Sir Alex Ferguson has called for every two-footed tackle to be answered with a red card and argued that the automatic three-game ban should be increased for offenders.
After a week that featured red cards for over-the-top tackles by Liverpools Peter Crouch and Tottenhams Didier Zokora, and yellow cards for challenges that appeared worse, the Manchester United manager demanded the same stringent penalty for every challenge. Otherwise, he said, they would become issues decided in the courts rather than football stadiums.
Weve got to stop these kind of tackles because otherwise someone is going to be put out of the game, Ferguson said. And then all the recriminations will start. People will start suing and it will be decided in the courts. I dont want to see that.
The other issue is to ask whether a three-match ban is enough for these tackles? Im wondering whether it should be more for dangerous tackles. A player can get a three-game ban for slapping an opponent in the face, like Wayne Rooney did with Tal Ben Haim against Bolton a couple of years ago, while a two-footed tackle gets a yellow card. Its crazy.
This week illustrates Fergusons concerns. On Saturday, referee Steve Bennett gave a yellow card to Aston Villas Craig Gardner for a waist-high assault on Sunderlands Dwight Yorke. Three days later, Bennett merely cautioned Steed Malbranque for scything down Manchester Citys Vedran Corluka during Tottenhams Carling Cup victory at Eastlands. In the same match, Zokora was dismissed for what appeared a much less serious challenge on Elano.
Flexibility has got too one-sided, he said. The referee cant win. For the sake of the game Ive convinced myself that, even if its one of my players, he should get a red card. And if its wrong, a red card can be rescinded the next day. If its a yellow card, you cant look at it again. Thats the problem.