In the aftermath of the Leeds vs Aston Villa incident, many pundits have been chiming in their view on what they would have done if they had been in Marcelo Bielsa’s position. This time it was former England manager Sam Allardyce giving his opinion when speaking on TalkSPORT (Tuesday, 6am).
Allardyce believes that the Leeds boss shouldn’t have allowed Albert Adomah to score the equaliser immediately after Mateusz Klich put them 1-0 up as he felt the referee should have made the call to stop play.
The Whites continued to play despite the Clarets stopping after Jonathan Kodjia went down injured, following the goal Bielsa ordered his team to allow Villa an equaliser.
When asked if he would have given the opposition a goal Allardyce said on TalkSPORT (via thisisfutbol): “I wouldn’t have no, because it’s the referee’s responsibility to stop the game and the referee’s responsibility to assess the injury to the player and to decide whether to stop the game.
“It used to be used as a tactic to break the game up and the player wouldn’t be injured. That’s why a memo went round saying it was up to the referee.
“Just because they scored doesn’t mean that Leeds did anything wrong. Would he [Bielsa] have done it if he needed the points for promotion?”
Big Sam’s frank view on the incident could be construed as unsporting as Kodjia visibly wasn’t feigning injury on this occasion. But it does beg the question as to what should happen if future cases arise.
If this was in a playoff final what’s to say that a player couldn’t feign injury to avoid the opposition going on a dangerous attack? This incident may have opened up a can of worms. Either the referees need to take control or the rule book needs to be looked at.
At the moment the rules state that the referee can only stop play if a serious injury has occurred, however in Kodjia’s case it is a tough one to judge as he had to be substituted but managed to walk down the tunnel on his own.
If the official doesn’t make the call to stop the game players feel obliged to put the ball out of play. This could bring about further problems, as the 64-year-old says it could be used as a tactic to halt an opposing team’s momentum. Therefore it could become unclear as to what the protocol is in future cases if it becomes more prevalent.
All in all, it has to be deemed that Bielsa did the right thing in allowing Villa a goal on this occasion. Allardyce disagrees, but when you think of the word sportsmanship, the former England boss certainly isn’t the first name that springs to mind.