There would appear to be some confusion regarding the tackle from behind, and whether or not it has been outlawed. In 2005, FIFA removed the phrase “from behind” from the laws of the game, replacing it with “a tackle which endangers the safety of an opponent,” which was to be “sanctioned as serious foul play.”
With this change, it seemed that uncompromising defenders and combative midfielders would immediately have 180 degrees restored to their field of operations, but sadly that isn’t way things panned out.
Because the tackle from behind is a challenge you don’t see coming – that would only spoil the surprise – there’s no chance, no time to get your feet off the ground, which means an increased chance of injury. And this applies even if the defender does manage to get a toe-end to the ball a millisecond before he sends you twelve feet in the air.
Referees continue to interpret any tackle from behind as ‘endangering safety’. In fact, they continue to interpret any tackle as ‘endangering safety’. And so gone forever is the sort of ‘Welcome to Elland Road’ incident that used to give half the crowd such an enjoyable chance to get on their high horse, and the other half an opportunity to ask “What?” and shake their heads in such righteous confusion that they almost convinced themselves it was genuine.
(You can buy a copy of this print by clicking on the photo)
If you miss being able to give a cocky winger a whack across the calves then you probably need to own a copy of ‘Got, Not Got’ … you can get it from branches of WH Smith and Waterstones or online here…