Blatter wants life bans on reckless tacklers


Blatter blamed coaches for dangerous challenges by players and said soccer’s governing body is set to give referees new instructions for dealing with such incidents.

“The pressure on the coach or manager to win is such that he encourages his players to go for victory at any cost,” Blatter was quoted as saying in The London Times.

“There is no microphone in the dressing room, so he says, ‘go, go, go.’ Until when? Until the point where the referee intervenes.”

Blatter did not mention the challenge by Birmingham defender Martin Taylor on Eduardo da Silva, which left the Arsenal striker with a fractured left leg and dislocated ankle a fortnight ago, but that is the type of serious injury Blatter is aiming to eradicate.

“Attacking somebody is criminal, whether it happens on a football pitch or elsewhere,” he said. “It is a crime and should be treated as such.”

The Fifa president said referees should not hesitate to use yellow and red cards even in the opening moments of a game, adding that officials often decide against such action because they don’t want to disrupt the flow of play.

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez and his Sunderland counterpart Roy Keane think Blatter’s proposal is too extreme.

“I think life bans are too much but I do think it would be OK to punish these players harder,” Benitez said.

Keane fears Blatter’s plan would have seen him being jailed during his playing career.

“I know there has been one or two court cases over the years, but you’re opening a can of worms there. I think you’d have to be very careful.”