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What the rule book says about the Shawcross tackle

By Walter Broeckx

Much has been made of Shawcross being a nice man and therefore not to blame.   And behind this has comes the argument that all the fuss is about nothing because what Shawcross did was a legitimate tackle.

So let us clear this up for once and for all. At least until the next Arsenal player gets kicked to pieces.

To show this is not about my personal opinion I will start with some extracts from the law book and the guidelines that Fifa gives to referees all over the world and so this also is valid for English refs.

From the Fifa rule book and guideline to referees :

Charging an opponent

The act of charging is a challenge for space using physical contact within playing distance of the ball without using arms or elbows.

It is an offence to charge an opponent:

• in a careless manner

• in a reckless manner

• using excessive force

“Using excessive force” means that the player has far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent.

• A player who uses excessive force must be sent off.

So let’s take the tackle from Shawcross. He has far exceeded the necessary use of force and has not only brought an opponent in danger, no he actually has injured him. He should have been given a red card and so the ref did the only thing he can do in those circumstances : give him a red card.

However hard you may try to give another explanation to the rules, there is no other explanation possible. He used too much force and injured an opponent by using this force.

Using excessive force is ALWAYS a foul. It can NEVER be legitimate. And if you still think otherwise than I really hope that you are not a ref and have to see for the health of players during a game.

So did ref Walton act correctly AFTER the tackle ? Yes he did. Could he have prevented it ? Yes he could.

If you came to this article only came to read on how the rules are, you can stop right now.  But if you want to know how I take on refereeing and try to implement the instructions handed over by Fifa to all the refs in the world you can read on and see in the next game you visit if the ref is considering what I think is the right way to do it.

The main task as a ref is looking after the fact that both teams play within the rules.

You mostly just do this by punishing the fouls you see. Blowing on your whistle when you see a foul happening is just a way of letting someone know that what you are doing there is dangerous or against the law and you will be punished with a free kick and/or a card.

If you do this than you are already on your way to being a good referee. But that is not enough.

One of the most important things of being a ref for me, and this is also the case for every ref, is the fact that you have to feel responsible, not only for the game itself, but also and most important for the safety of everyone involved in the game. This is something that doesn’t attract much attention but it is one of the most important tasks you have as a ref. You have to try to start a game with 22 fit and healthy players and at the end of the game when you still are with 22 fit and healthy players you have done a great job.

Now this is a bit more difficult. Because you have to take notice of something that can be hidden at first sight. It has a lot to do with feeling that “there is something going on”.    And sometimes in the games that I referee this can be a very difficult thing to do.

Last year I came to a game and from the first minute I felt that every little foul or even a small push got a heavy reaction from both teams. If you feel this than you have to change your game as a ref and I started punishing every little foul and was running like a madman to be within meters distance where fouls were committed so I could be right in the middle if things should run out of hand.

At half time I asked the one of the officers of the home team what was the matter with this game and he told me that the same fixture last year has been ended with a player being kicked in hospital and as massive fight on the field and even a massive fight in the canteen after the game. Even the police had to come over to arrest some people.

So at that stage I knew what I had already felt that there was something going on. So I had already given a lot of yellow cards and in the second half some players went off with two yellow cards but everything ended in a normal way, no injuries,  no fighting on the field or in the canteen.

But when you are a ref in the EPL or in other top leagues you have the luxury that you can be able to know that something could be going on. When a manager or a player openly says in the press that they will kick the others than you know what you can expect and then you have to take this in mind and when you see that they do what they have said you have to stop them at once.

You let those players know that you are there to protect (according the Fifa rules and guidelines) and let them know that they will have to play according to the rules or otherwise you will sent them off the field.

If a team comes out in the open and says that they will kick their opponents you can even call over the captains (always both together) before the game and tell them you will not allow that. And if they do…just punish it like you should.

But even if Walton had no knowledge of this, (it could be that on no-match days he lives on another planet), even then he had to see that it was coming. He let go some tackles before that could have endangered other players but didn’t because of the Arsenal players being able to jump out of the way.

Let me just say that if you throw yourself with two feet at an opponent it is always a foul and even if the opponent escapes by jumping high and doesn’t get touched, it still is a foul.

And I feel that because he let go some earlier possible dangerous challenges (always to be punished by a free kick and a yellow card according the rule book) that after a moment the players feel that they can do whatever they want. And this caused the challenge from Shawcross and where I feel the ref is responsible.

I must say that in my whole career as a ref, I never had such an incident on my playing field. I’d better touch wood now!  Yes I had injury’s on my field. Players that have twisted their knees, two players clashing heads in a fair duel and blood pouring out. Those things yes, but never had such tackles on my field because from the moment I see a potential dangerous tackle I stop play even when the player isn’t touched. And when players ask me why I stopped the game,  for the last 2 years I have said (in Dutch of course): “No Eduardo on my field” and they all know what I mean and know I will not tolerate those tackles.

And if you now should start thinking : “Walter is the best referee in the world” I can only say: I am not. I can make mistakes, but I will not let dangerous tackles go. I just try to be correct in every game. Maybe it helps me a lot that every time when I put on my socks I have to look at my right leg which has a scar from my ankle that goes up almost to my knee and before every game I look at it and think to myself: “Not on my field”.

Maybe they should only allow refs on the field that have suffered those kind of injuries themselves so that we can ban the dreadful tackles we have seen too much and some even unpunished. Maybe I do my own little crusade as a ref but as long as I don’t have such incidents on my field, I really think I am doing it the right way as Fifa has meant it to be.

—————————————————

The Insanity Files

At a press conference today Fab Cap, manager of Inkyland, announced that he has told his players that they must make sacrifices off the pitch and not get into any trouble.

He said that the wealth lavished on young players is the root of the problems which have flared up recently.

“You do not go off with a fellow’s wife.  You do not cheat on your own wife.  You do not speed in your car.  You do not take money for showing people around the training ground.  You do not take photos of yourself naked and send them to nice young ladies.”

“What about fiddling your tax return, being found guilty by the Financial Police, and having another case pending?” asked Untold Arsenal, before we were led out of the press conference.

—————————————————

THE SHAWCROSS DIARIES…

Why Shawcross can’t say, “I didn’t mean it” The legal implications of Shawcross’ violent assault

It is time for a thorough investigation of all that is wrong with football

Tony Attwood immediately after the end of the Stoke game

Was the assault on Ramsey linked to money

Why Stoke type thuggery is not allowed in Spain and Italy

Stoke and Arsenal: the referee’s views

————————————————–

ARSENAL IN THE PAST…

The days when football journalists could write, entertain and make us laugh (a true newspaper report about Arsenal in the 1930s)

“Making the Arsenal” – the novel.  The most extraordinary book about Arsenal ever.  And that’s unofficial.  Available from Amazon.co.uk and from the publishers direct.

Charlie Buchan’s first appearance for Arsenal.

Why Arsenal moved to Highbury (and not somewhere else)

——————————

The sound of a billion fans saying “Oh bugger” as football destroys itself is copyright © Untold Arsenal 2010.

31 comments to What the rule book says about the Shawcross tackle

  • Abhishek

    So many good articles that I have stopped commenting but I have become even more sick of the foul. Yet again great article Walter and The Law too.

    So Tony I am still waiting for some action which shows that everything is not right. If we have ine blog praising Wenger we have 10 blogs to negate it. So blogging can be a long term solution we need something radical now like flooding the e-mail box of FA. But you have to tell whats the best way because we can do only few things from thousands of mile.

  • Finsbury

    Courtesy of FootballVanity from ACLF:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o67ftN-B6r8

  • Tee Song

    I must say I’m still depressed over Aaron’s injury but I’m shocked and angered at the level to which the press has turned the situation upside down. I have even read opinions which actually blame Ramsey for not “pulling out” and that he should have known his welfare was in danger. If Aaron Ramsey should have realized that he was in grave personal danger doesn’t that by definition establish Shawcross’ intent or at least his recklessness?

    Moving forward, what are Arsene Wenger, the players, and the club to do about the strategic targeting of Arsenal players? It is clear the, most of the press are willfully ignoring the facts and common sense has been sacrificed upon the altar of good old-fashioned British grit and steel. The silence from the FA is deafening and clearly they intend to ignore the fact that Arsenal have had three players suffer career threatening injuries, a HUGELY disproportionate ratio (incidentally, being a biased Arsenal fan, I can only think of Arsenal players that have suffered these types of injuries since Diaby’s. Someone should research that. I would be surprised if the entire rest of the league have suffered three such injuries in the same time span). With the explicit approval of the mainstream press, implicit approval of the FA and by extension, it’s referees, opposing managers will be encouraged to continue the strategy of direct physical intimidation against Arsenal.

    I can think of only two options. The first is the unpalatable sacrifice of self restraint and simply kicking back. As superficially satisfying as that policy would be, my initial thoughts are that it would backfire. EPL refs are big part of the problem. Their unequal application of the rules of the game are what allow technically inferior teams to kick us off the pitch. If our players respond in kind, they would simply accumulate the yellow and red cards that the opposing players should be assessed, but are not. Perversely, I fear our technical superiority would be used against us, pundits writing that Arsenal shouldn’t have to resort to such tactics. It would also validate these type of tactics, fans crowing that overly aggressive play is part and parcel of the English game, even Arsenal resort to it. If and only if refs allow us the same benefit of the doubt that they afford opposing players, I would not mind sacrificing the moral high ground if it would mean our players are allowed to protect themselves. Sadly, I don’t think that would happen.

    The second option is legal action. I think this is the only reasonable recourse. Since the FA refuses to step in, the club needs to step forward and protect its players. As others have outlined, video evidence, statements from opposing players and managers are a damning indictment and can certainly connect the various dots to argue that a definite strategy of physical intimidation, implicitly approved by the FA, played a direct role in all of these injuries. Even if the club lost the case, I would hope that at least the FA would be forced to act in some proactive manner to address this issue.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Walter

    I’d really like for you to discuss, on air, with someone like Andy Townsend, a former professional international, now media pundit, about this.

    His opinion is that there is a fine, fine line between a hard but fair challenge and one which, in outcome but not intent, broke a leg. We all know what the laws say. What is at issue here is how easy it is to remain successful if backing off the limit to too great a degree. You’ll note I’m not saying I condone crossing that at all. I’m saying that the reality of competition says that the line is closer than you might think……and the number of times that players cross that line to tragic effect is, in reality, pretty small…….

    He is also of the opinion that there should be a panel to look at dangerous and potentially dangerous tackles. BUT that that panel should primarily be composed of ex-pros who can tell the difference between mistiming something and wilful endangerment, if excess punishments beyond 3 games are to be imposed. He is of the opinion that many referees struggle to distinguish between the two…

    I am again not saying where my position stands on this. As I am not an ex-pro nor am I a referee…….

    But I think you must think carefully about your stance, which is, as I read it: skill has a much higher premium than aggression to the extent that young skilful players must take precedence rather than mature, slightly less skilful players, AT THE HIGHEST PINNACLES OF THE GAME. And FURTHERMORE, you do not consider a pragmatic managerial strategy to possess in your TOP, TOP TEAM (i.e. Arsenal), two or three suitably strong players to stand up to bullying, should it happen and which does not appear to happen to Man Utd and Chelsea, according to your arguments, who DO possess such players. You will no doubt not need pointing out to that the three EPL winning Arsenal sides possessed just such figures (Adams, Keown, Campbell, Lauren, Wieira etc etc)……..and many Arsenal fans said for 3 years now that the current side is lacking such figures and as a result is being bullied………

    Once again, for clarity, I wish to state that I am putting arguments which need to be addressed satisfactorily by a constituency embracing the entire EPL, without stating that I hold any particular position at all.

    I’d also appreciate statistics which show whether the EPL is an intrinsically more dangerous place to play football than other leagues……again, I’m asking for enlightenment, not trying to make any point at all……

  • Sharky

    Here’s and idea:

    I think the fair play league table could be used as a real deterent. The league table will have a points tally threshold and any team going over that threshold will have premier league points deducted incrementally the further they go beyond what is considered reasonable fair play. There has to be a way of getting bully boy tactics out of the game. I’m sure any club’s BOD wouldn’t want to see points deducted when their club is fighting for relegation points. It seems to be those clubs in that part of the table that resort to those tactics.

  • Tee Song

    Maybe I’m thinking outside the box here but if the line at which players are playing is so close to fair and disastrous, maybe the line itself should be moved. If a highly paid, finely tuned, skillful, professional athlete can’t be counted on to play to the limit of that line without EASILY crossing over it and causing horrific injury, move the line. My opinion is that the line is fine, if the rules are properly applied. Players are allowed to cross way over that line without suffering consequences and when a horrific injury occurs, the clearly reckless challenge which caused it is dismissed simply because there are numerous previous examples. I’m not against shoulder barges or well executed tackles. I am against tackles where the foot is inches off the ground, launching yourself full speed and as hard as you can off the ground at a ball, and a general reckless disregard for your fellow athletes.

  • Tee Song

    I am also against defending a player who has broken two legs in the span of three years as “not that kind of player”. My f***ing gawd, how many legs do you have to break to be labeled as “that kind of player”? I don’t know him, so I don’t know if he’s intentionally malicious. But he does play with a reckless abandon which clearly makes him dangerous.

  • Tee Song – I love your question. How many legs do you have to break. I think we should draw up a league table for players over a five year period…

    Number of legs broken 0 – Classification “Not that kind of player”
    Number of legs broken 1 – Classification “Maybe that kind of player”
    Number of legs broken 2 – Classification “Certainly that kind of player”
    Number of legs broken 3 – Classification “This man should be arrested”
    Number of legs broken 4 – Classification “Get our your hunting rifles”

  • Oh and the glitch that kept mucking about with the avatars (the pics next to your name when you post) is now finally fixed. If you have your own pic already loaded onto the gravatar program we should be able to pick them up.

  • Paul C.

    Rhys and others – there is a huge difference between hard, physical play and dangerous play. Chelsea are generally hard and physical and how many legs of opponents have they broken? Last weekend Ballack crossed the line, became dangerous and was sent off. Keane and Vieira were as hard as they come. Did they ever break legs? Keane almost broke Haalands leg and admitted he intentionally tried to do it. But those guys knew how to tackle. There is a big difference between dangerous play and physical play.

    I used to referee Rugby and so agree with everything that Walter is saying. In a Rugby match there is obviously a physical battle going on the entire time and it is the ref’s job to ensure that no one crosses the line into dangerous play. The moment that line is crossed the ref must take action immediately or else retaliation and upping the ante is next. The more I refereed the easier it was to spot the difference between physical play and dangerous play. As Walter says, it gets to the point as a ref where you can just “feel” dangerous play, almost by the way that players are carrying themselves and looking at opponents. You can just sense things have crossed the line.

    The big thing about the Shawcross tackle is that is wasnt a 50-50 challenge (Ramsey had possession) and nor was Shawcross trying to “win possession” (had he made contact with the ball it would have ended up flying out of the stadium such was the force that Shawcross put into his slide). So if it wasnt a 50-50 tackle, and Shawcross wasnt trying to “win possession” then what was he trying to do? Well, he was trying to stop the man. Plain and simple. There is no other possibility. Can anyone else come up with ANY explanation why Shawcross slid in as he did if not than to stop the man??????

    It was dangerous and Shawcross should be heavily disciplined by the League. Two broken legs by the age of 22 is not a good record. Has anyone in football history broken 3 legs? Do we want Shawcross to be the first?

  • Finsbury

    Paul.C.

    It’s a no-brainer.
    Intent is irrelevant.

    The above link is comprehensive. “It’s not a tackle.”
    Technically, the pundit is correct. There’s no room for subjective manoeuvring.

    It simply is not a Tackle.

    In a martial arts tournament it would be appropriate to kick someone like that. Full contact, with a follow through. But then, I’d expect some skinny short person in a silk suit to be aware that their lumbering ungainly opponent isn’t pretending to play Football, and deal with them appropriately.
    Normally, in a full contact sport, contestants either do not go in with full contact, or wear padding, because to use such force would be lethal. To even block such a kick would require lethal force, would that be acceptable?

    Football is not a martial art.

    Never has been.

    Some people seem to think that it is.

  • Paul C.

    Finsbury – just saw your post. Yep, I agree with everything he said. That should be shown to every member of the media trying to absolve Shawcross of blame.

    I ask again, has any other player in Football history broken 2 legs?

  • Tee Song

    Actually by current standards, Tony, it’s…

    Number of legs broken 0 – not that kind of player, unless you’re William Gallas please go to 4
    Number of legs broken 1 – not that kind of player
    Number of legs broken 2 – not that kind of player, but you are an England international
    Number of legs broken 3 – maybe that kind of player, unless you’ve broken an Arsenal players leg, go to 1
    Number of legs broken 4 – that kind of player
    Number of legs broken 5 – you’re definitely that kind of player, expect a call from Sam Allardyce

  • Paul C.

    Tee Song – or, to continue your thought:

    Number of legs broken 0 – not that kind of player. If you are an Arsenal player you will be suspected of being “that kind of player”.
    Number of legs broken 1 – not that kind of player, unless you’re an Arsenal player please go to 5+
    Number of legs broken 2 – not that kind of player, but you are an England international. If you are an Arsenal player expect a public lynching.
    Number of legs broken 3 – maybe that kind of player, unless you’ve broken an Arsenal players leg, go to 1. If you are an Arsenal player expect a public lynching.
    Number of legs broken 4 – that kind of player, unless you’ve broken an Arsenal players leg, go to 1. If you are an Arsenal player expect a public lynching.
    Number of legs broken 5+ – you’re definitely that kind of player, expect a call from Sam Allardyce, unless you’ve broken an Arsenal players leg, go to 1. If you are an Arsenal player expect a public lynching.

  • Flint McCullough

    The incident was actually in the context of the match as it had been played. The game was a contrast of styles but had mainly been played in a fair manner & good spirit. AW said so himself.

    I think it was an individual matter.

    Having watched it again & again plus seeing it at a different angle at the game, it just was not a tackle. Shawcross lost possession & just kicked over the ball or “scythed” as the pundit states.

    I would love to know what a psychiatrist thinks of his actions because I think it was either just poor technique combined with a dreadful lack of awareness or it was indeed done with a maliciousness/recklessness that he immediately regretted, thus the dis-trout look. If it is the former, what does it say about our standards, as he has just been selected for England?

    Has anyone seen Ridgwell clear out the Wigan player & lino with a 2 footed sliding lunge? The clearest of clear red cards- not even a yellow given & it cannot be taken further because the ref says he dealt with it at the time. We play them in a few weeks.

  • Flint McCullough

    sorry should be “not in the context”

  • Mark

    Forget intent, as Bobby McMahon says.
    The road to hell is paved with good intentions, never mind the bad ones.

    It was a foul and heinous challenge.
    The BBC in their typically self-serving way ‘proved’ to the nation that it wasn’t malicious, because he didn’t go in with the studs…..but then again 2 years ago they proved that Taylor wasn’t malicious, because he went in with the studs, but he was ‘clumsy.’

    Pay anyone a million a year, plus the chance to advertise on National TV, and they will endorse whatever product you ask them to, whether its Walkers’ Crisps, Morrisons’ Food, or The EPL.

    Malice is irrelevant, a complete red herring, a sideshow.

    It was an awful challenge, by a man who had lost possession of the ball, where his foot made contact a foot above the ground, and therefore he was never intending to play the ball.

    Whether it was premeditated or heat of the moment, who cares?
    Are we interested in Shawcross’s evil mind?

    I am not, any more than I care to know whether the Yorkshire Ripper was mad or bad…..irrelevant to me.

  • SB

    NICE GUY SHAWCROSS BEING NICE
    Broke Jeffers leg (former Arsenal player, now that is a coincidence). Shawcross – Jeffers article

    http://content.thisis.co.uk/sentinel07/homepage/ad_panel/sentinel_backpage.pdf

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1083214/Arsenal-striker-Adebayor-ruled-weeks-Stoke-clash.html – come on now, shawcross has injured 2 of our players. now i guess thats luck and a coincidence.

    http://v4admin.sportnetwork.net/upload/626/EMP-7340127.jpg – giving us a penalty and tripping. NOT A BAD FOUL but at least he gave us a penalty…some consolation..but still

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1083029/Cowards-Angry-Wenger-accuses-hard-men-Stoke-setting-hurt-Arsenal-players.html – stoke injured 3 of our players in one match then broke a leg in the other. Bad luck and more coincidences for Arsenal.

    VIDEOS – don’t worry they are not the Aaron Ramsey tackle and are not horrific at all.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOu_b8ZvgrU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JImCLHKXTOs&feature=related

    Do something. This tactic of roughing up Arsenal is obviously very dangerous. Above are examples from just one team…Time to do something about this.

    http://img.thesun.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00637/stoke_8_-_Ryan_Shaw_637143a.jpg – even injuring his own players by poking them in the eye.

    Another player injured by Stoke – http://www.onestokefan.co.uk/2009/12/06/arsenal-2-0-stoke-city-stoke-players-attempts-to-injure-arsenals-fail/

    http://cdn.bleacherreport.com/images_root/galleries/182/182625/display_image_GYI0058556602.jpg – dont know what he did. i could look it up but ive been researchin this already too long and have other stuff to do lol. someone can look it up if they want, sure it would be interesting…
    p.p.s

    http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/09PC1Ox14kaRz/429x.jpg NICE ONE!

  • walter

    Rhys, some intresting points you make.

    On the proposal of putting ex-pro’s in a pannel that should look after tackles is a bit odd. They seem to think that let us say (ex)-referees are not good enough to see the difference. I would say that if those ex-profs think they can teel the difference they should have become a ref after their career. But helas, you don’t see many ex-profs taking on that task… why ? Well I don’t know. Maybe they realize better than anyone else the difficulty ?
    I must say that I have known one ex-pro that has stopped his career and became a ref and a rather good one. It was Dick Jol a now former Dutch Fifa ref. As had played with my local team I knew his football style and I have followed his career and he was very good as a ref I must say.

  • LRV

    Kudos Walter. I wish I knew how to make these mediocre iZombies learn about FIFA Rules and 21st century football .

  • walter

    Have cut it a bit in to pieces Rhys to make it easier to read for others.
    I must say I have not official statistics on how many incidents happen in other leagues. So I have to tell you what I remember from the last years. So I only take the premier leagues
    In Belgium : 3 incidents happened in the last couple of seasons: all the victims – players from different teams.
    In France : also 2 incidents: with players form different teams
    In Spain : 1 incident
    In Italy: no incidents that I know
    In Holland : no incidents that I know
    In Germany: no incidents that I know
    In England: 3 incidents that I know : all players from the same team as victim.

    Now it could be that I have missed on some case but as we are a family with 3 refs at home we are very attentiv to such incidents as we discuss about them during meals.

    When you look at these numbers then even a blind man can see that there is something wrong about the fact that all the casualty’s in England are from the same team.

    In fact it would be very intresting to do research on this as it can bring evidence that it as a regular used tactic to destroy Arsenal on the field.

  • walter

    LRV, if you hear the amount of crap spouted by ex-pro’s like on MOTD at times I really wonder at times if I am a ref in the same game. Let alone the idiocy you hear from the touchlines. 🙂 Really… unbelievable at times. I can tell you we have a lot of meals laughing with some of those idiots who think they know something about the rules… I brings colour in our lives.

  • walter

    should be “It” brings colour in our lives.

  • walter

    And Rhys I think it would be a bit difficult for me to have a debate with someone like Andy Townsend. As English is not my mother language, I can talk it reasanably but than I am relaxed but when you have to do this in a more stressful surrouding I don’t know if I could do myself justice.

  • Hartwick89

    Tony & Walter,

    These past few days have been quite excellent! This is exactly the focus I needed after such a Horrid week-end. FOCUS!

  • tim

    Walter — After this article and last week’s concerning the refereeing fiasco in Porto, it’s clear referees need to review the rule book more often.

    I think it all boils down to what Wenger said about Martin Hansson being either “incompetent or dishonest, I prefer to think ­incompetent.”

    There’s no excuse for incompetence at this level. So that only means one option…

  • walter

    Tim,
    I read the whole rule book every summer and even I must admit that every year I find something that I think : oops, I almost forgot that.
    You have to continue this I feel because otherwise you will lose it after a few years.

    Now I really would like to know from any pundit:
    a) Has he ever read the rules and guidelines?
    b) When was the last time he read them?
    c) Did he ever have done a test on the rules and guidelines like refs have to do ?

    I think this would give some interesting answers …mostly around 0 to 1 …

    And then they come on the TV and pretend to know all and everything… sigh

  • tim

    Walter — That’s exactly right.

    At AW’s next press conference, the media will inevitably ask him about Shawcross again. Therefore, I’d like to see AW bring out a copy of the FIFA rule book to cite the rules above that you have so clearly mentioned. Now that would be brilliant.

  • Ian T

    Walter you make many good points.
    The Stoke game was not dirty in general but it simmered, I remember the Sky commentator, a while before the incident had happened, commending the Ref for “allowing IT to go here and its a better game for it”, whilst himself realising that action would normally be taken. Mr Walton, for Me, appeared to show very little authority during the match and so as Stoke tired somewhat, after their midweek exertions in the FA cup, Arsenal’s possession became more and more dominant in the game, Shawcross (and I am in no way condoning him), became frustrated by this and produced a reckless challenge, a challenge with complete disregard for its consequences both to his opponent and from the referee, who had been “allowing it to go”.
    The sad thing is, what we are suggesting here is that the incident could and should have been avoided and the referee had a major part to play in that.
    Before denouncing Mr Walton here I would like to bring to your attention the previous two encounters between the teams at the Britannia stadium, which have also seen Mr Shawcross escape similar reckless challenges (Adeybayor last season and Cesc in the FA cup) without the required punishment being administered by different officials, both times no yellow card.
    To sum up, it seems to Me that this was an accident waiting to happen and if we allow this horrendous incident to go without remonstration, then we are as guilty as Mr Walton.

  • goonergerry

    I think this an excellent article. It is important to be reminded that our football exists in a wider context-that the rules of the game are not made up by the media in England and that English football is not a law unto itself. The tackle on Ramsey has only been condemned by a minority of jounalists who see it as an opportunity to address one of the EPLs biggest blind spots. The remainder and the vast majority of former players identify with Shawcross and see him as the wronged party. They are also appallingly indifferent to the plight of Ramsey. This reaction is born out of defensiveness, ignorance and a deeply imbued win at any cost mentality. Pro players in England do not know where the boundary is between commitment and dangerous play in England that is clear. They are to a man apologist for alehouse football-England would better off with fewer of them.

  • Tee Song

    I sense that many Arsenal fans are frustrated at the outpouring of sympathy for a serial leg breaker and the willful ignorance of the FACT that Arsenal players have suffered an extraordinarily disproportionate number broken legs as a result of dangerous challenges. Clearly the British press and the FA want to justify our players’ injuries as the unlucky and unforeseen byproduct of good old fashioned grit and steel. It is up to Wenger, the club, and the players themselves to protect themselves. My question is how do they best do this? Become leg breakers ourselves? Media campaign? Imploring the FA? I don’t know but it seems action is warranted.