Posted tagged ‘Nigel de Jong’

Football wars

October 12, 2010

Readers of this blog may know that I am a supporter of English premiership club Newcastle United. Just over a week ago the club experienced a major blow when one of its new star players, Hatem Ben Arfa, suffered a major injury when his leg was broken twice as a result of a tackle by Manchester City and Netherlands player Nigel de Jong. Ben Arfa will now be out of action for several months, perhaps for the rest of the season. If you have a strong stomach, you can see the incident here.

The extraordinary thing about the tackle and its result is that the referee didn’t even see a foul, never mind something suggesting a harsher judgement. Indeed de Jong, as crime parlance might put it, was ‘known to the police’. In the World Cup finals in South Africa he was seen doing a similarly outrageous tackle, here.

Soccer, like many team sports, can be a fairly rugged game, and injuries happen. However there must be limits, and where these are exceeded there should be consequences. In that context, the reported decision by the Football Association to take no action over the tackle on Ben Arfa seems to me at least to be hard to understand. If such over-the-top conduct on the field is completely unpunished, then it suggests a type and style of football, and perhaps a kind of conduct off the football pitch, that is aggressive and violent is acceptable. It should not be.