Football: Taylor frets over Fifa edict

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The Independent Online
THE chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, Gordon Taylor, has claimed Fifa's decision to outlaw the tackle from behind had both good and bad implications.

Football's world governing body has insisted tackles from behind must be automatically punished by sending off players in the World Cup finals.

"As a forward I'd be delighted because it will encourage more attacking and skilful play," Taylor said. "There will be less injuries which will be fortunate. But it seems to be a part of the process making life a lot harder for defenders and as such I wouldn't want to see the art of tackling go out of the game. From that point of view my judgement is tempered.

"You've got to remember this game is about attacking and defending. One of the qualities of the game is that you can think of greater tacklers and defenders who spring to mind just as easily as great goalscorers.

"From the point of view that there'll be less injuries it'll make life a lot easier for forwards. Certainly less knocks and less worries.

"But it is a bit of a worrying process that's making life even harder for defenders these days - with stricter refereeing, different interpretations and it's becoming difficult if not impossible for defenders to go through a season without missing games."

Taylor added that the new rule would take some time to adjust to for even the most experienced professional.

"There is a natural inclination for defenders no matter what position the ball is in that they'll attempt to win it," he said. "And it's going to take a lot more judgement and patience and there's going to be a period of adjustment which is going to be extremely hard for them."