Newcastle United midfielder and France international Hatem Ben Arfa wants tougher punishments for horror tackles. Ben Arfa returned to training this week and is hoping to make a return to action before the end of the season. The player has been out of action since suffering a double leg fracture last October. The injury was a result of a quite awful challenge by Manchester City player Nigel De Jong in which he didn’t even receive a yellow card.
Ben Arfa said on the incident “I do not want to come down on the referees, but we still have to protect players a little more so if he wants to tackle like this again he thinks twice.”
There were also complications that could have led to the amputation of his leg; he said “I needed a second operation because I had an infection. It was a big infection which could have been very dangerous. I was told that I could have had my leg cut off if they didn’t operate on me very quickly.”
This is certainly not the first time we have had this debate. Horror tackles are part of the game and players should receive severe punishments. Dangerous and reckless challenges should receive red cards but that doesn’t always happen. Part of the problem is that players feel they can get away with it and in the worse case they will receive a red card and be banned for 1-3 games. But what would need to be done to stop players making these tackles in the first place?
One option would be to bring in automatic extended bans for such tackles. If a player received a 10 match ban for a dangerous tackle then they would surely think twice before doing it again. However, what concerns me is that players do get wrongly accused of committing dangerous tackles and how would you decide on who should get the extended bans?
Overall I fear that bad tackles are part of the game and they will continue to happen from time to time. It does seem to me that dangerous and reckless tackles should carry more than a standard ban. Players need to realise that there are severe consequences for horror tackles, but until the right deterrents are put in place then players will continue to think they can simply get away with it.
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