Two major boot manufacturers have indicated that they are willing to consider introducing new regulations on “hybrid” studs after the Professional Footballers Association raised concerns over their safety in The Independent.
In the wake of the injury that caused Wayne Rooney to miss England’s World Cup qualifiers earlier this month, the PFA chief executive, Gordon Taylor, is planning to raise the issue at the next month’s meeting of FifPro, the international federation of players’ unions. Rooney suffered a large gash in his forehead after being caught by Manchester United team-mate Phil Jones in training, a year after he suffered a similar injury to his leg in a match against Fulham.
Taylor has urged Fifa to consider introducing a new Kitemark to regulate what kinds of studs are allowed, with the game’s governing body promising to consider reopening its investigations into the existing safety standards if instructed by FifPro. Now Nike and adidas – who, it is estimated, share more than 70 per cent of global sales – have both indicated they would cooperate with any new regulations.
“Nike offers a range of different traction solutions depending on player preference,” the American company said yesterday. “Some players continue to request the mixed plate. We will, of course, take note of any recommendations made by the relevant governing bodies.”
German giants adidas also indicated that they were aware of the issue and have recently introduced improved testing procedures but declined to comment further.
The Manchester City manager, Manuel Pellegrini, added his support to Taylor’s campaign. “I think it is a thing that concerns the referees,” the Chilean said. “Referees are always checking the boots before the players go on to the pitch. They are checking the boots, always. If studs are a problem, with cuts and different things, they must see how to improve it.”
However, despite his predecessor, Sir Alex Ferguson, banning bladed studs in 2005 owing to concerns that they were causing injuries, Manchester United manager David Moyes was less convinced Rooney’s training ground could have been avoided.
“I don’t think anyone has been that keen on the blades but I don’t think the boots are always to blame,” Moyes said. “If you are judging it on Wayne Rooney, it was a complete accident. I was there and maybe if they had been metal studs it could have been even worse.”