Are the laws of the game somehow different in England?

Serious foul play

A player is guilty of serious foul play if he uses excessive force or brutality against an opponent when challenging for the ball when it is in play.

A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as serious foul play.

Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force and endangering the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play.

Advantage should not be applied in situations involving serious foul play unless there is a clear subsequent opportunity to score a goal. The referee shall send off the player guilty of serious foul play when the ball is next out of play.

A player who is guilty of serious foul play should be sent off and play is restarted with a direct free kick from the position where the offence occurred (see Law 13 – Position of Free Kick) or a penalty kick (if the offence occurred inside the offender’s penalty area).

Law 12: Laws of the Game, 2009/2010, English, FIFA

I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. On Saturday, when I saw Karl Henry slide in, from behind, two-footed, and take Rosicky out my first thought was “that’s a red card” but sitting there and listening to the announcers say that it wasn’t a red card and that it was harsh made me wonder if maybe, just maybe I don’t know the rules of the game.

So, I looked them up and the results are quoted above. Now, with those rules in mind, watch this video:

And while we are at it, here’s the video of Henry standing on Theo Walcott’s leg after a challenge from behind — note that the official is looking right at this foul.

I think the rules are pretty clear, “A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as serious foul play.” And, “Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force and endangering the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play.”

So, why is it that when Taylor lunged at Eduardo, used excessive force which resulted in the broken leg and thus clearly endangered the player’s safety, why is it that Steve Bruce (Wigan boss at the time) can say that it wasn’t even a yellow card?

How is it that Ryan Shawcross scythes down Aaron Ramsey with a tackle which again obviously endangers the safety of Ramsey, is obviously excessive (do you need to use a leg breaking lunge to win the ball?) and which had no chance of winning the ball leads Tony Cascarino to say in his column that it’s not even a red card?

How come Mick McCarthy can applaud his player off the pitch and defend him in the press by claiming falsely that he won the ball after the horrible tackle which left Tomas Rosicky with stud marks on his calf and no one in the press calls him out on this? In fact, rather, the lickspittles on Fleet Street publish stories which allow Henry to call Arsenal players cheats, unchallenged and without even mentioning the rules of the game.

And how is it that Howard Webb sees Craig Gardner’s x-rated tackle on Cesc Fabregas, which bruised the bone just below the knee, and ignoring the rules about excessive force (just because you win the ball doesn’t mean you’re always right) and endangering the player and not only doesn’t give a red card, doesn’t even call a foul? Not even a foul?

In fact, in each case the assaulting player is widely defended as “not that kind of guy” and as “not having any malice” or most disgustingly “set to recover” mentally from the fact that they are a leg breaking thug.

In trying to make sense of this behavior I’ve decided that it’s actually a complex phenomena which players, managers, referees, and league officials suffer from one or more of the following symptoms:

Anti-Diving Crusaders: Otherwise rational human beings falsely believe that if a player goes to ground for anything less than an assault, it’s a “dive.” They proclaim loudly that diving is the worst thing to happen to football, that it needs to be “stamped out” (the perfect choice of words), and that diving is ruining the game. They do this with an absolutist religious fervor which clouds their judgment about whether certain teams (read Arsenal this year due to the Daily Mail’s campaign against Eduardo) deserve to get fouls called or whether they are just “diving” or “whinging” as Karl Henry accused today.

Kick them off the pitch Acolytes: Everyone loves an underdog and everyone loves it even more when the underdog does one over on the “big boys.” So when Sam Allardyce hatched his ingenuous plan of re-creating the Crazy Gang and put together a team of brutal thugs who managed to get as high as a Carling Cup final, every victory was applauded and every point relished as if they had won the Champions League. To this day, Allardyce is often reached for comment whenever someone talks about a small team roughing up a big club like Arsenal and to this day the common sense argument about Arsenal is that they “don’t like it up em.” Who does like it up ‘em?

Old-school-ism: Some parts of the rule above are relatively new, well, by relatively I mean “enacted in 1998, 12 years ago” So, for some people, slow people, people for whom simple statements like “the tackle from behind is now a red card” take 12 years to understand this whole crazy notion that a tackle from behind is a straight red card is foreign to them.

Xenophobia: When I hear Wayne Rooney say that English players don’t dive, despite the overwhelming evidence that Wayne Rooney is a serial diver, and the press simply give him a pass I have to wonder if there isn’t some xenophobia at work here… allegedly. We’ll know for sure when some English player breaks Wayne Rooney or James Millner’s legs.

Laziness: Teaching people to play football properly is hard. I mean, you have to dedicate time and energy to teaching the proper technique of how to make a tackle, when to go in, when to pull out, and how much force to use. Moreover, fewer teams would need to use less brutal tactics if they learned how to play actual football instead of simply being told to go get stuck in.

I mean, have you ever watched a Championship game? They are absolutely brutal. If you want to see the worst of English football, go check out a West Ham v. Millwall clash next season. If the tables end up the way they are looking, both teams might be in the Championship at the same time and footballing purists will be in for a real treat, I’m sure. Something that will rival the Arsenal v. Barcelona classic.

Signs are that England recognizes this deficiency and in building the new training facility at Burton have promised to emphasize technique over violence. If Clairefontane is any example this set up will take 10 years to start changing the culture of football in England.

I DIDN’T MEAN IT! This is the worst defense of all and the most prevalent. To hear it told, every player who ever broke another player’s leg (or two) is the sweetest, nicest guy on the planet. But where in the rule above is the mention of intent? Where does it say that the referee should check character references before deciding whether a challenge deserved a red card?

Should Howard Webb use his headphone to call Sir Alex Ferguson and ask if Shawcross is “that type of player” before deciding his punishment? No. I’m sorry, but if you tackled the way that Shawcross did or Taylor did, it’s excessive force and strictly outlawed by rule 12.

The only time intent comes into play is when the FA is deciding if there should be more than a three game ban.

Don’t take this from me, it’s all I’ve got left! I actually think this is the most prevalent reason why there are so many impassioned defenses of these brutal tackles. When a team is up against the wall, when the chips are down, they almost all want to be able to hit back at their opponents with a little physical play. As a result, everyone that I’ve talked to says that they don’t want to make football a non-contact sport and they are worried about losing that physicality.

But the problem isn’t that there’s only simple dualism; either the sport is non-contact or leg breaking isn’t punished. There’s a whole area where contact should be allowed up to a line and when you cross that line, when you use excessive force, endanger safety, tackle from behind, lunge, go in studs up, go in over the ball, or go into a challenge two footed you’ve crossed the line and it’s a red card.

Seems pretty clear to me, unless there are two sets of rules: one for the world and one for England. Did I miss the memo on that?

Serious foul play
A player is guilty of serious foul play if he uses excessive force or brutality
against an opponent when challenging for the ball when it is in play.
A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as
serious foul play.
Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the
front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force
and endangering the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play.
Advantage should not be applied in situations involving serious foul play unless
there is a clear subsequent opportunity to score a goal. The referee shall send
off the player guilty of serious foul play when the ball is next out of play.
A player who is guilty of serious foul play should be sent off and play is
restarted with a direct free kick from the position where the offence occurred
(see Law 13 – Position of Free Kick) or a penalty kick (if the offence occurred
inside the offender’s penalty area).

97 thoughts on “Are the laws of the game somehow different in England?

  1. Vote -1 Vote +1Fubu

    News Update: Song is ruled out of Barca leg.
    Either its just pure coincidence or there is some serious flaw in our training regime.
    One game i was looking forward for.. and all our top players are out of the game. Just can’t digest it.

    its time we get a new fitness coach.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Murt

      @Fubu, Well we can’t say that because if you look at the injuries they’re all fairly unique to each other. Song: cartilage, Fabregas: broken leg, Arshavin and Gallas: calf, RVP: ankle ligament damage, Gibbs: metatarsal, ramsey: shawcross and djourou did his knee getting on/off the plane on his way to international duty!

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1connolysagent

        @Murt, We get a lot of soft-tissue injuries and ligament injuries, our players take a long time to recover, and they tend to get serial injuries (e.g. Eduardo, Diaby, Arshavin, Gallas, Walcott). It’s either a failure in conditioning or a failure in diagnosis or treatment. Either way, it needs to be addressed.

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1highberries

    Commentator doesnt think he meant it, thats the stamp on Walcott, he didnt mean it but he tends to leave his foot there.

    Lol, I hate to say it but Arsenal probably need a player who does the revenge thing…lol. We would however finish most games with 10men, unless he was an ~English player perhaps.

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1j

    Yeah, just what i was thinking. Great write up.

    The thing that makes me laugh is this Henry prat, borderline accusing Arsenal players of being soft. This after he obliterated a player from behind and trod on a young guy’s calf with intent. Cowardly actions themselves.

    Quite frankly, i’m sick and fucking tired of it now. Excuse the bad language, but it was needed to emphasise the point. If rosicky’s studs had been in the turf then his leg would have been snapped like a dry twig. All thanks to a talentless nobody, clinging to ‘full bloodedness’ to make up for a lack of ability.
    The sooner this peon is gone from the top flight, the better.

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1LeeDixonsLoveChild

    Fantastic article, the best of 2010 by far!
    I’ve been trying to espouse these very points when I have my referee head on to several plebian ‘managers’ of amateur teams, but never as well written as this. Thankyou.
    Oh and by the way, I don’t care if you meant to do it or not. You did it. Now get off the pitch!

  5. Vote -1 Vote +1Passenal

    Fubu, Song’s injury has nothing to do with our training regime. He was injured in the game on Saturday and the scan today revealed something more serious.

    Good article by the way. I think the problem is that the people commentating on the game don’t actually know the rules so they continue to spout half-truths based on what they think the rules should be dependent upon the nationality of the victim and the perpetrator.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

      @Passenal, That’s it exactly. Commentators making up ‘anecdotal’ rules that have no basis in fact but are what they believe their beloved ‘English’ style should forever remain.

  6. Vote -1 Vote +1Marty McFly

    On a related note, I have been watching occasional Bundesliga & French League games… they are so much more fun to watch than the EPL. There is an inherent concern to actually play football that you rarely see in the EPL.

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1JoppaRoad

    I am an Arsenal fan through and through but I didn’t think it was a sending off. Arsenal fans are fast becoming the most whingy, paranoid bunch of supporters out there. Can you imagine Keown, Vieira, Adams etc moaning like pussies the way the modern day player and fan seems to?

    Get a grip.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1JoppaRoad

        So because I don’t think it was a red card you are questioning whether I am an Arsenal fan – what a joke.

        It was a foul, a booking. Jesus, it is a contact sport and yes players are sometimes late, yes players also use rough house tactics – something I wish our players would do from time to time. IMO I think the reaction of the Arsenal players got him sent off but I don’t mind this.

        Its just plain crazy and a little silly to go on and on every time there is a foul against us, its part of the game.

        On a different subject can somebody please tell me when the fans are actually going to start getting vocal at the Emirates? Its as embarrassing as the new badge the silence that can be witnessed on match days and don’t tell me you haven’t thought the same as well because you know its true.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Murt

        @JoppaRoad, Late and rough-house challenges are red card offenses.

        And i thought the atmosphere for the last two games was absolutely brilliant. I mean the fans practically pulled the ball into the barce net the other night!

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1TonyM

        so the stamp on walcotts leg wasn’t a foul either? you’ve been listening to alan hansen and mark lawrenson too much mate. relics from a far gone era.
        that was a red card and i applaud the referee for being brave enough to make that decision.
        la liga had double the reds that the premier league had last year. serie A had triple. what does that say to you. It tells me that too many referees are being influenced by old hacks like hansen and allowing x-rated tackles to go unpunished.
        result: abou diaby, eduardo, aaron ramsey, cesc fabregas!!

      4. Vote -1 Vote +1JoppaRoad

        Well if the fans can’t get up for Barcalona at home then what game can you get up for?

        Did I read somewhere that the Emirates might be trialing a standing area next season? I hope so. I don’t know if you have noticed the atmosphere in the German Bundisliga where the have a mix of seating and standing but the atmosphere is loud.

        I wonder if the new breed of Arsenal fan knows what it is to sing. Far too often there are long periods of just watching the game and only shouting when the team scores.

        As for the red card to me it wasn’t and I pay no attention to Hansen, Talkshite etc – I just don’t think it was.

      5. Vote -1 Vote +1b

        @JoppaRoad, Aye, ’tis a horrible thing this youth of today, getting everything handed to them on a silver platter! Not like it was in our day, walking to see the old Arsenal, barefoot, uphill both ways, through snowstorms and blizzards, but we still sang, yes we did.

      6. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        @JoppaRoad, you haven’t been to the Emirates this season I take it? I mean, because if you had you’d have seen atmosphere like this:

        You’re no Gooner if you’re going to spout all the same tired old arguments about “whinging Arsenal” and then call Emirates a “library.”

        Come on, mate, at least be a little subtle.

      7. Vote -1 Vote +1JoppaRoad

        mate, I have probably been an Arsenal supporter / follower a great deal longer than yourself but I for one don’t think the garden is always rosey. I think the fans are spoilt / lack passion and yes I think Wenger gets it wrong on a good few occassions in the big games.

        If you read what I said I had put “If you can’t get up for the Barca game………” meaning of course there is going to be a great atmosphere for a game of this stature.

        IMO its been a fantastic season with the injuries/lack of buys. No one would have thought we would be doing so well. But I do question Wenger i.e.

        Lack of signings (even to back up because of injuries). Would it really of hurt to splash £20M on Hangaland, Craig Gorden and get Huntalaar in on loan?

        The results and tactics against the top teams. Surely you can’t sit there and think the Barca performance was good? We should have been buried. Alvez allowed all that space for the first 70mins and it never being addressed? Whats going on?

        But at the same time its all irrelevant because I love the club and always will do. It doesn’t mean I can’t question things though just because it may offend other Arsenal fans.

      8. Vote -1 Vote +1TonyM

        nothing wrong with questioning how the club is being run
        but your original comment said “Arsenal fans are fast becoming the most whingy, paranoid bunch of supporters out there”.
        this article is responding to karl henry, mick mccarthy and the media who today insulted arsenal football club, the players and the fans.
        a “real fan” takes issue with that.
        the media have created and twisted numerous stories about arshavin, they’ve supported guys like shawcross and taylor and their “mental stability” when we are left with players career’s hanging in the balance.
        if you want to call it a yellow thats fine, but he should have at least had a yellow for stamp on walcott in 1st half. so for him to come out today and call that decision a disgrace and insult our club makes me very fucking angry.
        so excuse some of us gooners being a bit pissed off about the whole thing

      9. Vote -1 Vote +1JoppaRoad

        Yep, I went through a phase of letting myself get wound up by the media but now I choose not to listen or buy the shite that they put out.

        We all know it would have been totally different had it been Rooney’s legs left hanging in two and we all know Sky have a love in with Man U that is enough to make me feel ill.

        Arsenal play a brand of football that should be championed by the English media yet its not to be and I don’t know why to be honest with you. Its sad.

        To clarify, I don’t think it was a red. The ref didn’t spot the boot on Walcott? It was hardly a stamp, just a clever piece of cheating – oh for a player of ours who would do the same. Hang on if we had one of those it would be all over Sky Sports News until he got banned. We can’t win!

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1JoppaRoad

        lol…just googles Myles Palmer and have to say he has an excellent blog – I agree with most of the points he makes.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim

        @JoppaRoad, well, you should go make comments on his site…

        Oh wait, you can’t, because he’s terrified of criticism.

        I’m not.

        Also, you should know that Myles Palmer is notoriously retarded, he once said that Thierry Henry will never make it as a striker in the EPL, called the Barca/Arsenal game a snoozer, and has called for Wenger to be fired. If you’re in bed with a dog like that, you’re bound to come up with some fleas… with AIDS… and syphilitic insanity.

        Just sayin…

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1JoppaRoad

        I don’t really follow opinions, I just have my own.

        I’m not one who thinks Arsenal are soley dependent on Wenger. Yes I appreciate what he has done and the style we play with but make no mistake football at our level is about winning trophies. I think 5 years now is enough time and its time to deliver if not this season then def next.

        No one person is bigger than the club.

        Despite my scepticism there is nothing I would like more than to be proved wrong.

        Eboue to Bendtner 87min Barca 0 Arsenal 1.

      4. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        @JoppaRoad, You’re right, Arsene Wenger should have been more focused on delivering you a trophy in the last 5 years than on delivering Arsenal a 60,000 seat arena which will make them into a sustainable threat to rich oil men for the next 50 years.

        Winning trophies? Like Chelsea’s $1,000,000,000 (that’s a BILLION) squandered on an aging squad, an antiquated arena, and they have what? A few trophies? Where will Chelsea FC be in 5 years? A club that won two titles and a few FA Cups.

        Football at our level is not about winning trophies, it’s about leaving a club which is big enough to challenge at the highest level for decades. Long enough that my grandchildren would be proud to call themselves Gooners.

        Football at your level is a type of small mindedness which abandons the greatest manager the club has ever had because you couldn’t brag to your friends about some tin cup.

        Small minded, like so many of you from Le Grove. And before you claim not to know who they are (like you did Palmer) I can tell because you used their tag line, very original.

        You are tiresome.

      5. Vote -1 Vote +1JoppaRoad

        you are boring mate, sorry but I don’t buy into Wenger is totally right and anyone who dare questions his methods are completely wrong and out of order. Why shouldn’t I question him?

        60,000 seater stadium isn’t the be all and end all. As a matter of fact I prefered Highbury but understood why we needed to leave. I think we wrongly left alot of our history behind when we moved, but you no doubt have no time for such things whilst in the same breathe running down Chelsea for their behaviour.

        You are trying to make me take sides on my club which I simply won’t do – I find your logic totally floored.

        People are allowed opinions.

      6. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        @JoppaRoad, people are allowed opinions in certain places. Like, here for example.

        If you tried to have an opinion on Myles Palmer’s site or an opinions which differs from the boys over at your favorite site, they will ban you.

        But the point isn’t opinions, it’s facts. You are allowed your own opinion, they are like assholes in that way. But what you aren’t allowed is your own facts and to wave off the 60,000 seat arena and resultant increase in gate receipts along with the magnificent Highbury redevelopment project which preserved my beloved Highbury as meaningless shows that you lack basic command of facts.

        You might like Highbury better, I will never forget my experience at Highbury, but you can’t argue that for the health of the club over the long term and even for the health and safety of the fans (you ever take a piss at half-time at Highbury?) that keeping Highbury was the right thing to do.

      7. Vote -1 Vote +1JoppaRoad

        And another thing Tim, what exactly have Chelsea done wrong? They were just about to go bust so took Roman’s millions or even billions. I mean are you telling me if a man said to Arsenal you can have £1billion to spend on players Arsenal should take the moral high ground and not take it? Fck off you plonker.

        Like you would say no to the likes of Torres, Kaka etc which that kind of money can buy. Its life, good luck to Chelsea, its not like their fans didn’t have years of being very average. Don’t even think about replying saying you wouldn’t take that kind of investment.

        All this taking the moral high ground gets on my tits. We do it for tackles, the way the game should be played, we moan because clubs live beyond their means – its be going on for years yet all of a sudden we can look down on others because we play a slightly prettier game and keep our books balanced. Do me a favour.

        Football is football and Arsenal will still be Arsenal long after the likes of you, me and Wenger have departed.

      8. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        @JoppaRoad, If you think that Roman Abramovich has “invested” $1bn in Chelsea, you’re a bigger fool than your comments let on.

        Chelsea FC, the club, the fans, OWE Roman Abramovich $1bn. Payable on demand, in the form of bonds against the club.

        They will be insolvent in 5 years. Mark my words.

      9. Vote -1 Vote +1JoppaRoad

        At the end of the day I couldn’t really give two pence about Chelsea. They won’t be insolvement in 5 years. I just don’t think they really had a great deal of choice when Roman came knocking 5 or 6 years ago. (Remember he was looking at Spurs). At least it introduced more competition to the league.

        You want to get your facts straight too. Not once have I mentioned that I wanted Wenger sacked – far from it. He has brought me tremendous joy for almost 15 years now, just as George Graham did prior to him which is why I have to laugh when Arsenal fans take the moral high ground on how football should be played – short memories me thinks. I do think though the team will need strengthening in the same old areas we have been saying for a few years now – that is whats so frustrating. You know as well as me if you add a top keeper, CB, forward we would be far stronger. Its not rocket science and when we are paying the highest prices in world sport to spectate I don’t really think this is too much to ask. Of course you interpret this as me saying I want Wenger out – just foolish of you really.

        As for the other blogs, the only other ones I tend to read are Wrighty7, Le Grove, Stone Cold Arsenal.

  8. Vote -1 Vote +1Patrick

    Tim, as I commented on in Chary’s post, the tackle from behind is not a red card offense. If it were, Fabregas would have seen red against Barca. It is only that when there is excessive force, studs up, or slide through and not around, etc. It’s basically open to the referee’s interpretation. As in the article you linked to, “the fierce tackle from behind”. It’s the “fierce” or “excessive” as in rule 12, that calls for red.

    Again, correct me if I’m wrong.

    I read the following on another forum…

    “Since July 2005 FIFA have taken the phrase ‘from behind’ out of their laws replacing it with a clause thus: A tackle, which endangers the safety of an opponent, must be sanctioned as serious foul play.”

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      @Patrick, That other forum is wrong, the quote above is from the 2009/2010 rules of the game and I linked directly to the PDF, note that “from behind” is in their language.

      “Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force and endangering the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play.”

      I also link to where FIFA proudly claims to have outlawed the tackle from behind as it’s latest update to the rules:

      “The game’s Law-makers then struck another blow against cynicism in 1998 when the fierce tackle from behind became a red-card offence. With a new century approaching, the commitment to forward-thinking football could not have been clearer.”

      Henry’s tackle on Rosicky was a stonewall red card.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Patrick

        Again, the ‘fierce’ tackle from behind is a red card offense not just ‘the tackle from behind’. I want to stress that distinction.

        Yes, no argument on the Henry tackle. It’s a Rule 12 sending off.

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      @Patrick, There are also two ways to tackle from behind: one where you are behind the player with the ball and you swing wide and around to the front to take the ball and one where you blast through a player who is standing stock still.

      Fabregas attempted the former, Henry the latter. Which one is the dangerous tackle?

    3. Vote -1 Vote +1Chary

      @Patrick, I think you’re right that a tackle of excessive force doesn’t need to be from behind to be a red card anymore, pre the 2005-06 season it did need to be from behind.
      Great write up Tim, I’m running out of anger when it comes to the rising levels of savagery in the premier League.

      Wenger is right when he said it takes more bravery to try and play your game even knowing other players will try to maim you in their efforts to “get in your face”

  9. Vote -1 Vote +1Andrew

    That is why I don’t trust the referees in England.Two footed lunges /sliding tackles/tackles from behind must be punished with a red card.The Referees commitee shd compile all the incidents where clearcut penalties were not given and ask the all refs to view them.
    Then the next time a ref doesnt award a penalty,marks must be deucted from his performance and at the end of the season underperforming referees weeded out.
    Thta is the only way to keep these guys on their toes or else they will be getting away with blunder after blunder.

  10. Vote -1 Vote +1Alex

    I agree with Andrew. Incidentally can anyone enlightem me as to how referees are appraised and the workings of the referee commitee with regard to discipline,referees roster,etc

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1rafi

    What more can u expect from a team managed by mccarthy, a “crap manager who was also a crap player.”

  12. Vote -1 Vote +1plunkitt

    I have been increasingly confused and demoralized by the umpiring this season. But I wonder if — as an American — I just don’t get the culture. I’m used to seeing the referees as profesional, well-trained, officials (think baseball) applying the laws neutrally. In “soccer” the laws seem merely suggestions.

    When do we get hockey style enforcers?

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Murt

      @plunkitt, Well I’m not american but the strictest refereeing we have would probably be in rugby although that’s starting to break down too.

      You’re spot on about the rules being used only as guidelines. The refs make horrendous mistakes in games regarding fouls and penalties. I don’t think that it’s always a misinterpretation of the rules though. Refs have been influenced into their decisions by the media and managers as much as anything else.

  13. Vote -1 Vote +1TonyM

    doubt thierry will start tomorrow night. they’re not too happy about his lack of effort and reaction at final whistle at emirates

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1TxGun

      @TonyM, Why should they be upset? they knew when it was drawn that he wasn’t going to give 100%. He is true Arsenal and the only reason he left London was because of personal issues.

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    Why are we even using ‘professional’ officials? We would see no worse officiating if we just got 3 ‘neutrals’ from the crowd like you do at a kids’ game in the park.

  15. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    …”I actually got the ball first so it was never a red card…”

    To judge by the stud marks on Rosicky’s leg, Henry was ‘closer’ to the Rosicky’s balls than any soccer ball :)

  16. Vote -1 Vote +1Robin

    that fucker henry needs to suck a horse cock ,son of a bitch,Arsenal need someone who would break that type of player into two!!thumbs up Verminator.

  17. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    Tomorrow may see our CL fate live and die on the play of Sylvestre. Ironic isn’t it.

    Eastmond and Merida are in the squad. Even more scary when you recall the abuse our first teamers suffered at The emirates.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

        @Gareth26GOONER, We are dropping like flies. Just when you think our situation can’t get any worse, we get another unpleasant surprise like Song. So I’m being preemptively pessimistic when I include Sylvestre in the starting line up.

  18. Vote -1 Vote +1Alex

    Great article Tim. You have managed to communicate EXACTLY what I did a very poor job of trying to do in yesterday’s comments. All I managed to do was irritate Patrick (again). (Honest – I don’t do it on purpose. :D )

  19. Vote -1 Vote +1mcnabber

    no song for tomorrow? anyone know anything about this, or is it a rumo(u)r? i don’t believe we ever play too well without song.

  20. Vote -1 Vote +1Baygooner

    Tim, several things are going on here.

    First, most of the commentators played in a rougher era, and even if they learn the changes, they don’t like them, and somehow think it is an affront to the way they played “the game.”

    Second, the English have always favored and given highest accolades to plucky, aggressive amateurism. Its how the empire was built. Its why for centuries all you had to do to be a military officer was be from the right class, which meant you have the right stuff. Why the working classes still buy into this, I do not know. Of course, the true English military heroes were professional and expert to the core, and had grit. I think any English boy who gets stuck in thinks he is continuing Nelson’s “go at ‘em” style.

    Third, you have to wonder why the organizations who own the game will only allow one ref on the pitch. What lunatic thinks that one man can see what 22 others are doing? Is it really required so that the refs don’t impede play? (The ref does, anyway, so it fails with only one.) And why only have one line judge? I understand in kid soccer, but this is the pros! Even the NBA and NHL get more officials on the court / ice, with fewer players and smaller playing surface. And errors get made still. If FIFA ran tennis, they’d have the judge in the chair, and maybe one line judge at each end of the court.

    I ask this last because there is so much money involved — no one will ever tune in to watch Karl Henry, or Ryan Shawcross, or that asshole from Birmingham, but they will tune in to watch the old Eduardo, Ramsey, or the little Mozart — if they are on the field. Why so little care over protecting the real assets of the game?

    The answer, I fear, is the big money — gambling runs the sport, and anything that crimps the gamblers — such as video technology or a realistic number of referees — simply “would not do.”

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Gareth26GOONER

      @Baygooner, Second, the English have always favored and given highest accolades to plucky, aggressive amateurism. Its how the empire was built. Its why for centuries all you had to do to be a military officer was be from the right class, which meant you have the right stuff. Why the working classes still buy into this, I do not know. Of course, the true English military heroes were professional and expert to the core, and had grit. I think any English boy who gets stuck in thinks he is continuing Nelson’s “go at ‘em” style.

      Bit over the top?

  21. Vote -1 Vote +1Gareth26GOONER

    Anyone else watching the forest game on bbc? Mc Carthy hte numptie just said ‘Players can’t tackle anymore’ after chopra dived in on Gunter. What a joker

  22. Vote -1 Vote +1Bull

    Great article Tim, the ref got it spot on for a change a clear dangerous tackle well deserving of a red card, henry,mick & jopparoad are the absolute joke! Pricks!

  23. Vote -1 Vote +1Arsesession

    Lost is the fact that those on the pitch, play the game for their livelihood.

    How judgmental to sit on our arses and critique a player’s reaction when there is obvious illegal contact.

    The laws are set forth to insure the safety of the players!

  24. Vote -1 Vote +1mcnabber

    no fab, no ibra, no puyol (bette midler), no pique, no song. i think, overall, missing song and fab is more of a loss than ibra/puy/piq. i AM the eternal optimist, and the biggest homer i know, but i’m a little worried about tuesday. hey, that’s why we watch, that’s why they play. GO GOONERS!

  25. Vote -1 Vote +1DF

    Somehow I have a feeling that Silvestre can handle the Barca forwards who play on the ground. He is at fault in the EPL when most of the balls are played over the head. Wenger also has the option of playing Sagna as CB, and let Eboue takes Sagna’s position. That will be a gamble, but may be worth it.

  26. Vote -1 Vote +1munawwar

    we all are feel this massive frustration of these tackles. rosicky is now 50-50 because of that tackle. jesus got his leg done in the city game i am sure. we all complain . you are writing blogs about it. many others are also writing blogs. what can we do to take some more proper action? can anyone sue the fa?

  27. Vote -1 Vote +1Chary

    Another point that’s relevant is how much referees allow opposition sides to foul us before they brandish a yellow. I wrote a piece ( the link is: ) a few days before the Stoke game when I showed that referees allow us to be fouled more times before they show them the yellow – perhaps if the referees enforced the rules concerning excessive force it would prevent tragedies like what happened to poor Ryan Shawcross, the sensitive dear was so upset…oh, and some Welsh kid had a spot of bother, but that’s a side issue.

  28. Vote -1 Vote +1Wwcrix

    They know the rules, I reckon, they just disagree with those rules and are stubborn about it.

    Btw could it be your suspicion and mistrust on Arshavin subconsciously stems just a liilll bit from the fact that he’s sooo Russian from head to toes? ;-)

    Personally from what I’ve seen on the pitch I’ve seen no evidence whatsoever that he’s not giving his best for Arsenal so far. Fantastic player who knows where his strength is without any headless chicken tendency. It’s a real loss he’s not fit for the next match, and that he’s been playing through pain for much of the season.

    Talking about injuries, what needs to be butchered and sacrificed to have RVP fit for the whole 2010/11 season, I wonder.

  29. Vote -1 Vote +1Tom Hingley

    Guys I haven’t read all of the comments so bear with me.

    It wasn’t a sending off. You can talk about literal interpretation of the rules all you like. But if you talked about all tackles with those words in mind there would be no players left on the pitch.

    The reason the commentators defending Henry is because they watch football week in week out, and perception IS everything. You get an impression for what is a red card offence and what isn’t. Saturday plainly wasn’t. He caught the ball, slid and through the player with his legs DOWN. Mistimed – yes. A yellow – yes. Dangerous/malicious – absolutely not.

    By the way, for all you want to pretend, the atmosphere at the Emirates is embarrassing. Santised is the best word. I think the very fact that you have to post youtube videos of singing on here to prove otherwise is the most damning indictment. Loud cheers after goals doesn’t = atmosphere, the odd song (of which you only sing about two) doesn’t = atmosphere. The constant long silences, and only tiny section of the crowd who does try to sing throughout is why most fans of other clubs accept Arsenal has one of the poorer matchday experiences in the league. Of course any newb visitor is going to be impressed, but football fans who travel home and away are always massively underwhelmed.

    Have a read, you might find this enlightening:

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Arsesession

      @Tom Hingley, Watch the replay above, Henry does not
      touch the ball, both his (Henry’s) feet slide off to the left, while Rosicky has used both feet to
      shield the ball in the opposite direction.

      Commentators are rarely an authority. Just their opinion, like yours and mine.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tom Hingley


        Hi Arsession.

        I have watched the video over and over again. He CLEARLY takes the ball, right as he arrives, before making contact with Rosicky. Otherwise how does the ball move in the direction it does!?

        Also, I’m not saying commentators are an authority, but their opinions, along with the opinions of the numerous pundits who have said it was extremely harsh, do carry some weight. Perception is everything, afterall, even the referees aren’t an authority.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Bill

        @Tom Hingley, It is quite plain in the Laws of the Game that winning the ball does NOT allow a player to apply “reckless” force to do so. Henry was reckless in his challenge, and rightly sent off. The only problem with the red card is that English referees rarely apply the Laws to the letter.

        The commentators only have authority with those foolish enough to listen to them. Listening to match commentary is absolutely maddening because they have such a poor grasp on the Laws of the Game. They are constantly applying the standard of their playing days rather than the modern standard. They do a constant disservice to the game by preserving the violent legacy of their bygone era.

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1Tom Hingley


        But what is this modern standard? I don’t remember the footballing world congregating and agreeing that Arsenal would be the sole proprietors of the ‘modern standard’.

        I’m not comparing Henry’s challenge with a bygone era, I’m comparing it with tackles that happen week in week out at the moment.

        You simply cannot deny that since the Ramsay incident, there is the culture of sensitivity that surrounds ONLY Arsenal. Arsenal players have began to react disgracefully to any sort of contact against them, and it is influencing referees and also why your club, who in the past, of the top 4, have been the neutral preference, is fast becoming disliked by many football fans.

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      @Tom Hingley, Nice article! I especially like the part about how the Arsenal fans don’t speak English and yet atmosphere was spelled “athmosphere” throughout.

      Was that article written by Nick Griffin? Because I feel about as enlightened by that “article” as I would if I attended a BNP rally.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tom Hingley


        Tim, it’s a forum not an article buddy. I don’t think there is any prejudice on there whatsoever, more valid points about the way an atmosphere suffers when half the ground is full of daytrippers. Exactly the same happens at Anfield, Old Trafford, and Stamford Bridge.

        As for spelling, well, is pedantry the best you’ve got?

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        @Tom Hingley, It’s not pedantic to point out that you shouldn’t get your facts from utter morons and racists.

        I’ve been to Emirates, I’ve sat next to the away supporters, and I can tell you for a fact that Arsenal’s supporters have dominated that stadium all but one time that I’ve seen them, when Sunderland held Arsenal to a 0-0 draw during a dour run of 0-0 draws for Arsenal.

        So, while you choose to get your “facts” from some racist yob who can’t spell and who thinks that athmosphere is the home supporters looking for a fight I’ll take my facts from me.

        But here’s a bigger point, who gives a fuck what you think of our athmosphere or whether YOU think that Henry didn’t commit a foul? You’re not a Gooner, so why don’t you fuck back off to your BNP buddies on the Wolves board and have a good time reminiscing about that time your club rolled over and let Sir Alex Ferguson do you.

        The big boys are having a conversation over here, sit quietly and listen, you might learn something.

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1Tom Hingley


        Tim, this is a discussion, I’m not getting aggressive or nasty, don’t see why you need to.

        I’m pretty sure most Arsenal fans will be cringing at your last point. It is silly comments like that which do no favours to a clubs reputation.

        What I think of Karl Henry’s sending off is no more irrelevant than what you or anyone else thinks of it. It is an opinion, I came on here for a bit of a debate, not to be accused of being a racist you moron.

        Maybe if you sit quietly and listen, you might learn to debate with a bit more tact, and also you might learn something about football, something you clearly don’t know much about at the moment. You come across as a silly little fanboy. Run along, and let the big boys chat respectfully.

      4. Vote -1 Vote +1Tom Hingley


        Tim mate.

        I hope you are sitting quietly while the big boys of European football teach you a lesson.

        I reckon you lot are gonna get hit for 10. You patronising prick. :D :D

      5. Vote -1 Vote +1Matt


        Things got a bit Lionel last night I believe. Rosicky seemed ok to me, especially when he did basically the same tackle on a Barcelona player. Hypocrites.

  30. Vote -1 Vote +1Matt

    Therefore William Gallas’s horrific stamp on Mark Davies was also a red card. Seem to remember Arsenal fans defending that. You are all hypocrites, Patrick Viera, Martin Keown, Sol Campbell (who elbowed Doyle in the face on saturday), Ray Parlour, Jens Lehmann were all angels in regard to fouls also weren’t they.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1lordgunner

      yes they are but they have the red card to show for it as people moan for years arsenal were thug but our record of red card show referee punish us.Why Carl Henry would not deserved one because of the history of one club.

      Carl Henry got the deserved red card for it for excessive force two foot tackle from behind.the ref was right and if he appeal he is gone have more match ban for the Theo stamp.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Matt



        If you had actually seen the tackle and not just been reading the daily mail you would know it was not two footed and the leg that made contact was bent with studs down.

  31. Vote -1 Vote +1ArseChicago

    Speaking of red cards, there are about 4 or 5 people that need to get red cards on this board today.

    C’mon Gunners, make everyone hate you more today.

  32. Vote -1 Vote +1Wilberforce Woodly

    A pretty poor decision by a ref who’s a bit trigger happy with his red cards. I actually think the assault on Theo could be deemed worse than the Rosicky challenge to be honest.

    Slow it down look at it again…I don’t think it’s as bad as it looks. Obviously looking at the challenge Rosicky made tonite against Barcelona he’s learnt tho hasn’t he… got away with that one nicely didn’t he!

  33. Vote -1 Vote +1goldnblack

    The psychology of football fans is always drearily predictable: justify whatever your team does. Looked at objectively, Arsenal cheated their way to a victory on Saturday, when Rosicky made a meal of the tackle, writhed around as if he was mortally wounded and was then supported in this unappealing slice of amateur dramatics by his fellow “professionals” who encouraged a soft referee to send Henry off. It was distasteful to see and should be roundly condemned by all true football fans.

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