Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Horror foul sparks debate in England
by Mike Woitalla, February 25th, 2008 6:45AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  brazil, england

MOST COMMENTED

Arsene Wenger's initial reaction to the foul by Birmingham's Martin Taylor that inflicted multiple fractures on Arsenal forward Eduardo's leg was that Taylor should be banned for life. While others came to Taylor's defense -- claiming the cleats-up lunge was unintentional and that he did not have a record of thuggish play -- the incident has forced a reexamination of the English league's attitude toward reckless tackling.

In the postgame interview, Wenger said: "I think this guy [Taylor] should never play football again. ... The tackle was horrendous and unforgivable. When these tackles happen, they always say that he is not that sort of player. But you only have to kill someone once and you have a dead person."

Wenger later toned down: "On reflection, I feel that my comments about Martin Taylor were excessive. I said what I did immediately after the game in the heat of the moment. It was a highly emotional afternoon and we were all shocked by the injury to Eduardo."

Eduardo, a 24-year-old Brazilian who plays for the Croatian national team, was fouled by Taylor three minutes into Saturday's game. Taylor was ejected.

The Arsenal Web site reported on Sunday that Eduardo underwent surgery on Saturday evening and that he suffered breaks to his shin, fibula and ankle.

"Martin's not a dirty player," said Birmingham manager Alex McLeish. "He's distraught over Eduardo's injury."

Some TV pundits, such as former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen, also defended Taylor, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound defender who's nickname is "Big Tiny."

"It's early on in the game, he's trying to find his feet, and he nearly gets the ball but Eduardo just nips it away from him," said Hansen. "It is a red card, he mistimed the tackle, but the only person that can tell you if there is real intent is the player himself."

Martin Taylor's wife, Viki, was quoted as saying, "Look, he's not like that. He's just a gentle giant."

But there's no doubt that Taylor went into the tackle with his cleats up. In an interview from the hospital with EFE news agency, Eduardo was quoted as saying, "... To make the tackle like he did, that can only be with bad intention."

International Herald Tribune columnist Rob Hughes cited a quote from Graeme Souness when he was Taylor's coach at Blackburn in 2002.

"For Tiny, being physical is an area where he is short," Souness said. "With a body like he has, I want him to be a bully. But he is too nice -- he is perfect son-in-law material, but I don't want a team of son-in-laws!"

Hughes wrote that, "Those comments seem to encompass the ethos of the British approach to the sport it gave to the world. The emphasis on physical aggression comes at a cost of ball skills, and is a reason why England is not going to the European championships. It was eliminated by Croatia's quality, and by Eduardo's goals."

Patrick Barclay's article in the Telegraph on the incident was headlined, "Football's rulers allowing brutality to flourish." He writes that the English officials' permissive attitude toward reckless tackles makes the Taylor-Eduardo incident come as little surprise:

"More than three years ago, I wrote that the refereeing regime headed by Keith Hackett, himself a former official at England's top level, was too permissive and that dangerous tackles were being inadequately punished in the interests of 'managing the game' so that dismissals were kept to a minimum. ...

"Years of worrying about relatively trivial matters like diving -- the media have been as guilty as anyone of setting a fool's agenda -- had allowed wild tackles to acquire an air of semi-legitimacy."

Barclay also faults the English FA's policy of setting a three-game ban as the maximum punishment for a red-card tackle.

"Martin Taylor may have been to blame for yesterday's incident ... but the whole football establishment in this country is guilty," Barclay writes. "Other players have kicked fellow professionals out of the game this season. It is intolerable. If football will not police itself, the police may have to do it for them - and what a disgrace that would represent."

So gruesome was the Eduardo's injury that Sky TV did not show a replay.

"The reaction of Cesc Fabregas told me it was a bad injury so I quickly looked at the replay," said Sky match director Grant Best. "That told me it was a very bad injury and we weren't going to show it. It looked like his foot was hanging from his leg. It is the most horrific injury I have seen in 13 years of working in football ..."



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Guus Huddink    
"If you have done some judo and wrestling, you can easily fall. Even at my age, ...
Video Pick: Big goalkeeper blooper punished with volley    
In the German Bundesliga 2, first-place Freiburg led last-place Paderborn, 2-0, when goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow shanked ...
Making a List: U.S. Copa Centenario representation    
A total of 59 players representing 27 teams in the MLS, NASL and USL were named ...
Copa Centenario: Complete preliminary rosters    
The preliminary 40-player rosters for the 16 teams competing this summer's Copa Centenario were released. These ...
Copa Centenario: Jamaica has heavy U.S. influence    
Other than the USA with 19 players, all in MLS, no team has more players based ...
What They're Saying: Afghani Mohammad Arif Ahmadi    
"I sold all my belongings and brought my family out of Afghanistan to save my son's ...
Crowd Count: NASL openers down 37 percent    
Only two of the nine returning NASL teams -- its two Canadian teams, Ottawa and FC ...
MLS Rookie Watch: Three make immediate impact    
Jordan Morris is just one of three rookies who have been starting regularly since the start ...
Jordan Morris heeds advice from new Sounders sage    
It took six games before rookie Jordan Morris scored his first MLS goal, but he hasn't ...
What They're Saying: Bangkok monk assistant Korpsin Uiamsa-ard    
"They wear Leicester's white away-game jerseys and chant its name while watching the game." -- Korpsin ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives