet the scandal with the biggest impact for the host nation’s hope to win the tournament came when the captain of the national team Arturo Vidal crashed his Ferrari while driving under the influence of alcohol. Since the accident Vidal has given a tearful press conference in which he issued the following statement: “The only thing left for me to do is to apologise and take advantage of this opportunity [to remain on the team] that I've been given and counts for something. I want to apologise to my wife, to my team-mates, to the technical staff to the whole country. I let everyone down.” Chile’s national team coach Jorge Sampaoli added: "He is a very valuable player for us. I don't think one should be excluded for making a mistake. It's much easier to exclude than to include … we all know what he can bring to this team. He wasn't able to control what happened on his afternoon off but that's an internal issue. He [Vidal] has always had good behaviour while with the national team." Chile, the host of this year’s Copa América, is considered one of the favourites to win this year, and Vidal is a major part of the team’s title ambitions. At the same time, however, the law in Chile state a zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. According to CNN Vidal could face a prison sentence of up to three years. Vidal will be facing a judge next Wednesday, and it will be interesting how this case will be handled while his national team attempts to win the tournament. Chile won their first match against Ecuador 2-0, and drew their second game against Mexico 3-3. Chile will be facing Bolivia on Friday in an attempt to win the group in order to avoid a possible big name opposition in the quarterfinal. It remains to be seen how serious the impact of Vidal’s accident will be on the atmosphere in the dressing room. But it is safe to say that he has done a major disservice to his teammates. Furthermore, any other player would have likely been suspended for the same action. As I said last night on Global Sport's Report on Arise TV segment, in a scenario such as this it may have been better to suspend the player no matter how important he is for the team. The current situation could unsettle the dressing room and create an environment where players could use the fact that Sampaoli let Vidal off the hook against the coach when settling future disciplinary issues. While Vidal is awaiting judgment next Wednesday, the Chilean coaching staff may have to ask themselves whether or not it will be beneficial for the team’s success to carry the dark cloud of Vidal’s scandal for the rest of the tournament, or if it may be better to suspend Vidal for the reminder of the Copa América. By Manuel Veth -

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Chile is hosting the Copa América for the first time since 1991. While such a tournament is often considered an event to showcase a nation, this year’s edition may very well go down as the Copa of scandals.

The start of the games was accompanied by protests with students demanding much needed educational reform. Last night one of the tournament’s brightest stars the Brazilian Neymar received a red card after a scuffle with the Colombian player Carlos Bacca which could mean the end of the tournament for the Brazilian star.

Yet the scandal with the biggest impact for the host nation’s hope to win the tournament came when the captain of the national team Arturo Vidal crashed his Ferrari while driving under the influence of alcohol.

Since the accident Vidal has given a tearful press conference in which he issued the following statement: “The only thing left for me to do is to apologise and take advantage of this opportunity [to remain on the team] that I’ve been given and counts for something. I want to apologise to my wife, to my team-mates, to the technical staff to the whole country. I let everyone down.”

Chile’s national team coach Jorge Sampaoli added: “He is a very valuable player for us. I don’t think one should be excluded for making a mistake. It’s much easier to exclude than to include … we all know what he can bring to this team. He wasn’t able to control what happened on his afternoon off but that’s an internal issue. He [Vidal] has always had good behaviour while with the national team.”

Chile, the host of this year’s Copa América, is considered one of the favourites to win this year, and Vidal is a major part of the team’s title ambitions. At the same time, however, the law in Chile state a zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. According to CNN Vidal could face a prison sentence of up to three years.

Vidal will be facing a judge next Wednesday, and it will be interesting how this case will be handled while his national team attempts to win the tournament. Chile won their first match against Ecuador 2-0, and drew their second game against Mexico 3-3. Chile will be facing Bolivia on Friday in an attempt to win the group in order to avoid a possible big name opposition in the quarterfinal.

It remains to be seen how serious the impact of Vidal’s accident will be on the atmosphere in the dressing room. But it is safe to say that he has done a major disservice to his teammates. Furthermore, any other player would have likely been suspended for the same action.

As I said last night on Global Sport’s Report on Arise TV segment, in a scenario such as this it may have been better to suspend the player no matter how important he is for the team. The current situation could unsettle the dressing room and create an environment where players could use the fact that Sampaoli let Vidal off the hook against the coach when settling future disciplinary issues.

While Vidal is awaiting judgment next Wednesday, the Chilean coaching staff may have to ask themselves whether or not it will be beneficial for the team’s success to carry the dark cloud of Vidal’s scandal for the rest of the tournament, or if it may be better to suspend Vidal for the reminder of the Copa América.

By Manuel Veth –

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