Manchester City have written to Mike Riley, head of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL). It comes after, what some consider, a disproportionate amount of poor tackles on Manchester City players.
It’s not necessarily the tackles, but the lack of punishment which has been highlighted by City boss, Pep Guardiola. The ex Barcelona boss has called for protection for all players in the league, not just his, as injuries mount up.
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Injuries to Phil Foden and Leroy Sane, along with poor tackles on Kevin DeBruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Brahim Diaz led to the concern. Not a single one of these poorly times, high and late tackles reduced the offending team to ten men. Yellows were dished out in most cases, which meant retrospective bans couldn’t be issued.
That is one of the points the Manchester City letter has raised. The fact that the criteria retrospective actions should be able to be issued, even if the referee has made a call that it was only a yellow at the time.
We currently have a situation within the game in which a player can be banned if he is judged to have conned the referee in the winning of a penalty. That can be issued, even though the referee had the same potential to see the incident as he does a poor tackle.
There are not many voices against this being the case. We all want to see diving to win penalties eradicated out of the game, but these tackles? Not so much. Some ex players and pundits have even made the comment that Pep should get used to the ‘English’ game.
Tackles that are late and badly timed have always been outlawed. In the 1970’s and 1980’s there were red cards for poorly timed tackles. Dave Wagstaffe, of Blackburn Rovers, was the first English league player to be sent off in 1976, although that was for verbal reasons.
We had no hesitation in sending off players when they deny a goal scoring opportunity. That is considered unsportsmanlike, but going in thigh high on a player is just something we just have to deal with? If that is the mentality the English game is going to take then I fear for its future.