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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 December 2007, 17:15 GMT
PFA chief worried by bad tackles
Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor
Gordon Taylor has called for greater respect between players
Players' union boss Gordon Taylor is concerned over a recent apparent upturn in the number of two-footed tackles.

Chelsea's Ricardo Carvalho and Brynjar Gunnarsson of Reading were sent off on Boxing Day, the latest in a spate of red cards for two-footed challenges.

And chief executive Taylor says the Professional Footballers' Association wants those kind of tackles eradicated to protect skilled players from injury.

"You have to protect skilful players first and foremost," said Taylor.

"The only way the game is going to survive is not through a 'Rollerball' or ice hockey type of 'crash, bang, wallop'.


"We have to show a concern for the health and safety of players.

"I'm worried about it because if you get that tackle on the standing leg then it is a danger. We lose 50 players a year with permanent injury."

Taylor believes that recent tackles show a lack of respect between players, and he has called for captains to have a greater role in preventing wild tackles by communicating with referees before and during games.

"There needs to be a respect between fellow professionals and for the opposition," he said.

A player who jumps into a tackle two-footed is not in control of himself

Professional Game Match Officials spokesman
"We know the game has got faster and it's even faster in this country.

"The FA are having a respect campaign for referees and we want referees to make better use of captains - to make it clear to them certain things they are not going to stand for and for him to tell his team."

Despite a recent increase in red cards for two-footed challenges, the Professional Game Match Officials Board, which represents referees, insist they are merely enforcing existing policy.

"There has been no 'clampdown' on the tackle or new directive issued," said a PGMO spokesman.

"Referees are simply applying the law as it has always stood."

Stephen Ireland
Stephen Ireland was sent off by Mark Halsey against Tottenham
Carvalho and Gunnarsson are just two Premier League players who have recently been given their marching orders for two-footed challenges.

Others include:

  • Robbie Keane's late tackle on Birmingham's Fabrice Muamba on 2 December.
  • Stephen Ireland's two-footed lunge on Tottenham's Young-Pyo Lee on 9 December.
  • Didier Zokora's two-footed tackle on Manchester City's Elano on 18 December.
  • Peter Crouch's two-footed lunge on Chelsea's Jon Mikel Obi on 19 December.

But despite the rise in red cards for such tackles this month, the PGMO spokesman denied that officials had been ordered to change their approach to such incidents.

The spokesman added: "The issue of the two-footed challenges was discussed at the regular pre-season meetings the PGMO holds with managers and players.

"They were reminded of the key point surrounding the excessive use of force in the tackle.

"A player who jumps into a tackle two-footed is not in control of himself and therefore if he makes contact with the player, ball and player, or if the referee determines there to be excessive malice in the challenge, he will be dismissed."

Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock said he would like to see a longer suspension period for players sent off for two-footed challenges.

"I don't want to lose players for three games but the two-footed tackle should be double that," Warnock told BBC Radio Five Live.

"I look at some of the tackles that have got away with a yellow cards that have been horrific in the last few months.

"If referees make mistakes then retrospectively they should get another four or five games as well."

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