We are well on the way for football to become a non-contact sport and in my opinion that makes for a less exciting, less attractive, less compulsive game for fans. Although I realise we have a generation of supporters who only know the modern game.
It seems that everyone in the game players, managers, pundits and media commentators and some fans are determined to speed up this move to a bland sterile stats ridden affair.
Players are rolling around when not touched, managers are jumping up and down the touchline at every tackle, TV pundits appear to see every physical contact as a foul and reason for a player to roll around while commentators seem to always say it “should have been a red card” or he was “lucky not to get a red card”. Some fans scream “off off” at referees every time a tackle is made against one of their own team.
It seems that every tackle or challenge is a yellow card. We even have defenders that put their hands in the air in virtual surrender allowing a striker to score a goal rather than make a tackle because he is frightened of being sent off?
For goodness sake will someone tell me when tackling was outlawed by the authorities?
No one wants to see dangerous tackles that look like a deliberate attempt to injure an opponent such as Sergio Aguero’s horrendous challenge last weekend.
Tackling is an art and a fundamental part of the game. A tough tackle can and does lift games that are flat.
No one wants to go back to yesteryear when knee high tackles happened in every single game. But surely there has to be a balance where tough no nonsense fair challenges that win the ball are part of the game?
There is no question or argument that any tackle that looks like a deliberate attempt to injure should be a straight red card end of story.
But let’s make it clear players can get injured in a fair tackle.
Referees now decide based in whether the tackle was reckless or dangerous. Reckless gets a yellow card while dangerous earns a red card. That is the yardstick by which the referee makes any decision not whether or not the tackle was made “two footed” or “studs up”.
It is impossible to make a tackle without your studs showing but it becomes dangerous when your leg is too high thereby endangering your opponent.
It used to be that if you won the ball then the tackle was deemed a good one however now I believe referees are instructed to penalise those tackles that they deem as overly aggressive even if they clearly and cleanly win the ball.
I do have some sympathy for referee’s who are only acting under orders. The powers that be are expecting them to be mind-readers and know exactly what is in a players mind when he makes a tackle.
No two tackles are, or have ever been, the same so how is it possible to have a law about tackling without allowing the referee to have some discretion.
Managers can play a major part in helping the situation by not screaming for opponents to be given a yellow or red card every time they make a challenge and also by not encouraging their own players to Fall to the ground screaming at the slighted contact or as we saw with Pogba no contact whatsoever.
The biggest problem with players is those that wait and actually look for some sort of contact in the penalty area so they can go down and win a penalty kick. It matters not that the contact is minimal in fact like the touch of a feather down they go rolling around holding whatever part of their anatomy they fancy, face, ankle, knee even though they have clearly not been touched there.
It is one of those unexplainable phenomenons that six foot strikers are like a WWF wrestler outside the box but turn into Bambi inside the penalty area.
Pundits and commentators should take note that there is no law of the game that says a player has the right to go down in the box if he feels contact. The law’s say the contact must be forceful enough to bring the player down.
It’s simple as far as I am concerned! Was a player brought down or did he choose to go down. If he was brought down then it’s a penalty if he choose to go down then it’s not in my opinion.
I class former Villa and Coventry striker Dion Dublin as a media friend and a really nice guy that I have a lot of time for. However I was left speechless at the weekend when he said “you can’t tackle like Woking’s Charlie Glover” who was sent off in an FA Cup tie for a rash challenge that won the ball and yet in the same TV programme said it was understandable that Fernandinho had Fabregas around the throat? I can’t wait to see him again and ask about that.
I am sure some will say it was justifiable for Fernandinho given that Fabregas had slapped his face but the point I am making is that retaliation is OK and understandable but a challenge that won the ball is condemned.
Most players I know would rather be kicked than cheated. The guilty are killing our great game by cheating to win and the silence from current players and managers suggest they are complicit and agree with the cheating to win philosophy.