CHICAGO (Friday, November 19, 2004) - Certain tackles in a pair of recent professional matches (10/9/04) have highlighted the need to protect the safety of players by firmly removing those whose misconduct clearly warrants their being sent off and shown the red card. The examples emphasize the need for consistency in applying Law 12: Fouls and Misconduct and for recognizing the characteristics of tackles which deserve a red card.
The three clips below should be studied carefully in connection with this serious problem:
- In the Dallas at Los Angeles match, Milton Reyes aggressively jumps in feet first, studs up, with legs extended, and tackles Marcelo Saragosa with no opportunity to play the ball.
- Ronnie Ekelund tackles through Diego Gutierrez's legs in the 28th minute of the Kansas City at San Jose match – with this attack coming from the side at high speed, Gutierrez has no opportunity to protect himself and Ekelund’s excessive force results in Gutierrez being upended.
- In the 86th minute of the same Kansas City/San Jose match, Davy Arnaud tackles Richard Mulrooney from behind – Arnaud’s left leg wraps around Mulrooney’s legs, while the right leg chops Mulrooney down.
In fact, this unsafe tackle by Arnaud might well have been implicitly encouraged by the failure to dispose properly of the earlier, equally dangerous tackle by Ekelund.
These are prime examples of challenges that must be punished according to the Law and must result in the red card being shown. Players who commit such tackles must not be allowed to continue participating in the match regardless of whether their misconduct occurs in the 1st minute or the 89th minute. Referees are expected to be vigilant in recognizing the characteristics of violent tackles and dealing properly with this behavior.