TALKING TACTICS: Law on challenges needs clarity

Kieran Trippier receives his marching orders at Elland Road
Kieran Trippier receives his marching orders at Elland Road

SCOUT Phil Smith takes a look the current climate in terms of tackling and red cards.

“Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force and endangering the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play”

The above quote is an extract from Law 12.

At face value it seems relatively simple to understand, however, in reality, that is far from the case.

The governing body must eradicate the air of interpretation which leaves managers, players and supporters scratching their heads as to what constitutes a foul.

I apologise to those expecting a review of the Middlesbrough game, but after witnessing yet another example of poor officiating at The Etihad Stadium last Wednesday, I required a forum to vent my displeasure at the lack of consistency ruining the beautiful game.

Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Brad Friedel offered the view that the common sense factor has been almost removed from a referee’s decision, and I am inclined to agree.

Indeed, I would go slightly further and suggest that our officials are perhaps in such fear of missing an incident, that they begin to punish those which don’t even exist.

I do not care that his appeal was rejected by the Football Association, if Chris Foy had used a bit of common sense, Vincent Kompany would not be serving a four-match ban.

Yes, he used both feet, but it was the perfect tackle!

The reaction of Nani, in which he carried on with the game, provides the clearest indication as to his thoughts on the matter.

Nonetheless, if his challenge was judged to be reckless and it made perfectly clear that all two footed tackles are liable to the same punishment, at least we would all know where we stood on the matter.

However, Glen Johnson didn’t even receive a caution for his reckless lunge on Joleon Lescott. How is that fair?

Why are we not seeing the same standard of decision every single week?

On the same note, how on earth was Nenad Milijas`s challenge against Arsenal, in December, worthy of a red card?

Supporters pay good money to see a fair battle between two opposing teams.

Poor decisions are ruining the football experience, and this must not be allowed to continue.

It could be argued that we would have gone on to beat Leeds United were it not for the farcical second caution given to Kieran Trippier (pictured).

We lacked width against Norwich City, and was the omission of Kieran partly to blame?

It may be clutching at straws to suggest that we could have still been in the FA Cup, but we would certainly have stood a stronger chance with him in the side.

The argument of human error is null and void.

How often does a cricket umpire make an incorrect decision?

One man is entrusted to make the correct call, whilst we have the referee and two assistants, yet still errors are visible with an alarming regularity.

Is there a theory to suggest that those controlling the game should have some previous playing experience?

If your only taste of the sport is through the rulebook, can you have the ability to make a reasoned judgement as to the actions of an individual on the football pitch?

Rules are rules and if law X, Y or Z allows for interpretation, would a former player make a more informed assessment?

I am inclined to believe so, as it is increasingly apparent that those in charge are taking the safe option time and time again, and this is killing the game we all love so much.

Premier League referees chief Mike Riley needs to either eradicate the inconsistency blighting the sport, or step aside and find somebody who can.