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Jordan Pickford should have been sent off for reckless tackle on Virgil van Dijk

Jordan Pickford injured Van Dijk after as he lunged into him
Jordan Pickford injured Van Dijk after as he lunged into him
ANALYST
Modified 19 Oct 2020, 21:56 IST
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Football is a sport which brings out varied emotions in people, and Virgil van Dijk's injury on Saturday, caused by Jordan Pickford, certainly stirred up the emotions of the millions of fans who were watching.

The Dutchman saw his stay on the pitch cut short in the Merseyside derby after a rather careless tackle from Everton’s Jordan Pickford.

The England goalkeeper, in an attempt to stop Virgil van Dijk from scoring, clattered into his leg with force, injuring the defender in the process.

While the Liverpool man now faces a long spell on the sidelines, Pickford looks to walk away a free man after the FA on Monday opted against any retrospective action.

Virgil van Dijk faces a long spell on the sidelines
Virgil van Dijk faces a long spell on the sidelines

Forget the fact that the center-back was adjudged as offside, it is unfair that Virgil van Dijk could miss the rest of the season due to this reckless tackle, while the instigator stands to face no punishment. It may have been unintentional but such a reckless tackle warrants a red card on any day.

Why Jordan Pickford deserved a red card for tackle on Virgil van Dijk

First and foremost, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) has clearly written in its laws governing football that initiators of such tackles should be sent off. This is again emphasized on the FA’s own website, under the “rules and regulations” section.

A sub-section of Law 12 titled “sending-off offenses” lists “serious foul play” and “violent conduct” as red card offenses.

Virgil van Dijk has suffered an ACL injury
Virgil van Dijk has suffered an ACL injury
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Under “serious foul play”, it reads:

“A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality must be sanctioned as serious foul play.”

Meanwhile, under “violent conduct”, it reads:

“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 or endangers the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play.”

From the above quotes, taken from IFAB and the FA’s own laws on red card offenses, it is clear that Pickford should have been sent off.

The goalkeeper’s tackle on Van Dijk did not just constitute serious foul play, it was also violent conduct. 

Published 19 Oct 2020, 21:56 IST
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