On Sunday against Sunderland, Kelly Smith had to be taken off after being fouled in the box just nine minutes after coming on as a second-half sub.
While there has been no news yet regarding the severity of her injury, judging by the picture that the forward tweeted, it is not likely to be a minor one.
No Words. pic.twitter.com/erFSRLiO0n
— Kelly Smith MBE (@kelly_smith10) April 28, 2015
The FA must act to stop these kinds of fouls happening and have in place stronger punishments for those who are guilty of dangerous challenges, something Arsenal players in the men’s and women’s team know only too well.
The foul occurred as Smith was in on goal so it is not even clear if the player was sent off for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity (meaning a one-game ban) or for the dangerous nature of the tackle (three-game suspension).
Here are what the Law Of the Games say about 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.
‘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). ‘
The referee sent the Sunderland player off, but there is no mention on the FA disciplinary website regarding the suspension length.
Clearly such a horrible and dangerous tackle must not go unpunished i.e. with a single game ban. It would send the usual message that the FA does not seem to care about protecting the physical integrity of the players.
All Arsenal fans know the price paid after vicious and dangerous tackles on Abou Diaby, Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo and how the career of two of those players suffered as a consequence.
The opposition players in those incidents got away with lenient punishments.
A three-game ban is nothing compared to an ankle/knee/leg break and the FA should take a leaf of the FFF’s book and add extra matches to the suspension for serious fouling like this.
A six-month ban would send a stronger message than a simple three-game ban.
At the end of the day, if you know that you risk missing a big chunk of your season, you will think twice before diving recklessly like this into a player.