By Ollie Irish
This just in from the chairman of FIFA’s medical committee, a Belgian by the name of Michel D’Hooghe.
“I have made myself a compilation of hard tackles with dramatic consequences over the last two or three years in the most important competitions in the world,” D’Hooghe said at the ‘Leaders in Football’ conference.
“I do not dare to present it, it would take away your appetite. It is terrible. This must go out (of the game).
“Sometimes I call the referee the first doctor on the pitch, not because he has to have a medical knowledge, but because he has a role in that most important part of medicine, namely prevention.
“This is my wish, that all that brutality that sometimes goes close to criminality on the pitch is thrown out in the interest of our players and of a nice football game.
“If you permit yourself to end the career of your colleague in the other shirt, why should I say that you should come back after 14 days? I think you should sanction these things very severely, that means a long, long expulsion from the game.”
Pies says: FIFA suit in ‘talking sense’ shock! But just how do you go about changing the mindset of players like Nigel de Jong or Karl Henry? That’s so much easier said than done. It’s up to the football authorities first to sanction the “long expulsions” that D’Hooghe rightly speaks of, but also up to managers to make it clear to their players that such tackles are not acceptable. In England especially, a cultural shift is necessary, which obviously won’t happen in a matter of days.