Friday 8 October 2010

From sense to the senseless: tackling

There isn't much exciting news out there at the moment, our second International break of the season thus far is boring most of us to tears. I know I do go on about it, but the issue of dangerous tackling is something that has been at the top of our agenda here for some time. A few rather interesting things have been said in the past few days:

"If you permit yourself to end the career of your colleague in the other shirt, why should I say that you should come back after 14 days?........I think you should sanction these things very severely, that means a long, long expulsion from the game."

Belgian Michel D'Hooghe, who is also chairman of FIFA's medical committee, said the above and some other rather interesting things. I could not agree more, there have been too many shocking tackles in the past few years and the punishments for reckless tackling have been way too lenient. The FA seem more concerned with small harmless globs of sputum, while breaking legs is never worth more than a three match ban, utterly ridiculous. The violent and stupid Ryan Shawcross has been putting his bloody foot in it again:

"It's part and parcel of football. They are tough-tackling central midfielders whose games are based on making tackles, winning the ball and then giving it to the ball-players. Sometimes injuries are caused....You have just got to accept in these times, with the ball moving so fast and the player moving so fast, you are going to mis-time tackles. That is when injuries can happen."

Shawcross is a moron. I have no problem with safe tackling, sometimes injuries will happen that are completely unavoidable and just unfortunate. Something that Shawcross fails to acknowledge is the fact that flying into tackles in an out of control and overly forceful manner is inevitably going to result in unnecessary broken bones, irrelevant of whether the ball is won or not, and this is simply not acceptable. We don't have to accept nasty career ending injuries because the likes of Shawcross are too selfish and vicious to bother exerting any kind of control over their limbs when tackling. Danny Murphy has bravely spoken out against thugs like Shawcross and clubs like Stoke:

"If you`re going in at a certain pace and don`t get it right you are going to hurt someone. Players need to be more intelligent, especially the ones who are doing it repeatedly. They are culpable in that. You get managers sending teams out to stop other sides from playing, which is happening more and more....Stoke, Blackburn and Wolves — you can say they`re doing what they can to win the game — but the fact is that the managers are sending the players out so pumped up that inevitably there are going to be problems."

It is worth reading what Danny Murphy has said properly, it is absolutely spot on. Some players do need to more intelligent, the violence that is routinely employed by certain players and clubs equates to an intent to harm in my book. Ironically in the past Murphy's own manager, Mark Hughes, has directly ordered his team to go out to aggressively kick better sides off the park.

The continued silence from the FA on this issue is stunningly deafening. The likes of Shawcross, Taylor and Henry should be facing months on the sidelines, not just a couple of weeks when they end another player's career. The Belgian FA banned Axel Witsel for nearly three months for a tackle that brutally broke an opposition player's leg, Tomas Ujfalusi was recently banned for two games for a relatively tame tackle that injured Lionel Messi; note that both these incidents were seen and punished at the time by the referee.

The FA claim that they can do nothing retrospectively when the referee has already seen the incident. This is a complete and utter lie. The FA can easily make the subjective judgement about any incident that the referee has made a 'serious or obvious' error, and then hand down a harsh ban for a bad tackle retrospectively, there is also the Ben Thatcher precedent. There is no rule or law to stop them doing this, the only thing stopping them is their own complete lack of guts which prevents them from confronting this cancer in our game.


Anonymous said...

The sweet FA is the core culprit to all these thuggery,that is why they hide and keep quiet. There should be a protest on England,should the current sweet FA still does nothing to purge thuggery,and its credibility for hosting any world cup by fans from England is in serious doubt. Just imagine thuggery on the pitch in the world cup here go unpunished,a trade mark of the FA's policy. What a crying shame for sport and football.

1979gooner said...

Agree 100%.

Joppa Road said...

Good on Danny Murphy for taking this step and speaking out.

Unknown said...

Thought this would be of interest. I sent a message to the FA via their website expressing my concerns and citing the De Jong tackle in particular. This was the reply I got:
Thank you for contacting The Football Association regarding the incident involving Nigel De Jong and Hatem Ben Arfa during The Premier League match Manchester City v Newcastle United on 3rd October.

The referee has confirmed that he saw this incident and that he dealt with it at the time. Therefore no further action can be taken against De Jong.

FIFA rules prevent the "re-refereeing" of matches. FIFA are the world governing body of football and The FA is just one of 208 member associations, all bound to the same set of rules. This particular rule prevents The FA from taking disciplinary action on incidents which are seen and dealt with at the time by match officials (this includes the referee taking no action) except in the most exceptional circumstances. Therefore if the match officials confirm to The FA they have seen an incident, The FA cannot act retrospectively.

We hope that this clarifies our position. All feedback we receive from supporters is much appreciated - this feedback is collated and used to build a picture of the public opinion and is subsequently fed back internally within the organisation. Please rest assured your comments will form part of this process.

Thank you once again for taking the time to write.

Kind regards

Alex Burkwood | Customer Relations Officer
Customer Relations
The FA Group

Unknown said...

If a double leg-break isn't an exceptional circumstance then what the f**k is?!

Original message I sent via FA website:
I have been horrified by some of the tackling recently that is resulting in broken bones or lucky escapes from broken bones. I sincerely hope that Nigel de Jong will be retrospectively punished for breaking Ben Arfa's leg yesterday. The Karl Henry tackle on Saturday was shocking. Certain players just dont seem to have any care for their opponents. They think that they are protected because they are on a football pitch, and the worst that will happen is a 3-match ban - and at the moment they are right! Will it take a Wayne Rooney broken leg before you do something? I would like to refer you to an incident last year when Standard Liege midfielder Axel Witsel was retrospectively suspended for 10 Belgian league games after breaking the leg of Anderlecht defender Marcin Wasilewski: Why cant you do the same? It's the only way to stamp it out. Mis-timed tackles will always happen, and that's fine, but too often players will tackle with their feet off the ground (the eduardo and ramsey injuries were only so bad because the contact was above the ankle) or with a level of force that is WAYY above what is necessary. Yes I'm an Arsenal fan but I cringe everytime an opposition player goes into a 50-50 challenge with one of ours, expecting the worst. That just isn't right.

1979gooner said...


see my latest piece,

there is nothing that prevents the FA acting,

their own guidance encourages action on the reckless that causes injury