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Injuries Are A Part Of Football


The League Managers Association have hit back at Danny Murphy over his comments regarding managers creating bad tackles. The LMA were deeply unimpressed after the Fulham midfield claimed that the likes of Tony Pulis, Sam Allardyce and Mick McCarthy deliberately wound up players which in turn could lead to horror tackles.

While I do sort of see where Murphy is coming from, and I do believe that managers don’t always help players keep their cool. I think Murphy is still angry over the challenge that saw his teammate Bobby Zamora suffer a broken leg.

But Karl Henry, the man who’s clumsy lunge left the England striker with the injury, wasn’t malicious that day and Murphy is wrong to wildly accuse managers of a lack of control over their players.

At present there is a real push to eradicate dangerous tackles. But I don’t think the tackle that Henry committed was dangerous just like I don’t feel the Nigel de Jong committed a dangerous tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa.

In many ways I was saddened by the news Ben Arfa’s parent club Marseille are considering legal action against De Jong.  The tackle perhaps did have an element of needless force, but in no way was it malicious and in no way did the Manchester City midfielder look to deliberately injure the young Frenchman.

Injuries are an unfortunate consequence of playing a contact sport. I can remember breaking my foot after receiving a hard tackle in a Sunday League game, but I can guarantee that I will have at some point caused an opponent to also pick up an injury.

What I am trying to say is that if everybody took legal action after every injury, football would be ruined. Hard challenges are very much a part of the sport and I would be bitterly disappointed to see them banned.

While coaches can try to minimise clumsiness in challenges, they will never be able to guarantee a 100% safe way of tackling and we must remember that the game is a contact sport –accidents are bound to occur.

What do you think? Is there a problem with the state of tackling in the Premier League or are we just seeing players suffer some bad injuries as a result of pure bad fortune?

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  1. hank

    October 12, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Total nonsense.

    The FIFA “laws of the game” state that a player must be sent off for “serious foul play”. In the section discussing “serious foul play”, paragraph 1(!) states:
    “A player is guilty of serious foul play if he uses excessive force or brutality against an opponent when challenging for the ball when it is in play. ”

    There is nothing in the rules of football about making a “fair challenge”, or winning the ball, or what the players intention was when they made a challenge, or whether they are nice to their mother. The rules are clear, excessive force is serious foul play, whatever the context, and injuries caused by excessive force are explicitly not part of the game: Its right there in the rules!

    Managers who encourage their players to “get stuck in”, certainly share part of the blame when their players follow through on those instructions, and it results in an injury.

    • Why?

      October 12, 2010 at 3:46 pm

      Hank, that’s just the thing it wasn’t serious foul play because the Ref had seen the whole incident and didn’t even give a foul which means it wasn’t a foul let alone serious foul play! Now you can try to twist this however you like but it was what it was, a unfortunate collision between two players moving towards a ball at speed in the fastest, full bodied league in the World. Which is why it has more viewers than any other League.

      Here are FIFA’s free kick rules Hank take a close look at the header:

      A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any
      of the following seven offences in a manner CONSIDERED BY THE REFEREE to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:

      • kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
      • trips or attempts to trip an opponent
      • jumps at an opponent
      • charges an opponent
      • strikes or attempts to strike an opponent
      • pushes an opponent
      • tackles an opponent

      None of these happened as fouls Hank but you may still notice the part in caps and the fact that the words excessive force, careless and reckless are all present in the giving of a free kick which is all to the opinion of the Referee. Careless and excessive force are in the header on serious foul play you can add brutality to that not that these happened. You name this as paragraph 1 (but it’s the header) you may point to the first point made which is:

      ‘A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as
      serious foul play.’

      Only problem with that is that the tackle itself was 100% clean and only the force of the two coming together at speed (as it WAS both who went for the ball) with both trailing legs colliding that causes the accident to Ben Arfa’s leg as it was grounded for a tenth of a second the contact was made. So as for the rules, he (the Ref) could have gave a free kick for it being careless, reckless or indeed excessive force being used when the challenge for the ball went in but he didn‘t think it warranted even that. The so called rule (header) you quoted than go’s on to give some examples none fit. You’re spot on with your ‘nothing in the rules of football about making a “fair challenge”‘ comment though as that this correct and also what happed, if I was even remotely alone in this thinking this I may have to look at it again even though I’ve seen it from 3 different angles, in slow motion back an fourth live and recorded, you know what? It’s still the same hard but fair tackle. By the way what De Jong did in the World cup final was totally reckless and he should of seen a straight red for violent conduct as should have Van Bommel for another very bad foul.

  2. dlink09

    October 12, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    oh god…

  3. Kip

    October 12, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Surely de Jong’s tackle reflects poorly on Dutch football rather than English? After all, based on the World Cup, it’s not like he plays any different when in orange.

    Of course football is a contact sport and good players have to be able to handle the physical side of the game as well as the technical side. It’s why football is the global sport and why sports that are purely technical or purely physical will always be minority sports.

    If you look back at videos from the Seventies you can easily see that football is far less physical today. If you look back at film from the Fifties then the game is almost unrecognizable. Shoulder charges on static goalkeepers anyone? Remember that Pele was kicked out of the ’66 World Cup and the ‘Battle of Santiago’ was in 1962.

    The game is faster today and the gear is more lightweight and offers less protection. A couple of bad tackles doesn’t define English football and has nothing at all to do with England’s international ineptitude. Injuries are a part of every sport, not just football and not just in England.

  4. Jay

    October 12, 2010 at 9:18 am

    “…Murphy is wrong to wildly accuse managers of a lack of control over their players.”

    I just couldn’t get past this statement, which is completely wrong. Murphy doesn’t assert that there is a lack of control, but that certain managers instruct there players to, if not intentionally injure, play in a style which greatly increases the chance of injury. They do this by stressing brute physicality with little to no restraint.

    I don’t care if you agree with this or not, but your rebuttal is a reading comprehension fail.

  5. GalwayGooner

    October 12, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Jesus where to start. I sometimes wonder if people who write these articles have ever actually played football or perhaps been injuired by a bad tackle?

    Do you know why so many players have legs broken in England compared to other leagues around Europe? Did you even consider this to be a valid point?
    Do you think for one moment that the like of De Jong, professional players have so little control or understanding of their own body that they do not know the risks involved in each tackle?
    Do you think it is just bad luck that the English national team hasnt won anything for over 40 years and is exposed at a technical level at every tournament they play at?
    Did you ever stop to think why there are so few English managers managing abroad?
    Did you ever have a bone broken by a bad tackle? Do you even understand the risks involved?

    I dont know if you are writing this piece just to get hits or are you genuinely an idiot?

  6. jm

    October 12, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Why is the implicit dichotomy here: malicious or part-of-the-game?

  7. tonyspeed

    October 12, 2010 at 8:03 am

    football is not a contact sport. let us not forget that the forefathers of association football split from the forefathers of rugby exactly over the matter of contact!! in football, the only contact made is jostling of shoulders in pursuit of a ball. i believe you don’t understand that any other form of contact in football is accidental or illegal. learn the game before using the word “contact sport”.

    • Jay

      October 12, 2010 at 9:13 am

      I actually thought the key reason for the split was the ability to pick up the ball and run with it, the games evolving from there…

      Football is a contact sport, it just isn’t a tackling (in the rugby sense) sport.

      • tonyspeed

        October 12, 2010 at 3:43 pm
        “At the final meeting, F. M. Campbell, the first FA treasurer and the Blackheath representative, withdrew his club from the FA over the removal of two draft rules at the previous meeting, the first which allowed for the running with the ball in hand and the second, obstructing such a run by hacking (kicking an opponent in the shins), tripping and holding. ”
        “These first FA rules still contained elements that are no longer part of association football, but which are still recognisable in other games (Rugby Union, Australian rules football): for instance, a player could make a fair catch and claim a mark, …
        Passing the ball by hand was still permitted provided the ball was caught “fairly or on the first bounce”. ”

        the split was about RUNNING with the ball in hand, and stopping such runs by physical contact. Hold the ball in the hands and punting or passing was still permissible at the time. Therefore the main difference was the ability to physically obstruct a player by any means without dispossessing him of the ball.

        If football is a contact sport, it is definitely not a collision sport with colliding sliding tackles and karate kicks.

  8. don

    October 12, 2010 at 7:58 am

    nonsense you muppet.

  9. Adam

    October 12, 2010 at 7:17 am

    A stupid and moronic article written by an imbecile.

    • Dave

      October 12, 2010 at 7:43 am

      You’re the only one here that resembles and imbecile.

      • Dave

        October 12, 2010 at 7:44 am


  10. Twat

    October 12, 2010 at 7:15 am

    You are an idiot. So u broke ur foot in a challenge equates to a footballer having his leg swept like a judo move. Morons like you, are the reason why the England squad is struggling for talent . The force of the tackle indicates the intent of the player to injure a fellow professional. Why not send all footballers to some Marshall arts training then make it totally full contact idiot

  11. elkieno

    October 12, 2010 at 6:01 am

    ‘What I am trying to say is that if everybody took legal action after every injury, football would be ruined’.
    Are you just plain stupid?
    Legal action aftger EVERY injury who said that?
    Where do u get ur info from, like the rags u make it up!!!
    Shawcross has broken Aaron Ramsey leg, ligament damage to Francis Jeffers out for ages, Put our Adebayour for 3 months (and he wasnt even on the pitch) just to name 3… he is a thug and should be banned for 6 months with pay (that will stop the clubs from ‘not caring’).
    Murphy has every right to say what he did, Chelsea beat Arsenal, WBA and Sunderland beat us by being tough NOT dirty and there’s nothing wrong with that.
    There is a big difference and I am a born and raised Rugby League (not shyte uninon) fan. I love football, ARSENAL and EPL but hate it when a player cant compete like Ryan Shawcross so he has to be dirty…. despite not wanting to hurt, use the good analagy of:
    Speeding down the road and you hit a kid, judge doesnt care that you didnt mean to and your not that kind of driver. Its same principle you didnt mean to but u did!!!
    U mob are the people that cant see something needs fixing and its right in front of your noses. You have power to post your ideas and yet you post crap…
    England will always be poor at International level until this type dirty tactics is gone. Not tackling totally but the Shawcrosses etc of the game…

  12. simon

    October 12, 2010 at 5:59 am

    “Injuries are an unfortunate consequence of playing a contact sport.” Total & utter bollocks.

    They will be an inevitable consequence of playing teams with Pulis, Allardyce & McCarthy in charge as they send their opponent s out to kick their more skilful opponents out of the game. Career threatening injuries are a consequence of this, rarely regular proper tackles.

  13. jleau

    October 11, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    I appreciate that the game is physical and that is one of the aspects of the English game that is great. However, this idea that part of that is to see a tier of players that are just plain wreckless in challenges is just wrong.

    To suggest that DeJong’s tackle wasn’t wreckless and dirty is just nonsense. I don’t know what the guy was thinking, but what he wasn’t thinking is “if I miss this I might cripple my opponent.”

    Injuries will happen but they can and should be minimized and it’s out of hand in England. Any player that makes a challenge that is likely to or does cause a crippling injury needs to be punished severely. I’m not sure what that punishment should be but crying after the damage is done and taking a 3 game break is not enough.

  14. Toon Stew

    October 11, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    I don’t think there should suddenly be a massive knee jerk reaction to basically ban tackling from the game, some are just unlucky but there have been some poor challenges recently and the worrying thing is that people are not even being punished for them in terms of red cards never mind subsequent harsher action.

    May be slightly biased as a Newcastle fan but De Jong’s tackle on Ben Arfa for me was wreckless and the fact that not even a free kick was given is a disgrace as is the way the FA are sweeping it under the carpet basically because we are not one of the big clubs.

    How many shocking tackles does this guy have to make before something is done? He has broken 2 legs in the last year and pretty much nearly kicked a hole through Xabi Alonso’s chest yet for those 3 challenges he simply picked up 2 bookings!!

    • IanCransonsKnees

      October 12, 2010 at 1:52 am

      Doesn’t matter because Ben Arfa doesn’t play for Arsenal. If the situation had been reversed and Ben Arfa broke De Jong’s leg Newcastle, Ben Arfa and Chris Hughton would be getting crucified.

      • Why?

        October 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm

        Ian, I beg to differ if it would have been the other way round I don’t think there would have been a problem at all. In fact other than the Injury as I‘ve said before, not one of the pitch folk and torch carrying buffoon posse would have even noticed this tackle (all though they will say they would have). I put it to you that most of the problem for De Jong comes from the tackle on Alonso which went unpunished in the world cup final. Many people, ex-pros and Managers are very divided (and not just City fans that’s a fact) on the Ben Arfa tackle with many saying it was a ‘hard but fair’ tackle (not even a free kick) and many saying it was excessive (which would have been a foul and maybe a yellow) many of the later do seem have an axes to grind regarding either the American player Holden (mainly on here) or the World cup tackle on Alonso which was awful granted and should have been a straight red but what is taking place seems to be like dishing out punishment after the horse has bolted so to speak. I have seen many, many worse tackles some thateven ended the careers of players with less coverage than any of nonsense surrounding De Jong and I’m sorry but anybody saying they haven‘t are simply lying or have only seen 10-20 games in there lives, max. You have to ask yourself why is there such an uproar about this? To be fair all the pundits on both the live coverages that I’ve seen and MOTD2 agree with the ‘hard but fair’ view as did the Ref and Liner (who both say they seen the tackle) they are not all favouring De Jong for any reason, it’s no skin of there nose’s to hang him surely it’s just there opinions?
        If Marseille do take this to court (I don’t think they will) I think they will lose and will also be counter sued, but if they did win can you imagine how this would change the face of football around the World not just the prem, no one would tackle at all in case they mistimed or were late and they got sued, the game as we know it would be totally ruined.
        Ian can I see your not a fan of Arsenal or more likely not a Wenger fan, it’s obvious why as he is the biggest hypocrite in the Premier league, his teams have one of the worse disciplinary records (red card wise) since he took over (nobody seems to mention this though, why?) yet he waffles on like his player’s are all saints just because they are not as bad as a they were a few seasons ago, granted they have had a few bad injuries cause by it must be said bad tackles but the fact they haven’t caused to many injuries themselves is down to luck. (if you want to disagree just on look on you tube and if anyone is thick I post some)

        Toon Stew, I don’t think De Jong was booked for the tackle on Holden leaving it at 1 yellow card for the Alonso tackle which in fairness to the Ref he was in a situation where if he sent the player off he may have been accused to ruining the Worlds most popular sporting event (a hard decision for him to make). He just didn’t have the bottle, as a City fan I wish he had sent him off as it may well have stopped this over the top man hunt for De Jong we’re seeing now.

  15. Chris McQuade

    October 11, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Yes, there is. For this argument to hold water the ‘accidental’ injury rate would have to be similar world-wide. It isn’t, it’s higher in the Premier League because of the ‘don’t like it up ’em’ mentality.

    Dave Busst, Djibril Cisse, Henrik Larsson. Accidents.

    Ben Arfa, Eduardo, Ramsey. Not Accidents.

    I’ve watched that tackle several times. De Jong wins the ball with his left foot cleanly with some downward force. He then, unnecessarily, sweeps his right leg. That scissors motion is what breaks Ben Arfa’s leg, not the force of the tackle. I’m not in the man’s mind so I cannot determine intention but hell if it doesn’t LOOK intentional to me. (Not to break his leg there’s no way to know you’ll do that, rather to ‘get’ him).

    So Injuries can happen – broken legs in English football are endemic not systemic.

    To shout at me about this just @ me on twitter: Kipp9

    • Evan

      October 12, 2010 at 7:41 am

      You sir, are an idiot.

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