Why the FA would do well to back Wenger’s call

Football FanCast guest
columnist
Dan Machin agrees with Arsene Wenger call for a special
committee to be set up to deal with cases of foul play.

Arsene Wenger has again emphasised his view that players
guilty of dangerous tackling should receive longer suspensions.

The Arsenal manager believes that a special committee could
be formed to deal with cases of dangerous play, ruling whether a three-game ban
is sufficient or not.

Incidents over the last week, notably Kevin Nolan's
challenge on Victor Anichebe, have sparked debate as to whether such a
committee would have a place in the modern game.

If somebody has gone into a tackle with the intent to injure
a player then they should face a longer ban, and perhaps even a heavier fine.
After all, putting players' careers at risk has no place what so ever in the
game we all know and love.

Wenger's idea of a ten-match ban does seem rather long;
maybe if it were to be a six game suspension this would be more suitable. The
reality of these dangerous tackles receiving just a three game ban seems like
the culprits are getting off too lightly considering what innocuous and
petulant things red cards are dished out for nowadays. There should be some
form of more severe punishment.

The sticking point would be in deciding what actually was
intentional or purely just an accident – a very thin line indeed. We must not
forget football is a contact sport. Many players are admired for their tenacity
and ability when tackling – it has become part and parcel of the game.

Unfortunately, as the stakes in football are now so high,
players feel they must do anything they can to help them win – and into this
bracket comes play-acting. On too many occasions do we see highly paid
professionals rolling about on the floor in apparent agony after a challenge in
an attempt to con the referee. This can make the job of officials almost
impossible. The formation of a committee to handle dangerous play should do
nothing to deter players from still being fully committed when it comes to
tackling, as every season thousands are cleanly made and just a handful are
really bad. Players would go a long well to helping themselves if all the
play-acting could be cut out – as it is this that makes tackles, often fair ones;
look ten times worse than they actually are.

All in all, a panel handling
such issues can only be good for the game. Yet, this season we have seen the FA
turn its back on some despicable behaviour on the football field; Ronaldo
kicking out at an opponent on more than one occasion and also Bosingwa for that
stamp on the back of Benayoun – all have gone bewilderingly unpunished. What is
to say that this special committee would be any different in its decision
making to that of the FA? – Of which we have all become so accustomed to.