What would you do if you were the FA?

This relates to what is truly one of the most horrific sporting injuries in recent memory – that of Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva, whose leg was…well, snapped…by Birmingham City’s Martin Taylor in an English Premier League game this past weekend. If you wish to see the sickening effects of Taylor’s challenge, see this News of the World story. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger in a post match interview called for Taylor to be banned for life, whereas some have gone so far as to say that the challenge deserved little more than a yellow card.

There are accidents in football where a serious injury is the result of an unfortunate step in the wrong direction, or where the victim is brought down by an act of sheer stupidity. This is clearly one of the latter. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Taylor deserves to be rubbed out of the game for life, but the manner in which he went in at Eduardo’s lower leg is one that all junior coaches would never teach their young players to do (go for the ball, not the player). See this pic, taken a split second before the impact, to see what I mean.

The typical suspension for a red card offence in the Premier League of 3 matches would not suffice. It’s a season ending, and perhaps a career ending, injury and could have easily been avoided had Taylor picked his target more appropriately. The Football Association would be prudent to make an example out of Taylor in a statement that such harsh challenges are not to be part of the game, and ask their referees to be consistent in their rulings on 2 footed or “studs up” challenges, regardless of whether the player who is tackled is injured or not.  No player needs to have their career threatened by a moment of madness akin to what was seen at St Andrews’ (Birmingham City’s home ground) on Saturday.

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