Two-footed tackles: a disgrace to soccer

by Ivan Bobanovic | Last updated

Two footed tackles are not only unacceptable, but they put a blemish on an otherwise beautiful game. In an ideal world, two footed tackles would result in a straight red card, followed by severe fines and suspensions. We cannot always rely on referee’s to make the correct calls as things can happen very quickly, and often too quickly to make a rational decision in a matter of seconds. The soccer organizations of the world, i.e UEFA and FIFA, need to be sending clear messages: two footed tackles will not be tolerated.

In a recent brawl between the National Hockey Leagues (NHL) Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders, the game featured 346 penalty minutes, 15 fighting majors and 11 game misconducts. The Islanders were fined $100,000 by the league, and two of their players were suspended for nine and four games, respectively. One Penguin player was suspended the mandatory 10 games for leaving the bench to join the fight.

Some might say this was an entertaining game because of all the fights, I call this an embarrassment.  Don’t take my word for it, take the word of the Penguins owner and hockey legend Mario Lemieux:

“The NHL had a chance to send a clear and strong message that those kinds of actions are unacceptable and embarrassing to the sport. It failed.”

In Lemieux’s eyes it failed because the sport continues to tolerate the stupidity that is fighting.  Rather than endorse a game of skill and talent, the NHL continues to endure the actions of tough guys with average hockey skills at best.

Shift our focus to one of the biggest soccer stages on earth: the UEFA Champions League.  On Tuesday, February 15, 2011, Tottenham Hotspur traveled to the San Siro – home of Italian Serie A league leaders AC Milan – to play the first of a home-and-away in the knock out phase of the tournament.

Tottenham ended up winning the game with a brilliant counter attack goal from Peter Crouch in the 80th minute, but the game was overshadowed by a brutal tackle and a near fight which seemed to be inevitable in a very intense and rough game.

Mathieu Flamini of AC Milan, who is otherwise known for his hard work ethic and hard tackling manner, came in with two feet and almost broke the leg of Tottenham defender Vedran Corluka. In addition, AC Milan captain Gattuso attacked one of Tottenham’s assistant coaches during the game and after the game as well:

Horrific tackle, isn’t it?  The worst part…Flamini only received a yellow card.  What bugs me most is that Flamini gets up from the tackle and encourages the crowd to cheer him on as though he had done something commendable. Boy, oh boy. Gattuso’s actions are a joke and I have nothing say about that. To be quite honest, I was hoping the assistance coach took a crack…he seems like he could bring some heat.

Tottenham coach, Harry Redknapp, comments deserve to be quoted because they should be passed to the authorities of UEFA to seriously take into consideration.  UEFA should listen to Lemieux and not allow themselves to miss opportunities like these to improve the game of soccer:

‘That is a red card all day. How has he not got a red card for that?’ It’s an absolute disgrace, they [UEFA] should look at that, surely, and do something about it. It’s a dangerous, dangerous tackle.”He was two or three feet off the floor with two feet. It was a leg-breaking tackle. ”

When someone is in the midst of a very tense battle and the stakes are high, it’s very easy to lose your mind.  In fact, all it takes is one split second decision to make way for a very ugly and regrettable situation.  It’s absolutely crucial that as a player, coach and fan, you always maintain composure and keep your mind on the bigger picture.  Is it really worth breaking someone’s leg because you’re frustrated with the way the game is going?  Are you really prepared to be the reason someone is physically disabled for an extended period of time?  I don’t think so…

Reports are suggesting that Corluka has not broken his leg, but there is damage.  The extent of the damage is not yet known.  Flamini is said to have gone to Corluka after the game to apologize.

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