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Page last updated at 08:25 GMT, Friday, 6 March 2009

Wenger demands tackling crackdown

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger believes punishments should be increased

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has urged the Football Association to hand out longer suspensions for players guilty of dangerous tackling.

Wenger called Newcastle midfield man Kevin Nolan's recent tackle on Everton striker Victor Anichebe, which ended his season, as "horrendous."

And he said: "They [FA] could create a special committee to analyse if a three-game suspension is enough or not.

"I feel that 10 matches is not enough for some of the tackles we have seen."

West Ham's 1-0 win at Wigan was also marred by a succession of wild challenges and red cards for Carlton Cole and Lee Cattermole.

Wenger was incensed by the challenge made on Abou Diaby by Sunderland's Dan Smith in May 2006, which resulted in the midfielder suffering a fracture and dislocation of his ankle.

Such was the Frenchman's anger that Arsenal considered taking legal action.


"If you tackle a player, anybody in the street like that, you go to jail," he said.

Last year, Martin Taylor's challenge on Eduardo, which resulted in a leg break for the Croatian also prompted an angry response from Wenger.

The Birmingham defender later apologised and insisted the challenge was accidental.

Wenger added: "I have seen some horrible tackles this season and I don't think the punishment is sufficient. Kevin Nolan's tackle on Victor Anichebe the other week was horrendous.

"An accident can happen when two people go for the ball but it is very rare. What I see is that guys go into the tackle to hurt the player. There is not sufficient punishment.

"Maybe we need to be stronger with our own players but sometimes you see the players make horrendous tackles and then say to the referee, 'What's wrong there?' You think, 'my friend, touch your head because you have completely lost touch with reality'. It is unbelievable but they know what they have done.

Sometimes Ronaldo's arrogance is provocative - and his class as well

Arsene Wenger

"It concerns me when I see someone jumping in like a mad guy as we have some players who weigh 90 kilos and can run the 100 metres in 11 seconds. If they jump in they completely destroy an opponent."

The Arsenal boss used Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo as an example, adding: "Sometimes I feel Manchester United get too much protection and sometimes they don't get enough and Ronaldo is a specific example of that.

"Sometimes his arrogance is provocative - and his class as well. But when a player is not protected it's not right. When there is a bad tackle you have to be punished and get sent off the pitch."

Everton boss David Moyes gave Wenger's suggestion support as he said: "Certain things need to be looked closer at. I have not been happy for a while with some of the FA decisions and the people making those decisions.

"Maybe a panel is needed, or a group of people, who can look at certain things. Certainly we want to wipe out bad challenges like the one that has ended Victor Anichebe's season. We should be looking into such serious challenges, it did a lot of damage."

And Spurs boss Harry Redknapp added: "Maybe we should have a panel looking at each sending-off. The Carlton Cole sending off was diabolical, the kid has put his foot up to pull a ball down and a player got across him.

"How can that be a second yellow card and a sending-off? There is nothing malicious about that, he didn't even know the player was coming. People have to look at that and say it's a crazy sending-off and should be rescinded.

"Other tackles, when people are going over the top of the ball and are violent, maybe we could do with more than three matches for that type of tackle."

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see also
Wigan 0-1 West Ham
04 Mar 09 |  Premier League
Eduardo intent on swift recovery
24 Feb 08 |  Premier League
Ferguson upset with referee Wiley
25 Oct 08 |  Football

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