Football

FIFA medical officer blasts 'criminal' challenges

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Michel d'Hooghe, FIFA's top medical official, has spoken out against "criminal" tackles in the game.

Belgian doctor d'Hooghe, who chairs the world governing body's medical committee, is worried that some top players are setting out to deliberately hurt opponents and believes it is a problem which must be addressed.

"Some players come on the field simply to provoke injuries in other persons - to break a career," he told BBC Sport.

"I have two eyes, I can see what happens - how some acts are really criminal."

FIFPro, the global union of players, responded to d'Hooghe's comments, defending their members.

"I don't believe there is a player in the world - and we have 50,000 members - who would deliberately try to injure someone else," said Then van Seggelen, FIFPro's general secretary.

"That would not be acceptable."

Although d'Hooghe was not referring to any specific player or incident, dangerous tackles are back in the news in England after a spate of poor challenges by the likes of Manchester City's Nigel de Jong and Wolves' Karl Henry in recent weeks.

De Jong, who broke the leg of Newcastle Hatem Ben Arfa recently in a challenge deemed legal by referee Martin Atkinson, was dropped by Holland manager Bert van Marwijk over concerns about his tackling.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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