Dangerous tackling – our solution for solving the problem once and for all

The row over tackling in the modern game keeps coming back with depressing regularity. In the last week alone we’ve had rows about tackles by Man City’s Kompany, Chelsea’s Lampard and now Liverpool’s  Glen Johnson. To be honest, I’m bored of it. It’s time to sort it out once and for all.

Most disagreements seem to stem from the evaluation that some players are not capable of making a truly bad challenge. This is most frequently seen in the use of the phrase, “He’s not that sort of player” by pontificating pundits and managers trying to defend a player.

Whilst part of my brain tells me this line of defence is bollocks I have never played the game professionally. So what do I really know?

Instead let’s accept the wisdom of the football professionals. Let’s follow their logic through and bring some black and white clarity to the grey area we’re currently mired in.

If there really are footballers who “aren’t that sort of player” let’s officially recognise them. Each season an independent panel of former players and match officials could meet to categorise players into “not that sort” and “that sort”. So Lee Cattermole and Joey Barton would obviously be quickly and easily categorised as “that sort” whilst say Luka Modric and Theo Walcott would be “not that sort”.

Managers and more importantly match officials could be given a list of these players. With a pre-agreed list of players who are “that sort” or “not that sort” referees would then be empowered to use more discretion.

Whilst the oft quoted ‘letter of the law’ may require the player to be sent off for a career ending, two footed, lunge, a players status as “not that sort” would allow the referee to opt for a yellow card or perhaps simply to wave play on. Similarly, a referee may be unsure whether a tackle justifies any action, however, if the player’s one whose been classified as “that sort” then it’s easier for him to reach for the red.

“Consistency” is what players, fans and pundits most often demand of a referee. Even with professional match officials we’ve not been able to create this refereeing panacea. It obviously can’t be achieved.

Introducing a “that sort” “not that sort” system would formalise inconsistency by introducing a rationale for it. It we can’t have consistency, we might as well have consistent inconsistency.


One Comment on “Dangerous tackling – our solution for solving the problem once and for all

  1. That is a bloody good idea. They could have little skull and cross bone symbols on one of their shoulders so the ref could easily know if the player was ‘that sort’. I’m sure it’d be a badge of honour for many hard-tackling centre-backs and defensive midfielders.

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