Well this international break has certainly brought about a very crucial debate to life i.e. the issue of ‘reckless’ tackling. Otherwise it is, as always, dull.
This issue has always been neglected by the media and pundits; rather it has been joked about as this issue was always raised by Arsenal and Wenger. Always giving the same excuse that this is a contact sport and a man’s game and you have to show commitment, where the fun would be if there is no tackling, Wenger is going to ruin the beauty of English football, Wenger is whinging and bla bla.
Never did the pundits/media realise in their know-it-all attitude that they were overlooking the specific mention of the words ‘reckless’ and ‘rash’ in tackling. I have never once seen or heard that Wenger has said that tackling should be banned or removed from the sport. The pundits have always drawn out wrong conclusions and delivered it to the masses making them believe Wenger wants tackling out of football. They have always found a way to stop this issue from being solved.
Well this issue has again resurfaced after the injury to Ben Arfa at the weekend. The offender this time was Nigel de Jong, who is known for his, in the words of the media, ‘committed’ football. And again we have heard the same that there was no malice and its part and parcel of the game.
For Ben Arfa it’s a long journey to recover and I wish him well for a speedy and quick recovery. For De Jong it has been nothing as of yet as he wasn’t even given a yellow. He has the same thing to say as all before him have said after committing such unnecessary tackles.
It was only a matter of time because this season already a couple of players are out with their legs broken. And I am surprised that the FA has not said a word on this yet. The Dutch coach has already dropped him from their squad, which is saying something, as they themselves employed unnecessary rough play to overcome the Spanish in the final of world cup but failed.
New castle has also done the right thing in reporting it to the FA, but if I am not wrong, nothing will be done about it.
The good thing is that some of the people are realising that unnecessary and rash tactics are not part the football. Danny Murphy has come up and said this:
“The pace some of the players are going into tackles is ridiculous. There are no brains in the players doing that. I don’t believe they are going out to break the legs of their opponents but there’s no logic or intelligence in what they are doing. 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. But the thing I think people miss, is that it’s the managers who dictate what the players do and how they behave. If you have a manager in control of his team, who doesn’t allow these things to go on you have a more disciplined team.” more.
I totally agree with Murphy on that there is no logic and intelligence in what the players are doing. His comments can also come back to bite his own manager though. Still it’s someone not related to Arsenal who has highlighted this issue. He has blamed the managers in this regard. I think that the media, pundits, FA, Refs, commentators and players performing such tackles are all to blame. How many times have we heard that when a bad tackle is made, the commentators cover it by saying that there was no malice and it’s fair to go for the ball and all that? They are right in saying that there is no malice but how can they overlook the use of unnecessary force. How can they say its right for the game, when players have their legs snapped? The thing is I am surprised at the naivety shown by a few in this regard. It is because of them the players are drawn to commit such tackles.
And in all this Shawcross had something to say too.
“As a player, the likes of Henry and De Jong I’m sure didn’t go out to injure another player on purpose. 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, sometimes you are going to mis-time tackles and that is when injuries can happen. It is just a case of half-seconds between you getting the ball or not, and sometimes if you don’t get the ball, you can cause serious injury, which has been shown at the weekend. But it is part of football and something that we have to accept.”
Now, Mr Shawcross, I think if you were bit smarter you would have realized that no one has said that the players on purpose injure others. It’s just about the unnecessary and excessive force with which the tackles are made. You are saying it yourself that tackles can be mistimed, so why go into tackle with extreme force which might lead to a serious injury if you get it wrong. If tackles are made the correct way then even if you mistimed it the injury that will occur will not be as serious as they are now. We accept the tackles as part and parcell of the game, but we do not accept the recklessness with which some of them are made.If, Mr Shawcross, you can accept that week in and week out people have their legs broken about due to reckless tackles, then it shows your mentality and we can do nothing about it.
The sad thing is people like you will always use brute force to cover up for lacking technical ability. You will never try to increase your skill. Even tackling requires skill, but you will always find excuses to your way of football. There is always a way to beat opponents other than using rough-em-up tactics as Blackpool and West Brom have shown this season. But you will never care to use it.
Bolton forward Kevin Davies has also come out and defended his style of play:
“I haven’t seen the comments but there is a lot going around at the minute and there has been a couple of bad injuries which is not nice to see. I can only say about my team and personally I have always been labelled with the aggressive side of it. I have picked up a few yellow cards which is fair enough but in terms of red cards there has been nothing for me in years.” more.
For him I would only say this that the foul on Ben Arfa went unpunished, not even a yellow was awarded. The point is the refs most of the times don’t get it right with the decisions and the first cards are usually shown after the player has done two to three bookable offenses. If by any way he was playing in Spain, he would have had more cards then the number of matches he would have played.
Michel d’Hooghe, who chairs FIFA’s medical committee, has also come out and said that ‘Brutal’ tackles must stop.
The point that I am trying to make is that it is high time now that FA should do something about it and it need to be stopped or it will again be forgotten till another serious injury occurs. They can bring in video replays to see the tackles again and punish the offender. Long term bans for repeated offenders. The refs need to be a bit more strict and they need to be told that reckless tackles are to be punished. ‘Reckless’ tackles has no place in todays football.
It’s not that FA can’t do anything about it. They can but I don’t know why they are remaining quiet on this. ‘Another Arsenal blog’ has really good post on this here.
We can only wait and see where this debate ends up and what the FA does. I hope it ends in the best interest of the players and football.
Have your say in the comments on what should be done about this, or should it continue as it is!