Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Memo to players: Flying tackles = red cards

It's good to see that referees are clamping down on the lunging, two-footed tackle. It's taking top-level players an awfully long time to realise that as soon as they start flying into challenges, they're likely to be taking an early bath.

The FA decided a few years ago that this sort of challenge was completely unacceptable. Basically, as soon as both feet leave the ground, he has no control over them. Consider they're attached to a pair of boots with long metal studs and that the 75kilo player is flying in at high speed, then it's clear that the risk of serious injury is high.
A referee's positioning - and his fitness - is crucial to spot this type of challenge. Behind or on front of the guilty player, and you're likely to have a poor view as he flies in. But at a 90 degree angle, with the clash between you and your assistant, and you should have a perfect view of the foul.
Don't forget, there doesn't even need to be any contact for a red card to be awarded. for this type of challenge. The fact that a player is able to jump out of the way does not remove the dangerous element from the challenge, it's simply a tribute to his self-preservation.
Adebayor's and Hangeland's challenges over the weekend were very similar. Two players not usually known as dirty players caught making wild fouls in situations that were not particularly dangerous.
I have no explanation for it. They didn't need to carry out these dangerous challenges. I don't get the impression either player was simply trying to take his opponent out of the game, but that's easily what could have happened.
Managers up and down the country should be thanking the referees at the weekend for the clear message sent that two-footed fouls like this will not be tolerated.

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