If the past few weeks are anything to go by, the definition of 'violent conduct' in the English dictionary needs updating.
With a host of unpunished tackles flying in that would be deemed dangerous on a rugby pitch and red-cards being given out for the slightest indiscretion, the Football Association's four-man Regulatory Commission seem intent on creating more problems than they solve.
Accused of running one rule for 'rich' and another for the 'poor', the panel have hardly helped their case with the decision to rescind Frank Lampard's straight red card for a push on West Ham's Luis Boa Morte, yet choosing to give Middlesbrough's Jeremie Aliadiere an extra game's ban for a light slap on Javier Mascherano a week earlier.
While the Chelsea midfielder did not strike his opponent in the face (as previously thought by the referee's assistant), his attempts to kick out at Boa Morte, who should have been similarly dealt with for his part in the proceedings, smacked of something we have seen all season - petulance - and the FA need to address the consistency in which they deal with such actions.
Lampard's behaviour, while not in the spirit of the game, was certainly not 'violent', or worthy of a three-match suspension; but then neither was Aliadiere's and both were clearly seen by the referee, who could only go by the letter of the law.
Middlesbrough accused the FA of a 'travesty of justice' after they were told that their appeal had been 'frivolous' and were forced to accept a additional one game ban for their player for supposedly wasting the FA's time. With this affront still fresh in their minds, it is understandable to see why they are angry when the situation seems so different for teams like Chelsea and Liverpool.
The fact that Mascherano was let off without even a yellow card while Aliadiere is forced to sit on the sidelines for four games may have incensed the Boro board; but news of Lampard's reprieve will only increase their sense of injustice.
The FA's decision to treat a similar incident differently is not just worrying for the state of the game, but an insult to the entire procedure and this kind of inconsistency has happened across the leagues all season.
On the same day as Newcastle's Joey Barton was let off for cuffing Villa striker Shaun Maloney round the head due to 'inconclusive' video evidence, Hartlepool defender Sam Collins' dismissal at Southend United in February was rejected as 'frivolous' and the player incurred an extra game suspension, despite being harshly adjudged to have used an elbow.
To punish a club for trying to aid their player appears odd and now the appeals process for any red-card has to be given serious consideration by clubs who run the risk of angering the FA and increasing the length of the ban.
To add to the level of inconsistency perpetuated by the FA's panel there have been terrible tackles, missed by the officials, which have gone unpunished all season and should have merited retrospective action.
While Lampard's 'violent conduct' against West Ham at the weekend got all the attention, Claude Makelele somehow managed to get away with a over-the-ball stamp on Julian Faubert, who was lucky to avoid serious injury. Makelele was not even booked and there have been numerous incidents which have not been deemed worthy of investigating.
Under FIFA guidelines, retrospective disciplinary action can only been taken if an incident was not seen by the referee or if there has been a clear error in judgement. Quite what constitutes a 'clear error' remains up for debate, but surely if the referee had seen it properly then he would have acted.
Understandably the FA do not want to be seen to contradict the men in charge, but these kinds of incidents will keep occurring if nothing is done. Referees are human after all and the whole point of the video panel is to provide back-up for an official when he makes a mistake.
The trouble is that the FA are so blinded by maintaining their good name that they are willing to gloss over incidents that make them (or their officials) look bad.
With a host of incidents occurring already this season which the FA have failed to take any action over, including tackles by Michael Essien, Craig Gardner, Dirk Kuyt, El Hadji Diouf and Emmanuel Eboue; the most recent example comes in the form of Reading's Stephen Hunt (himself no stranger to controversy).
A meeting of Lee Carsley's studs with Hunt's shin at the start of February provoked an angry reaction from the Reading man, and yet the powers that be deemed the tackle unworthy of a second look, despite that fact that it was totally missed by referee Mark Halsey.
Quite simply, the FA panel should be capable of resolving these incidents retrospectively with the application of common sense. In addition, they should also be able to reduce a three-match ban to just one-match for players who are found guilty of petulance or improper conduct, as in the case of Lampard and Aliadiere.
A rule, retrospective or otherwise, that would deal with the occurrence of a red-card which does not constitute 'violent conduct' is sorely needed. Other examples have sprung up recently, with Willam Gallas' petulant kick on Nani in Arsenal's FA Cup defeat to Manchester United a classic case, yet situations like this are continually ignored by the FA because they don't want to undermine their officials.
Ultimately, if the FA's review panel are ever going to gain credibility in a footballing world which is getting increasingly harder to police, the decisions they make have to be consistent. Too often there are precedents which are not followed and the smaller teams are left feeling that they are treated differently to the cash cows.
The theory is that with the application of some common sense then it shouldn't represent too much of an undertaking to improve their decisions. However if the FA continue to put their own image before the good of the game, then don't hold your breath.