How much longer FA? How many more broken bones needed?

By Walter Broeckx, ashamed of being a ref

For many years we have seen horrible challenges on our players. We have seen the terrible image of Eduardo who’s foot was almost separated from his leg.

We have seen the “he is not that kind of guy-Shawcross” flying in like a madmen on Ramsey to chop his leg in two.

We have seen Diaby losing a year in his career thanks to a crazy challenge. We have seen the half succeeded attempt from Birmingham (again) to break Cesc’s leg.  And actually it did happen a few days delay.

I have been writing articles here for over a year and I have on many occasions written about the rules and pointed at dangerous tackles. Always with a very strong view on Arsenal, mostly because Arsenal players are suffering the most. But this time I think it is appropriate to write an article about a player from another team that has suffered once again from a dreadful tackle.

This time is was Ben Harfa who was on the receiving end of what according to the ref was not even a foul. As this is an example of not an Arsenal player you and I might be able to look at it without the feelings you have as a supporter when you see a player kicked to pieces.

And I will try to give a example on what went wrong and what I mean when I say that  tackles going in frontal on a player are dangerous and most of all why they are so dangerous.

Time and time again I written that it means nothing when you play the ball. This is just some excuse used by pundits and by managers to give some excuse to some players. When you are the offender you try to point at somewhere along the line that some contact was made with the ball. So I will try to use some pictures to explain what went wrong.

And just look at the first image when nothing is wrong. Ben Arfa is running at high speed with the ball at his feet.

In the next picture you see that Dejongh has been flying in and yes he has made contact with the ball.

So nothing wrong?

The first thing that is wrong is the fact that Dejongh comes in with both feet and he is coming in from the front to the attacker. This means that the attacker cannot get out of the way. And the defender knows he will hit the striker without being able to reduce the impact. You can compare this with a frontal car crash. Those are the deadliest because you accumulate the two forces that are coming together in opposite direction. I think some people could explain this with some laws of physics; feel free in the comment section.

Lets us look at some images a bit closer to the action

In this picture you see that Dejongh is flying in with a frontal assault with one foot stretched and the other one is also moving forward. Ben Arfa cannot do anything about avoiding the impact at that moment. He can only hope and pray that his legs are off the ground when they get hit. Also notice that he “jumps in”, it would make a big difference if Dejong would just have stood on his spot without throwing himself forward.

On the next picture you could image hearing the crack as because of both players coming together something has to go and it was Ben Arfa’s leg that went. This was the most obvious to break as he was running and thus standing on the floor and heaving his weight on his legs. Dejongh was jumping in so he had no weight on his legs but all his weight was thrown forward in to the impact.

So this is another example of why tackles when a player comes in frontal to his opponent are dangerous. And yes I know that this does not always breaks people’s legs. Sometimes you can have luck when your leg is off the ground and you just get air born. So most of the times people escape from those tackles. But because most of the time people escape is not an excuse for not punishing it.

The fact that the ref did not give a foul is so crazy that I really cannot understand this.  People ask for the banning of Dejongh as long as Ben Arfa cannot play football. I think this should be a rule for all players who inflict such long term injuries to their fellow professionals. It would make them think twice before coming in like madmen and hurt each other.

But for me this isn’t the end of the line. No the fact that the ref did nothing and did not give a foul is beyond me. These are fundamental rules for every ref that you have to be careful for those kind of tackles. Now I know as a ref that you cannot prevent all injuries on your playing field. But the fact that he let the foul go without punishment is the worst thing (when you look at the ref I mean not at Ben Arfa who is the real victim) for the ref. This means that he is incompetent to protect the players on his field. He has shown he cannot recognise a dangerous tackle from a good one.

And for this I would suggest that not only the player who commits such dangerous tackles and break other peoples legs are banned for the time that he needs to recover but also the refs who didn’t punish those tackles should be banned for the same period. And in the meanwhile they can take their rule book, their instructions AND LEARN THEM AGAIN UNTIL THEY KNOW THE RULES.

Apart from some sick people (and sick supporters from sick teams) who get a kick from these things most supporters hate those images of players lying on the ground like that.

It is time for the FA to act.

It is time for the people who are responsible for the refs to call them and to ask for a zero tolerance on all dangerous tackles and punish them weather they played the ball or not.

It is time to protect the gifted players because it is them that we come out of our chair to see them perform in the stadiums. We don’t come over to see Dejong break another leg, we don’t come out to see Shawcross act like a madman, we don’t come over to see Hendry launching another player in the air.

Time to act FA and REFS before the the gifted players leave the EPL to go to other leagues where they are protected by the refs and the laws.

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78 Replies to “How much longer FA? How many more broken bones needed?”

  1. Hi Walter


    exactly what I was saying to a friend (Newcastle Supporter) yesterday

    (another referee)

  2. The FA wont react its why the national team is crap its the fault of the referees.
    We have a good midfield and decent forwards but we can not defend there is always a GASP when we hear the new rule for a tournament like no tackles from behind or no shirt pulling !

    How will we win now that is how we always defend in the EPL ?

    Because the players in england are let play like monsters in the EPL they dont have the technical ability to defend in a world cup there used to be an art to defending not anymore sadly.

    No wonder good managers shy away from the job your on a hiding to nothing.

  3. PS until they listen to the likes of AW and make the necessary changes instead of viewing him as a vouyer and as a genius of the modern game it will remain the same.

  4. True, I actually said this on here previously aswel, I said until something is done about it something MAJOR will happen… and you know what, it will continue…. it’s very sad…

    Commited tacking is great, I love it but when it gets excessive and violent it has to be stamped out, particularly when people go in with the intention of hurting someone, but regardless. I have played football for many years, all my life infact, in central midfeild and I was known as an extremley hard tackler but I never once seriously injured anyone but I would tackle agrresivly and with determination but I would be looking SOLELY at the ball, I would use my body strength but I’d never kick the ball and go in harder than needed to win it, and if I did a slide tackle it would be perfectly timed as and never injrued anybody, some of these tackles we are seeing now are wreckless beyond belelif, I’m sorry but Karl Henry incident was outrageous, I am very worried for our players and for all decent people that play cause nobody should be subjected to that, this is football not a war, people shouldn’t be having these casualities where their legs regularly get broke. Is there anything people collectivly can do to protest? Something has to be done, it will be another one of our players eventually, but people will probably only listen when it happens to a Rooney tyoe player before a World Cup.

  5. the EPL has been a dirty place to play such football, the reason why the national team will go no where on international grounds.
    Only two World Cups with a single World Cup!

  6. The Arsenal players are the only players on EPL fouled unnoticed.
    What type of a player like Essien to Foul Diaby and the-so-called game statue, sorry, the game referee remain normal!!!? This is abnormal.
    In such a case or rather cases, the national team will only be participating the games without winning anything; two world wars with a single world cup! Shame upon you!

  7. Dark Prince is right. The fact that a non-Englishman, de Jong, is the latest guilty party means that the FA have to wake up. Who will be the next target? Rooney? Terry? Cole (any of them)? Lampard? Gerrard (assuming he doesn’t talk Liverpool into selling him to Spain or Italy first)? One of Spurs’ English players (all jokes aside)? Or maybe Spurs’ new Welsh wonder boy Bale?

    Until that happens, they’ll brush it off: “Oh, it’s only an Arsenal player.” “Oh, it’s only a foreigner.” Well, suppose the Netherlands had qualified for the 1970 World Cup (they didn’t, despite all that Ajax and Feyenoord talent), and Wim van Hanegem had gone in hard on Geoff Hurst? Or if, 20 years later, an Italian such as Franco Baresi (not that he or van Hanegem were especially dirty) had done so on Lineker or Gazza? The English press would have wanted him carded, suspended, banned, arrested, convicted, hanged, drawn and quartered, and not necessarily in that order!

  8. i think it will stop once rooney or the other english poster boys get it done… i don’t see it happening any other way… but i did see a few articles as its happening really fast these days… zomora legs.. and some rough tackles ealier in the stokes game in the fulham game the guy was lucky nothing happened… i mean mark huges was also complaining… wolves player got a broken leg… i mean comone!!

    i mean if football fans know the names of the bones broken, it means we have seen too much… we should not know about tibulas and fibulas and metatarsal and Achilles and other stuff…

  9. until shreck or another one of the england thugs gets their leg broken the FA will carry on turning a blind eye.

    what also confirms your opinion walter.
    the studs first challenges in the chavs arsenal game. there were three from chelsea on sagna & diaby & one on the chelsea player by sagna.
    the ref missed them all.
    is that coincidence or is it the ref having a pop at arsene/arsenal.
    i like to think it is the ref having a pop at us when i see some of the decisions they have made in our games over the last few seasons.
    The fabrigas on foul that broke his leg by the birmingham player was a front on tackle.

  10. the refs at the epl are worthless. maybe it will stop if the next victim happens to be rooney, gerrard, terry, lampard or maybe ashley cole

  11. I personally do not understand this debate. A person steps outside the rules of a sport and seriously injures another person, then they should be held accountable in a court of law. until this happens and the accused is found guilty of ABH or GBH or just assault or whatever the charge then things will not change.
    Its confusing really that the FA are not held accountable by the injured players and there clubs as surely under HASAWA 1974 the FA, by running a competition for professionals has a duty to the health and safety of all its participants, After all the sportsmen are at work and deserve the protection of our laws in the same way we all do.

  12. Yes Cesc,
    when I saw that Birmingham player coming in on Cesc and yes he played the ball but then went further with leg stretched frontal on Cesc his standing leg I almost threw my laptop in my TV from anger. And when I realised that Webb did nothing and was just standing a few meters away I was as mad as I can be.

    These tackles have to stop and I will call out as loud as I can (and maybe to your boredom) about them untill they get banned from the game. Because it is A GAME!! It was a game, it is a game and it will be a game and never is a game a valid reason to kick someone to pieces. Not even a game where you can earn a lot of money with.

  13. Indeed Adam, you bring up a good point. If you were standing on the street and I would break your legs I will end up prison. But for some reason you can make a complete ridiculous challenge on another person, break his legs and get away with it unpunished.

    I always thought that the laws are the same for everyone (apart for politicians and other “honourable” persons) but it looks that footballers are above the law.

    In my country we have had a few trials, with mixed outcome, where players have been found guilty and got penalised in court for those kind of tackles.

  14. Totally agree with this article, You would almost hope that more non-Arsenal players break their leg so it will become everyones problem.. Okay not very nice to say but I think Arsene is unfairly critized by people over his comments on tackling.

    By the way come on his name is De Jong not DeJongh.., I would not write Wayne Roeney or Jacq Wilsjere…

  15. Walter,

    I think your conslusion is spot on about players not wanting to play in England.

    After seing stuff like this happen on a regular basis, it’s hard to imagine it not having an impact on the decisions made by skilful technical players.

    Can a guy like Eden Hazard (who will be coveted by all major clubs in Spain and England at the end of the season) start thinking he WILL have a leg broken at some point in his career if he moves to England and take a gamble on the rest of his career? I’m sure he can. Will it influence his decision on going to Spain or England? I’m starting to think so.

    Isolated incidents happen, and everyone is aware of that. It has gotten to a point where the frequency with which those are occuring has far exceeded unfortunate probabilities.

    In France, Pierre-Alain Frau had been suspended 2 months for a “violent and uncontrolled action”. Even if the tackle was clearly unintentional and without malicious intent, they still suspended him as an example of what not to do. Since, there has been a lot less late challenges in the game and it has only made it better.

  16. Jesper, I admit guilty as charged for spelling his name wrong.At the end of the article I realised it and tried to change it but I have not seen them all. A stupid mistake from my part.

    And I have a lot of respect for Van Marwijck for acting like he did and get him out of the HOlland team. If you compare this with the FA and Shawcross…

  17. Agree with everything in this article. The fact is, the FA turn a blind eye, this stance increases the cowardice of some refs. As has been pointed out, things may change if Rooney, Gerrard or Lamps become victims, no I am not wishing that sort of thing on them.
    The media do not help either, Shawcross is a good guy, gord bless im, Arsenal dont like it up em, Wenger is a whinger, a good committed English style player, these soft foreigners are making it a non contact sport etc – we have heard it all before

  18. As I said earlier at last Van Marwijck has class to drop De Jong from national team. Am I wrong or will that be only punishment for De Jong? New Casle can’t complain for that tackle not being punished?
    Sad thing is that I really start to wish something like this really happening to Rooney or others like him (I hate seeing players brake their leg and don’t wan’t anyone to go through it) but it will be only way FA will act (and player getting injured can’t be Arsenal star like Walcott or Wilshere).

  19. i think it would be interesting to know whether there are more long term injuries as a result of bad tackles now, than of previous seasons. because it certainly looks like more and more players are getting their careers cut short because of horrible tackles nowadays than of a few years ago.

  20. I am sure the speed of the game, a player running at speed has in many cases to be tackled at speed – the blade boots and non giving semi artificial pitches cannot be helping but there are some cloggers out there as well who can not do much other than tackle in these ways due to their lack of ability.
    The top defenders – Maldini, Baresi and even Rio seem to know how to tackle without giving out these injuries, but it seems we have a breed of agressive CM players such as De Jong / Henry as well as the likes of cloggers like Shawcross – lets face it, he will never be a Baresi or Maldini

  21. The rapid and superb medical treatment these days can save a players career,although he may never reach previous heights ever again. He will then leave the country for a career elsewhere, but does it really matter after all he’s just Johnny Foreigner, who needs him? Bye Eduardo, who bloody cares?
    The “they don’t like it up ’em” attitude here absolutely stinks.Does it really need a Derek Dooley type leg amputation to change these morons way of thinking?
    Even then it probably wouldn’t make any difference because “he’s not not that kind of player” Carry on crippling!

  22. OK good to know Walter! I think it is the only thing he could do because after the WC Final their was a lot of debate about the dirty dutch and we want to keep our good name in football. As I said, nice article!

  23. upload the video of this tackle on youtube and you will see F.A take action. just not the action you want .

  24. This season, with only seven weeks of games in EPL, the list of very serious injuries and unpardonable tackles have been mounting. Luckily, the list of victims is spreading (Fulham = 2; Newcastle = 1, etc). Perhaps, Walter, you can oblige us with the full stats?

    However, I think EPL players have been fouling keepers less when corners are being played. Maybe, glacially, the EPL referees are getting a grip on that and punishing the obviously bad football more?

    What has not helped in the season is the increasing number of coaches who, for one reason or the other, increase the overall risk on their skillful players with comments that wink on bad tackles in the name of having players that are “hard but fair” tacklers.

    Personally, I think there is a little bit of oxymoron in saying that one’s players are hard but fair: hard means you don’t pull out of 50-50 tackles even if there is a risk of a career ending injury as a result; fair means doing the exact opposite. So, how does a player get to be both?

    Lastly, if the Holland national coach dropped De Jong for his mounting history of “hard but fair” tackling then, he ought to be applauded. He also being practical in keeping away from a player that can lose the game for his team and nation by bagging a red card when the team can least afford it. He got away with it in World cup finals but may not in another crucial game if he doesn’t learn to pull away from risky tackles period.

  25. I can’t help but compare and contrast that De Jong, an established Dutch international, is kicked off the national team whereas Shawcross received his initial England call up in the immediate aftermath of the Ramsey tackle/assault.

  26. Here we go again one more skillful player, leg shattered by a disgraceful so called tackel and what is the responce, The lad did’nt mean It” There was no malice Intent he’s not that type of player” Sky Sports ” Ben Arfa sustained the injury folowing a ROBUST chanllenge from De Jong ” contrast This with The Dutch managers comments And dropping of DE Jong from the Holland team
    HE Said “wild unnecessary Offence ” De Jong Needlessly looks to push the limit I WILL SPEAK TO HIM also funny thing the Ref Did;nt even show a card There must be onther standards ” Apparently Mr Chris Waddle Know’s about them He seen Notting wrong with the tackel That just about sum’s It up,There’s none so Blind that can’t SEE!*********

  27. Walter,

    In my career of playing 32+ and I still do… I can recall one time where a player was hurt because of a tackle I made and one other where I retaliated and as a result the player had to leave and the injury was just a dead leg… I can recall a lot more activity against me in this time. The point is that the players know exactly what they are doing. Rarely are there mistakes. And, even more rare is that there are accidents or they are not that type of player.. De Jong as Nasri suggests has “pedigree” for this type of offence. And, so does Shawcross, Henry, and others. What is most disturbing is that I can count on my finger how many times I have went “below the Line” in 32+ years while I can count on my finger about the same for De Jong the same amount on Live TV for all to see. He “Karate Kicked” Chabi Alonso(who damaged Cesc’s MCL BTW on purpose) and now has ended Hatem Ben Arfa’s career… So, how does one deal with this? Kick ’em out! Kick ’em out of England… Kick ’em out of football!

  28. The worst tackle of the weekend was by Karl Henry. Now he is someone who needs a good dressing down, because he has been right on the limit, if not across it, for quite a few games this season.

    When I saw the assault (because it was like a scythe cutting the hay) I was sure the guy was done for. When he got up without a broken leg, I was amazed.

    The guy got a red card but it was what in traffic offence parlance would be called ‘reckless’, which is one stronger than ‘careless’. [For those not from Britain, I was in an accident which was prosecuted as ‘reckless’ when a young idiot who thought you could be Ayrton Senna in a minibus with 15 rucsacs piled high in the back rolled it on a bend in Scotland and we went on the roof 200 yards on the wrong side of the road, mercifully at a time when nothing came the other way. We all walked away but many had 18 months of stress syndromes sitting in a car with young men at the wheel as a result]

    I must say that if the guy’s leg had been snapped I’d be minded to prosecute for GBH. The thing is, you can’t do that unless the guy is injured, as the BH stands for ‘Bodily Harm’, which of course hasn’t occurred if the guy gets up and walks away………

  29. the referees in england are bloody jokers, no wonder only one got to referee in the world cup (howard webb- mind you he aint good either). with this kind of sick mentality england is not and never going to progress as a footballing nation. i commend bart van marmijk for his stance in banning de the thug jong, he is a disgrace, wonder how he gets away with such martial arts on the football field, worst dutch player in history in my opinion!!

  30. Well said Walter & the commenters, here

    The leg breakers are coming in weekly now.

    There is nothing wrong with a low well timed tackle that takes the ball, without injuring the opponent. What we are seeing are tackles that have no consideration for the safety of the other player.

    The commentators & pundits + sadly a number of referees don’t understand that getting “a bit of the ball” prevents a reckless challenge being both a foul & a red card, in today’s rule book. These cunts have a responsibility to at least know the rules of the game & the mentality to see beyond “how it always was in their day”, which is generally mythology anyway.

    The FA & the broadcasting media (esp BBC) have a huge responsibility here, which they are totally abdicating. They and much of the media, together with the neanderthal element within the game are a disgrace.

    The are thoroughly shown up by the Dutch manager, who has decided to take action. He recognises what he has seen & I would think has taken a pragmatic view that De Jong will be no use to him if his side end up playing with 10 men, like City certainly should have done. It is no coincidence that the Dutch, a much smaller nation, have achieved so much more than England for beyond most people’s living memory.

    (Incidentally, how big a cunt is Atkinson? He missed that & punished Newcastle twice with dreadful penalty decisions- not a 1 of, simply not good enough.)

    I may have had a different opinion over the years & my memory may fade but I really don’t remember this many leg breakers even in the Storey, Hunter & Chopper Harris years. Yeah, they were hard but they generally did know how to tackle.

    The game is much quicker now & the gulf in class between players so large. The skill level is much higher so the clogger can’t cope & resorts to the methods we have been seeing.

    Sorry about the language but there are times when a certain word is irreplaceable.

  31. Sorry that should read:

    “a bit of the ball” doesn’t prevent a reckless challenge being both a foul & a red card.

  32. I disagree with this article in a lot of ways. I think it moans a bit too much, forcing the issue to issue rather drastic penalties to something that could be an “accident”.

    Football is a contact sport. Unless you want to take out tackerling period, there is no way that you can completely take out this sort of thing. Unless we limit what tackles you can do, i.e. Not able to go to ground, no slide tackerling… i mean it just doesn’t stop.

    The point has been made that this is a job… i get that but in all honesty its a job people go into knowing full well you could get injured. Rugby and American football being a fantastic example. You get paid in light of this, and thus it comes with the territory… though i don’t really want put this example out there because it’s not so similar but Joining the Army also comes to mind. It’s a choice you knowing and contractually abide to.

    What needs to happen is players however do need to be made examples of. I think the Dejong offence is completely crazy that the FA can’t go back and charge a player after the fact. I think that’s a rule that was created by Neanderthals to give some form of power to an inconsistent refereeing comity.

    It makes absolutely no sense. Its like a spoilt child who’s created a game, and will bend the rules anyway possible to look powerful and in charge. Really the FA in recent years has been caught out and made to look like a monkey organisation and i think they have combated this, with some very bizarre ideas.

    Now De-jong is known as someone who is stubborn and wont change his style of play…i believe an article of his on SkySports stated he wouldn’t change his game for no one, despite the national coach urging him too.

    Players are fully aware of what they are doing, Fact…do they mean to Break someone’s leg… debatable.Are they trying to hurt or scare the other player… Debatable but being someone who plays football twice a week as a back i would say this is true. You go out to intimidate and stamp your authority if need be. Obviously you don’t want to hurt peoples career but you do want to have some form of upper hand within the game.

    The FA need some form of re-sorting, personally i think Fifa especially need it. Really they seem like a bunch of stubborn big wigs who are at the top and just really don’t want to improve the game at all.

    I wonder if making money has something to do with it… match fixing or that alike. I don’t know, does make you wonder though.

  33. One of the defenses regarding GBH is consent. Sports, sadly as it is, is considered as consent according to case law. This means that the recklessness element of the offense is negated.

    Anyway, another point: both Theo and Rambo were subject to a lot of malicious and brutal fouls resulting in long term injuries. I am not sure whether an injury to Rooney will change a lot – it is something for the FA or the referee organization to decide.

  34. I think there are definitely refs who let unfair tackles go on us because they think “they need to toughen up,they don’t like it up em” and all that bullshit, good on Holland for banning De Jong really, people should be getting long bans when they are clearly over the top and vicious and violent in a challenge, a good tackler is agressive, determined and commited not wreckless.

  35. Players are taught to foul, on purpose.
    Of course, it was a Sp*d youth player, under a Sp*d coach, who was witnessed being taught the Dark Arts.

    But, even just ten years later, players are faster, stronger and fitter.

    More mass + More Speed = More Pain.

    It’s a simple equation.

    Peter Storey, in a recent interview with a fan was at a loss to explain why more breaks are occurring in recent seasons, especially against Arsenal players.

    Some of these players today, don’t know what they are doing.
    Those that do, are lucky that they are on a football pitch.
    A brief glance at the subsequent careers of the Dan Smith’s and Martin Taylor’s, raises more questions, then answers. Not good, and indefensible.

    In Cricket, a bouncer is acceptable, and so are broken bones, hence the helmets. But more then one ‘beamer’ will get you thrown off the pitch, no hesitation, even if you don’t hit your opponent. In American Football they wear helmets and pads, Rugby players seem to have, erm, natural padding!
    American medics classify American Football (and Boxing) as a ‘collision sport’, and Football as a ‘contact sport’. It’s reasonably obvious, what the differences are. No amount of obfuscation by the petty plundit’s (tm LRV) can disguise that.

  36. True there is a big differce between a contact sport and a violent sport, it means you can brush shoulders, go into arieal challenges and be physical… but not break peoples bones, there seems to be many pundits and managers who think kicking is ok… kicking is NEVER ok… you NEVER kick a player deliberatly, but ridiculously many people think that’s acceptable, part of football and justified cause it’s a contact sport, that is extremely wrong, it’s a physical sport but it’s not a combat or fighting sport.

  37. Yes-something has to be done to prevent reckless challenges and particularly ones where the ball can not be won, but we should not outlaw that (De Jong/Ben Harfa)type of challenge. Like it or not, there was an element of misfortune regarding this and many injuries through misstimed tackles.

    I would expect to see the De Jong/Ben Harfa tackle time and time again, and it would seldom result in injury. It’s the Karl Henry challenge that clearly crosses the line of acceptance!

    You can not judge tackles on the resulting injury alone, there are too many factors for this. Who would you rather get a 10 match ban for this weekends tackles (De Jong or Karl Henry)?

  38. In a tournament for Judo, or Kick Boxing etc. it’s not that often you see broken limbs.

  39. Bexxy

    It is the force & trailing leg that does the damage. De Jong is not going to break a leg every time but that sort of challenge has a very high risk of doing so. Reckless & a sending off with any decent referee.

    Ronnie Brown has it spot on. Tackling is fine but we cannot go on accepting this gathering toll for the recklessness we are witnessing so often now.

  40. Finsbury going back to your point of Collision sports… seeing as this is a newer term to a far greater degree of full contact sports (which the Americans supposedly came up with)It still doesn’t address the fact of the sliding tackle…

    The sliding tackle has been apart of football for yonks. It’s a form of tackling that jeopardize’s the safety of players. But we still consider this apart of the sport. Now regardless what meaning you may put on Association football… so minimal contact… the fact that you include slid tackling into the equation means you completely raise the bar of contact. Get rid of slid tackling and you find your answer… the sport becomes a minimal contact sport aerial challenges and “brushing” shoulders as some of you have put it.

    In terms of Judo, your right you don’t often see broken limbs in Judo but it does happen, as much as it happens in football. Broken or Dislocated bones isn’t that rare in Judo, through the practice of ill form, it does happen. Obviously accidently as im sure in football. And the same with kick boxing.

    Like many sports they evolve, Helmets were introduced into the late 50’s for American football, Shin pads were introduced back in around 1880 as players were hacking each other. Now understandably things have grown up the game has become more professional but the point remains that dude to the physicality you will sustain injuries some worse than others obviously.

    Until your willing to take out that which can cause the accidents its someone of a pointless argument. As i said before, i do believe more should be done to punish players but the refereeing body needs to change. Why nothing can be done about De-jong i don’t quite understand.

  41. How can you regulate the force of a tackle? I do not disagree, but how can you govern the force of a tackle? Is it almost irrelevant without an injury, or do you punish all heavy tackles even if the ball is won cleanly?

  42. I would like to make it clear that I have nothing against a nice sliding tackle from the side. In my younger days I was rather good at it and I loved to do it.

    And I even can allow a tackle from behind WHEN YOU DONT TOUCH THE OPPONENT at all.

    But the frontal tackle is so dangerous. It is the tackle that took Eduardo out, it is the tackle that took Ben Arfa out.
    If De Jong would have stood still and tackle without throwing himself forward nothging would have happened. And if the defender stands still and kicks the ball away he makes no foul and if they collide it is the striker that makes the foul.

    But De Jong threw himself forward and that is where it went wrong because by doing this he made sure that the impact gets multiplied by a number of times and thus the chance of injury gets bigger. Remember Taylor on Eduardo he also threw himself at Eduardo and also in the first minutes. “To make a mark” and what a mark he maid…

    So I think both Taylor and De Jong knew what they were doing, and they were thinking ‘let him feel we are here and he will not risk running at us again this game”. That criminal set of mind must get banned from the game.

    So any frontal tackle where the defender throws himself forward towards the striker should be always punished with a foul and cards. It will stop, be sure of that.

  43. Aaron & Bexxy,

    I was once filming a training session between some Shao Lin monks.
    When in tournaments, or training, it’s important to show some restraint. One of the individuals was over eighty years old. The only way such an individual could protect themselves, against a reckless, or out of control opponent, who in that sport’s culture would be classified as being disrespectful, is by using lethal force.

    Sorry, but I haven’t seen many broken limbs in such sessions.

    As for slide tackles: I refer you to Ronnie Browns comment above at 7.22 pm.
    I can think of two great, recent tackles as simple examples of ‘safe’ challenges.
    1) Jack Wilshere against Samba,
    2) Jack Wilshere’s yellow card on his England debut.
    Totally in control of his foot on both occasions, makes the right adjustments, respects his opponents. The replays must be easily available on youtube. It’s not hard to adjust even after a mistimed lunge, tjhose who don’t, don’t have much of an excuse. I agree with what the Dutch manager had to say (didn’t like his lame tactics and selection at the WC!).

    There is no defence for cowardice.

  44. You can not govern all aspects of a football match, including certain tackles. There are tackles that rate as fair and those that rate as dangerous, but also many that fall into the grey area inbetween. These have to be left to the discretion of the referee, and this is where we currently stand.

    Unless somebody can define rules for these hard but fair tackles then we must accept that not all serious injury is down to unacceptable challenges

    For those who are offended by these challenges/injurys, I suggest you have a decision to make. You either accept English Prem for what it is (faults and all) or find a more relevant sport to suit your needs. Either that or lock yourselves away for a few days and create “football lite”

  45. “And in the meanwhile they can take their rule book, their instructions AND LEARN THEM AGAIN UNTIL THEY KNOW THE RULES”

  46. Well Finsbury, i practice MMA and also did kick boxing as a lad. I train Mauy Thai as well as Brazilian Ju-jitsu. And i think what your not grasping about my point is, though you are right it doesn’t happen often… the point is….it does happen (broken or dislocated bones) as much as it does in Football. Not as much as you would think, and obviously accidental (well you would like to think so)

    Lets be honest It’s not like there are broken bones in football every week, however there seems to be more of an abundance than usual. I think De-Jong is the type of character to Jump kick someone (as we saw against Alonso)

    I think Walter has given a proper answer, in terms of setting out the rules, You clearly suggest something in “Your Opinion” as being ‘safe’ where Walter seems to think sliding front will create the most damage and thus must be stamped out. I still think as Bexxy has put it, how do you regulate force. It’s so open ended.

    And i still believe people don’t go out to break someones bones possibly ending there career. I practice a sport which you are breed to hurt. But that doesn’t mean we want to kill or really injure someone to the point where they can’t fight anymore. And i believe most people are like that. But obviously steps need to be taken, that when it is done, it is dealt with in the proper manner. which the FA don’t seem to be able to do. Managers get punished speaking out, players don’t get punished for quite blatant illegal play.

    Should all players be banned for the entirety of the players injury no…should De-Jong, a player clearly known and stubborn about the way he plays.. we yes. As a separate case De-Jong has acknowledged his game play and basically fogged it off. ‘He’ should be dealt with more severity than others.

  47. What I’ve just written was horrible… wish i could edit it. No grammar. Punctuation is all over the place… their and there not even used correctly. I apologise, i obviously rushed my post.

  48. Great article and debate.

    This really comes down to proper enforcement of the existing rules and a clear edict given to referees to properly punish “potentially dangerous tackles”.

    Nobody wants to see tackling removed from the game. As many have said, a properly executed sliding tackle is a work of art, a skill, an essential part of the game. However as Walter has said it is the dangerous tackles THROUGH A PLAYER that must be punished. Tackles side-on very rarely cause injuries, and when they do it is normally twisted ankles or the like. But when a player goes straight through an opponent (from the front OR behind), especially with studs up, there is little that the player in possession can do to avoid severe contact, except jumping straight up.

    I always think back to a tackle Kevin Davies made on Clichy a couple of years ago. Clichy was receiving a pass and Davies came straight on, studs up, at speed. Clichy jumped straight up and avoided bad contact, and Davies continued through and “played the ball”. The referee gave a foul against Davies, who protested he had played the ball, but gave no yellow card for excessively dangerous play. But had Clichy remained on the ground he would have been cut in half. That was a dangerous tackle. There was no skill in the tackle, only brute force.

    As an ex-Rugby player I always go back to the idea that you should stay on your feet. Once you leave your feet you are effectively out of control. That same theory should apply to football. When players leave their feet they should do so in the knowledge that only a perfectly timed and executed tackle is good enough. Anything else should be a foul at minimum.

    I always hate to see comments like “its a man’s game”. Being a man is about acting responsibly, maturely, with control. That is what being a man is about. Children act without responsibility, without maturity, without control, and in doing so put their own health and that of others, at risk. When I see tackles like Karl Henry’s, or De Jong’s, or Shawcross’s, I think straight away they are tackles a child would make, not a man. They lack skill, control, awareness, maturity. They are made in the belief that might makes right. They are not hallmarks of “men”.

    American sports have long legislated against excessive force being used against players of talent. There are unwritten, and written, rules that protect stars. It doesnt mean the sports are not for “men”. Quite the opposite in fact.

  49. DeJong broke another player’s leg in a friendly match he was playing in for the Netherlands last year. I believe he has previous infringements as well and I agree totally that players like him should be suspended for the same period needed by the injured player to fully recover. ITS THUGISH AND SHOULD BE DEALT WITH EUALLY HARSHLY. I will never pay to watch DeJong play.

  50. Aaron, I don’t disagree with you, but I do think you’ve perhaps misunderstood my own poor grammar and post 🙂

    Yes, there are not broken bones in football every week. No one has said that has been the case, although there appears to be a newer trend, which is not cool, and as far as I understand it, that’s what this thread is about. e.g. De Jong’s tackle, from the front, totally unacceptable. On that we agree! I did reference Ronnie Browns post, to try to make clear, that I like slide tackles!
    I agree with Walter about the front on situation, and maybe didn’t make what I was trying to say clear enough.
    I’m not sure if front on slides are an acceptable technique, e.g. Gardner, De Jong, Taylor…
    and to try to illustrate that, I chose examples that were not similar, or from the front.
    I don’t think it is just my ‘opinion’, as Samba did get up and did carry on playing. 🙂

    The scissor is another technical issue. I won’t comment on that, as it’s less obvious then a front on charge against someone who’s running with a ball(unlike the Sol and Hull player incident last season), and I don’t know enough about it. .
    But there’s no defence for the shirt tug on Zamora, which pinned him down, none at all. What does the shirt tug have to do with ‘sliding’? Nothing.

  51. I shoudl’ve left it for Paul C to make a more legible and concise explanation of what I was trying to say!

  52. Finsbury – I also think you are right to highlight the “scissor” tackle. That is another kind of tackle in which the player in possession is fouled in order to win the ball. I dont see that it matters if the ball is won or not if you wrap your legs around an opponent and drag him to the ground.

    It is a foul. End of story. It just wouldnt necessarilly come into the “dangerous” and “reckless” category (normally).

  53. And to add to this debate did anyone see Richard Williams’s terrible article in the Guardian condemning De Jong and dangerous tackles. This is the same guy who criticized AW last year for his views on Shawcross.

    Can anyone say hypocrisy?

  54. Paul C
    Never really attempted a scissor, but I have pulled out of ‘front on’ slides, as I didn’t want to get lynched in Finsbury Park and have what’s left of me thrown into the New River.

    But, if you grab and hold someone, as you crash into them, i don’t think that can be defended. As a result Kevin Davies is in the England squad. Madness!

  55. A properly executed sliding tackle is a thing of beauty, one of the wonders of the game. I find it almost more skilful than anything strikers do, which is why I’ve always had a thing for great defenders.

    Nigel de Jong and all his works are not in the least bit beautiful or great, and the Dutch manager has the right idea, particularly since English referees (I’m looking at you, Webb) seem so little inclined to regulate him.

    While contact is indeed part and parcel of the sport, going to work knowing you might end up with a broken leg, and your career also in tatters, can’t be much fun. (A little perspective: the poorly regulated construction industry in this country sees an average of one death a week on British building sites.)

    Samir Nasri has now spoken out about the assault on his fellow countryman and OM alumnus Ben Arfa.

    As referees and professional pundits in the English game seem inured to injuries like Ben Arfa’s, perhaps change will only come if player pressure against the use of such tactics in the EPL mounts?

  56. Finsbury – you hit the nail on the head. Tackles like De Jong’s would result in a mass brawl if executed on Hackney Marshes!!!! And yet at the highest level they are tolerated! As you say, MADNESS!!!!

  57. Here’s a good video of Rosic, doing some beautiful slide tackling. Now in all honesty some of his tackles could have a player, broken a bone i don’t know. But he scissors as well as slides from the front. Obviously there are some big differences as his tackles do not seem to injure anyone. Anyway…enjoy.

  58. As many things, this issue has become a matter of “culture” and “fashion”. We are all happy to see that finally the pendulum shifts towards reason, and that it becomes ill-fashioned to take out someone’s leg. I’m also happy to see it happenning, not because the recent incedent didn’t involve any one of our guys, but because both the tackler and the victim were foreign, taking out the inherent xenophobic allegation of “oh if it were to happen to an English player” plus the “it’s the English guys who are sweet/not that kindov guy/couldn’t hurt a fly”.

    Looking at this issue from a positive perspective, I can only hope that the recent incedent will help Arsenal and other teams or players that opt to play technical, aesthetic football – get more protection. Maybe even goalkeepers will get the anti-rugby protection, who knows. But truthfully – why the hell did it take so long? Why did it take Eduardo, and Ramsey, and Diaby, and god knows how many more players – before some people decided to wake up and say: “that’s enough”.

    By the way, I never played football in my life, but I did practice martial arts (full contact combined thai boxing and aikido) for 12 years. I broke my nose and my ribs, and broke some guys’ ribs alright. But that’s part of the sport: you are MEANT to hurt your opponent. It’s not a part of the game in football.

  59. Yes De Jong is a thug and it is his like that needs to be dealt with. However, his challenge at the weekend was not an example of it. Think about it for a minute and list how many serous injuries have been caused by so called Hard Men (whether that be the modern day breed or going back to the 70’s and 80’s) and then consider how many serious injuries have simply been unfortunate ( Zamora, Ben Arfa included in my opinion)

    Hard but fair tackles are part of the English game. In the modern world it is easy to follow other leagues if you prefer?

    Let’s be honest, Viera would not have been the same player for us if it wasn’t for his hard but fair challenges. The fact he didn’t cause injury was a combination of luck and skill. Let’s keep this within our game

    Both serous injury and red cards spoil games that we spend a fortune to watch. Both are going to occur from time to time and must be accepted. If we do not accept this fact then you are asking for red cards to become a more regular feature

  60. Bexxy,
    Why can’t you understand that the tackle with the left foot is fine but it is the inevitable follow through with the right foot, which broke the leg, is clearly not. These scissor tackles are not accidents but a sign of a recklessly poor technique. It needs to be stamped out like the two footed jump in ‘tackles’ were a few years ago.

    I may be wrong but I really don’t remember Adams, Bould etc break any legs or come to think of it the decent defenders of other the other top clubs.

    The English game is great for its ‘full boundedness’ but that has to be allied with a good enough technique to play at the higher speed & general skill levels we are seeing. These blokes, like de Jong & Henry, are now paid an absolute fortune, they should act with the skill & professionalism that should be demanded for that level of salary.

    I thoroughly agree that red cards should be avoided, when possible but we are in a situation where the dangerous is being tolerated, while players can be often sent off for celebrating goals or other preposterous reasons. The authorities are quite happy to send a ‘keeper of for a mistimed dive, even though the scoring chance has been restored with the penalty.

  61. Aaron,

    TR7 is the complete player! *swoons*

    I wrote on ACLF after Ramsey’s break:

    “Sol Campbell is twice as big as Shawcross,
    Sol Campbell is twice as heavy as Shawcross,
    Sol Campbell has played football twice as long as Shawcross,
    And he’s never broken anyones leg.”

    Why is that?
    I can’t say for sure, but I have a good idea, and it’s not just because he’s a ‘better player’.

    As for broken bones in martial arts, yup they do happen. That’s why I gave the example of an eighty year old Master, to try to emphasise the right to self defence in those situations. If Ramsey had decided to ‘take his eye off the ball’, stop running, and snap Shawcross’ leg in two before he got hit by the sythe, he’d be entitled to do that. But, it would make for quite a dull game of football.

  62. I believe that I understand. I certainly understand that it is the trailing leg that made this tackle dangerous. I believe that the trailing leg is not currently covered by any law ( feel free to advise if this is the case) If this is not covered by a specific law, then we are left to the referee to use his discretion, which he did.

    Not ideal, but this is where we are

  63. I’m can’t explain exactly why Walter wrote this sentance, but I assume that it has something to do with the, erm, whaddya call it? Oh yeah! The’rulebook’:

    “And in the meanwhile they can take their rule book, their instructions…”

  64. I’m aware of the rule book, but not a rule that states that a tackle with a trailing leg is a mandatory red card. I still believe that referees discretion had to be (and was) used.

  65. Bexxy – you are right that there are no specific rules regarding a trailing leg but the rules do clearly talk about reckless and dangerous tackles. Just as FIFA told referees to treat all tackles from behind as yellow card offenses they could also simply emphasize to referees to treat all “trailing leg” tackles as yellow card offenses as well. No changes to the rule book are needed. It is all about interpretation and how the governing bodies want referees to see things.

  66. If governing bodies want to see certain action for certain events then this should be clearly covered by the rules. Personally, I’d much rather it (tackles from behind, trailing leg etc) remain the interpretation of the referee. He should determine whether a challenge was excessive or not. In the De-Jong case the referee, and many others deemed it was not. Just as many deemed it was. Isn’t this great?

  67. Below is taken dirrectly from the footie rule book.

    A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any
    of the following seven offences in a manner considered by the referee to be
    careless, reckless or using excessive force:
    • kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
    • trips or attempts to trip an opponent
    • jumps at an opponent
    • charges an opponent
    • strikes or attempts to strike an opponent
    • pushes an opponent
    • tackles an opponent

    Below is taken dirrectly from HASAWA act 1974

    2.1.3 Duties of the Employee

    An employee has the following responsibilities under the Act, namely:

    To take reasonable care while at work for his or her own health and safety and for that of persons who may be affected by his or her acts or omissions at work;

    2.1.5 Non-Compliance with the Act

    This constitutes a criminal offence against which disclaimers are ineffectual and against which insurance cannot be taken out. The penalties can be fines of up to £20,000 on summary conviction or a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years, with or without a fine, on conviction or indictment. Usually a company or institution will be prosecuted for the failings in its safety management, or for the actions of employees whilst at work. However, there is a gradual shift towards prosecutions of individuals who have acted with gross negligence or a blatant disregard for procedure.

    There are rules out there to deal with individuals like dejong. If the rule book fails, then civil law has to be looked at.

  68. I’m with Bexxy. The rules of the game have left judgement with the referee. Let it be!

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