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Was Dowd Wrong?

It`s easy to feel some sympathy with Robbie Keane in the context of fouls that are usually allowed in the English game but if his sending off against Birmingham marks a hardening of attitudes to this type of tackle I applaud it. His tackle was reckless and potentially dangerous. There have been worse this season. Hleb in particular suffered nasty fouls against West Ham and Sunderland only one of which received a red card.

Cynics will argue along the lines that football will be the poorer if the game becomes a non contact sport. There is some danger of that and it will always be a fine line to judge whether a foul is reckless or not. By reckless I mean that it is made without due consideration of whether there is a significant risk of injuring a player or not. There has to be an element of risk in any physical contact. It is ironic that Muamba who was on the receiving end of Keane`s tackle was unhurt and then went on to tackle Bale fairly, which resulted in Bale going off. But I don`t think that it should be beyond the wit of officials to decide whether a tackle has at least a 50% chance of success or not though I also accept that this will always be subjective. That is also the case at present though, as referees have to judge intent which is entirely subjective and even harder to measure in my view.

Carew`s tackle on Hleb on Saturday wasn`t dangerous but it was intentional and as he had no chance of winning the ball it should have been deemed reckless and therefore resulted in a mandatory red.

I doubt whether the appetite for hardening the rules to eliminate reckless tackles exists in the English game. The fear that we will lose something (passion, commitment, and fight) will prevail amongst the popular press and pundits here for some time. Hardly a weekend goes by without some pundit advocating that a struggling team needs to 'get into them` 'let them know you`re up for it` 'bring them down` 'foul him if you have to`. On the other hand clubs losing increasingly expensive players for substantial parts of the season should focus the thoughts of club owners and some managers in favour of some greater protection of their assets.

I really wouldn`t like to see football become a non-contact sport. A brilliantly timed tackle is a much greater skill than any number of stepovers, but I don`t think the game will suffer at all from a reduction in the type of tackles that Keane and Carew made at the weekend. It would simply encourage better tackling skills and maybe permit those that can tackle well to receive greater acknowledgement of their skills.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday December 3 2007

Time: 2:42PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I think a yellow card would have done for Keane. Ironically, Huddlestone made a two footed challenge minutes earlier and not even a foul was given.
Little Dutch
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03/12/2007 14:47:00

Melchiot was also sent off for a dangerous challenge and he had got away with one a bit earlier in the same game. Keane though, was unlucky to go. clearly a foul but if thats a red card, every prem match would finish 5 a side. Carews was worse than Keane's. what I dont like is the way some teams/managers/pundits seem to think its OK to go out to play the game in a manner that wont allow the opposition to attack. ie foul regularly. it ruins too many games, but the stakes are so high these days that teams are prepared to do anything to get a result.
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03/12/2007 15:14:00

you know, when i see a player going for another player when the ball is no where near and he was out to damage the player, well thats one thing, mistimed and late is another altogether, and both carew and keane was just pure late and clumsy and no intentional. how would players have lived with norman hunter for those of us that remember him, they played with heavier boots and heavier balls and you never heard them wimping off moaning and diving around like they have been shot. i think some of the modern footballer's are the biggest bunch of girls blouses and should only look at their rugby counterparts to know what the meaning of a man's game is. for godsake, stop being poofs. get tough and stop complaining, used to be a time when football was a contact sport and sorted out the poofs from the men, now they just run around, do a little dance and fall over if you just blow them a kiss..... oooh chase me darling chase me !
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03/12/2007 16:09:00

How you can say that Carew's tackle on Hleb was not dangerous is hard to understand, if it was not dangerous how come he got indjured? by falling down? if keane's tackle was a read card (which I don't think is correct) then Carew's was a red card.
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03/12/2007 16:11:00

In hockey (sorry, I can't help it, I'm Canadian) if a player shows or commits intent to injure, the offending player is normally hit with a major penalty and game misconduct, then immediately the incident is reviewed by the NHL to determine suspension, fines and/or further punishment as required. Fortunately this doesn't happen often because A] hockey players wear protective equipment that can absorb more abuse than exposed ankles and shins, and B] they know the consequences of their actions! In football, I don't think it would be good to completely remove contact, or even disuade slide tackles, etc. but I do think it would do some good to hold players accountable for their actions. If they know the results of their actions could be reviewed outside of the game and further punishable, it might just handcuff some of the mindless goons who otherwise seem to get away with the harsher contact. When a player gets past you with skill, the risk now becomes worth it to take him out....9 times out of 10 it seems the harshest result sadly is a mere yellow. What if that yellow on the field could turn into a six game suspension (in a truly harsh case that is) after the PL has a chance to scroll through multiple camera angles and slow motion? I think less players would include these last-ditch dangerous tackles in their repetoir.
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03/12/2007 16:37:00

can't really compare the two sports can you they are totally different in all aspects. might as well compare football to netball or tennis if you are going to do so.
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03/12/2007 16:42:00

I beg to differ - take away the ice and sticks my friend.
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03/12/2007 17:15:00

And you have loads of huge blokes padded up struggling to move on the grass in their ice skates??
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03/12/2007 17:24:00

His tackle was innocuous and any more hardening of the rules and they'll ruin the game. It was a free kick, maybe a yellow, but a straight red? Nope, this is not meant to be a girlie game.
The Fear
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03/12/2007 17:26:00

I have another couple of questions: 1. How do people know for certain that Dowd consulted Urriah Rennie about the tackle? Did someone lip-read? 2. Keane's challenge was late, studs-first and 2-footed. That is why I see it as a red card offence. I don't think it is a question of being a girlie or macho sport, it was an illegal challenge with great potential for injuring the opponent (although not intentional) and that's crossing the line in my book. In order for a player to see red we should not wait to see blood, fractures and torn ligaments.
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03/12/2007 17:47:00

I agree with a lot of the sentiments above, but not the rugby one. On a weekly basis you see rugby players in trouble for acts of appalling violence, rugby players court just as much trouble in their personal lives as footballers, being polite to referees doesn't remove that.
Little Dutch
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03/12/2007 18:58:00

Yeah okay Rocky...and replace the puck with a ball.....etc, etc, I get it! ha. The point wasn't meant as a comparison of sports, but more of an example of how another sport manages dangerous contact effectively. There are similar positive examples of discipline in many other sports of course - just chose Hockey because it's my second favorite sport that's all. sorry, perhaps a bad analogy afterall.
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03/12/2007 20:55:00

Concerns about restricting the ability to tackle are predictable and understandable but also misplaced. If Carew hadn't made that tackle we might have seen a great piece of play as Hleb ran into the box and maybe a well worked goal. We might have seen a brilliant piece of defensive play or maybe a world class save. We would certainly have seen more of Hleb which is no bad thing for the game of football. What you can say with absolute certainty is that the game wouldn't have suffered if Carew had felt unable to make that tackle. The same goes for Keane. His team were in no immediate danger from Muambas possession with play in that area of the pitch and Keane had very little chance of winning the ball. The game wouldn't have lost anything had the time to make a tackle been chosen more wisely. The fear that the game goes soft or that we end up with with 4 or 5 players being sent off is an understandable over reaction. Players will simply learn to tackle when it's needed and tackle better. Just as they have learnt not to take their shirts off in goal celebrations.
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03/12/2007 21:05:00

I dont think Carew's card was a red because of intent to injure, it is the least bad of many horrible tackles Hleb has been victim of this season. It was a red card because he tried to stop Hleb breaking into the box, from behind, with no intent for the ball, because it was the less dangerous option than waiting to see what happened if he did get in the box. I understand the belief that football will become a girls game if reds are given off handed but, sorry to all you who believe any different, football is already very much a girls game. Look at Youngs dive, Ronaldo made two when they were already two goals up against Fulham which is just cheating cos it is his first instinct, Eboue regularly acts as if he has been hit by a train and Dani Alves the other night, well let me just say he makes me 6 year old female cousin look like Vinnie Jones or Terry Butcher. Watch a game of womens football if you think i'm full of *****, you can barely tell the difference. It is much more of a worry to the sport that Carew felt comfortable making such a clearly intentional foul in such an area of the pitch, knowing full well he wouldnt get a red card.
Ozi Gooner
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04/12/2007 01:47:00

Its one thing for a defender to take a guy out of a play, or out of the game, but taking a guy out for the season (or potentially doing so) should be jumped on by refs. The 2 footed studs up is lethal, and getting hit by it is somewhat less than poofy. Still think Keane is hard done by. Di he go IN with his studs, or did they show as he completed the tackle?
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04/12/2007 01:54:00

LD, i think you have one horror tackle in a while with rugby, not as often and normally ten times worse that football. my point is, if a tackle goes in and its a bad one, most of the time the player gets up and is ok to carry on, if it were serious, like Hlebs he wouldn't get up and couldn't carry on.. keanes tackle wasn't dangerous the player got up and carried on.
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04/12/2007 08:21:00

I disagree, Keanes tackle was reckless and could have caused an injury. That it didn't was just fortunate. The average prem team commits 14 fouls a game. Reckless tackles on average are no more than 1 or 2 a game with some teams more culpable than others. Discouraging these tackles takes no more than about 10% of the fouls out of the game. It won't alter the game as a spectacle. The game earlier this season against Man City was a pretty even contest and by and large played without this kind of reckless tackling though Hamman did get booked and Richards gave away a penalty. It wasn't tackle free but both sides managed 20 each with a 90% success rate. The average tackle success rate in the Premiership is around 75% with some teams obviously less than this. The point is that the game wasn't ruined as an event because tackles were in general more measured.
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04/12/2007 09:11:00

PG - Just because Djourou was able to get up and carry on that means the tackle wasn't dangerous? Can't agree with that at all. Djourou got lucky thats all. That said I don't think there was any malice from Keane, just a mistimed tackle!!
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04/12/2007 09:41:00

It is no coincidence that all the players' tackles you're talking about are strikers.. the fact is that even Ade made a tackle in the Villa game against Bouma (?) where he had no chance of winning the ball.. Keane was unlucky because his feet never really got off the ground.. Carew's tackle was as bad as Ade's and both got yellow's.. I think what we, as fans should worry about is the consistency of refereeing which is non-existant.
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04/12/2007 09:45:00

The fact is that players can make reckless challenges because they believe the punishment will be minimal. If they know the punishment may outweigh the advantage then they will think more carefully. In fact this already goes on in the game as any player will think more carefully about the tackle he makes inside his own penalty area for fear of giving away a penalty. All that a hardening of attitudes towards reckless tackles will do is bring this same thought process into players minds when tackling outside the box. Fewer injuries, less breaks in play and football wins. Why would anyone oppose that?
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04/12/2007 09:57:00

It's interesting that watching the Chelski and Spammers game, I thought Spammers were over physical in the 1st half. Yet at the end of the game I think Chelski had 5 yellow cards, and the Spammer 3. That to me is astonishing, and you can see why the complain about being singled out
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04/12/2007 13:28:00

as it turned out, Dowd did not consult Rennie for the red card.
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04/12/2007 14:17:00

Where did you read that G4L? I was doubtful that Dowd consulted Rennie in the 1st place. Everyone was jumping on Dowd's back only coz the commentators said so, and we all know they talk *****. Dowd immediately signalled to Keane after the foul, so he definitely saw the foul and intended to punish him. I still didnt think it was a red, so Dowd needs to take full responsibility for the decision.
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04/12/2007 14:32:00

it's all over prits: dailynews, telegraph etc. He informed him that he was sending him off and that's it. It just proves how much influence the commentators have because it was them who started this witch hunt. To me it was a red, but it is a different discussion that one.
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04/12/2007 15:57:00

Cheers G4L. Most times, I prefer to watch the game in a pub - with the volume muted !!
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04/12/2007 16:28:00

he was right to give keane the red card, he was beyond late with both feet forced into the guys body.
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05/12/2007 05:32:00


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