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Page last updated at 14:34 GMT, Tuesday, 5 October 2010 15:34 UK

PFA boss Taylor warns players about reckless tackles


Tackling should be tough but fair - Taylor

By Matt Slater

Reckless tackles are endangering the careers of too many players, according to the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association.

English football's physicality is a matter of debate again after a spate of bad challenges and serious injuries.

Hatem Ben Arfa and Bobby Zamora have both suffered broken legs recently.

"We're losing 50 players a year through injury and I don't want any of those leaving the game because another player was careless," said Gordon Taylor.

"The field of play is not an oasis from law and order and we remind players that they have a duty of care to their fellow professionals on other teams.

"I don't want to see careers ended early by tackles that are proved to be reckless and unnecessary.

I have a problem with the way Nigel (de Jong) needlessly looks to push the limit

Holland manager Bert Van Marwijk

"But we have to be mindful that it is a contact sport and lots of people have complained the art of tackling is leaving the game - it's certainly getting harder for defenders and these things can be genuine accidents."

However, the likes of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger would argue there are too many of these "accidents" happening for them to be completely accidental.

Taylor's remarks came only hours after Nigel de Jong, the Manchester City midfielder whose challenge injured Ben Arfa, was dropped from the Dutch national team.

Holland manager Bert Van Marwijk watched the incident in City's game against Newcastle United and was angered by De Jong's scything tackle.

Nigel de Jong (left) slides in to tackle Hatem Ben Arfa as Carlos Tevez (left) looks on
De Jong (right) escaped unpunished for the challenge that broke Ben Arfa's leg

"It was a wild and unnecessary offence," Van Marwijk told Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.

"I have a problem with the way Nigel needlessly looks to push the limit."

De Jong attracted some notoriety this summer when he fouled Spain's Xabi Alonso with a chest-high karate kick during the World Cup final.

English referee Howard Webb has since said his only regret from the game is not giving De Jong a red card for that challenge instead of the yellow he brandished at the time.

The combative midfielder also left Bolton's Stuart Holden with a broken ankle after a heavy tackle in a friendly against the United States in March.

The irony, however, is that De Jong's tackle on Ben Arfa was not an "offence" - referee Martin Atkinson saw the incident but deemed it to be legal.

Having watched it again I can see that it looks horrific and realise it was a deserved red card

Wolves captain Karl Henry

Under current Football Association (FA) rules, this means there is no prospect of De Jong being punished in England retrospectively.

Players' boss Taylor refused to be drawn on the details of the incident but said his members have "never objected to the use of technology to ensure a game is played in the right manner".

He also said the PFA works closely with the FA and leagues to develop a "correct and proportionate disciplinary code that includes heavy fines and severe suspensions".

De Jong's challenge on Ben Arfa was not the only tackle controversy from last weekend's Premier League games; Wolves captain Karl Henry was sent off for pole-axing Wigan striker Jordi Gomez.

Henry, whose unpunished tackle left Zamora with a broken leg last month, initially protested his innocence and left the field reluctantly but has now reconsidered.

"Having watched it again I can see that it looks horrific and realise it was a deserved red card," he told the club's official website.

Henry goes on to apologise to his manager, team-mates and Wolves fans but does not mention Gomez, who was fortunate to avoid injury.

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see also
FA to look into Newcastle request
06 Oct 10 |  Newcastle
De Jong dropped from Dutch squad
04 Oct 10 |  Football
Henry apologises for Gomez tackle
05 Oct 10 |  Wolves
Ben Arfa has surgery on leg break
04 Oct 10 |  Newcastle
We're not a dirty side - McCarthy
16 Sep 10 |  Wolves
Zamora injury unfortunate - Henry
13 Sep 10 |  Wolves
Ref Webb admits De Jong Cup error
25 Aug 10 |  Football

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