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Refereeing football matches looks really hard and is probably made even harder by the fact that everyone else seems to think they can do it better than you. So you end up with everyone shouting at you and even some players applauding you sarcastically after the game. Ouch. Rotters.
In recent years their job has been made much more difficult by the increasing requirement to punish physical contact. We have the concept of 'serious foul play' which outlaws 'excessive force or brutality'. Quite what excessive means is anyone's guess - there's an awful lot of wriggle room in that word.
Tackles which 'endanger the safety of an opponent' are also illegal. Don't all tackles do that? Not tackling is the only really safe tackle.
This has meant the tackle that takes ball and man together is now outlawed because, hey, it might endanger an opponent. A tackle from behind that cleanly wins the ball is also a no-no for the same reason. Ow, that might hurt. What next? A red card for running in a style unbecoming for a heterosexual?
It all starts to sound like an over-protective parent at a sports day. Life is dangerous, sports especially so; you can't legislate danger or injury clean out of football. If you could, footballers would not still be spending months on the sidelines with injuries.
Nani's foot in the chest might not have had any intent but that doesn't matter anymore, it's not what you intend to do, it's what you actually do that counts.
In a previous era he could have kicked the player in the head and he probably wouldn't have been sent off. All manner of physical assaults where deemed just part of the game. Just ask Harald Schumacher and Patrick Battiston.
This was the era of The Reducer which was, in essence, hurting people to gain advantage. And we all enjoyed it. Sorry, but we did. Ironically, in the most physically aggressive era of the game, flair players blossomed as teams looked to have at least one mercurial talent to create something on awful pitches in the face of bullying and stamping.
In the more lavender-scented 21st century this level of aggression seems a crime, not just against football, but against a chap's human rights. No-one can advocate on-pitch violence without being hauled up in front of The Court Of Righteous Indignation which is always in session on Twitter and Facebook.
But the redux of this attitude to physicality in football is that very decision to send off Nani. That happened as a result of becoming too sensitive about where a player puts his boot. Nani gave the referee a decision to make, his foot is very high, it looks like he's doing a spot of kung-fu and you can't do that anymore. If you always wanted football tamed and the violence legislated out of it, this is your fault. I hope you're proud of yourselves.
There is a dilemma though. Tackles from behind etc were outlawed to protect players from injury. It hasn't done this at all, but that was the intention and surely that's a good thing. I remember Chopper Harris stamping on Eddie Gray's calf in the 1970 Cup Final in order to debilitate the Leeds Wizard Of The Dribble enough to make him less dangerous. It worked. Violence 1 Skill 0. Is that a good thing? Not if, like me, you wanted Eddie Gray doing his not-inconsiderable thang.
But surely, football's most winning mixture is a combo of sublime skill and brutish aggression. It's not wholly one nor wholly the other. But the laws now lean towards making it all about skill and nothing about aggression. Some say this is why defenders are so poor at tackling these days. No-one knows how to do it without being penalised. Maybe you can't really do it without being penalised, given a rigorous interpretation of the law.
And then there those who said on-pitch violence legitimised off-pitch violence. The two certainly coincided and while we should be wary of drawing too straight a line between the two, for at least 25 years football existed in a culture of aggression. Going to football without someone removing your kidneys with their foot is a basic human right, so we don't want a return to those days, but a loosening of the laws of the game to allow a bit of on-pitch whacking need not bring back hooliganism.
It's easy to see the attraction of the morality of being anti 'reckless' behaviour but the trouble is seeing a great big sod ploughing into someone is uniquely brilliant and exciting. Seeing Nigel De Jong plant his boot on a chap's breast plate raises the spirits. Not if you're his victim, no, but to deny this element of our nature is to suppress something essentially human and something which drew people to football in huge numbers from its inception.
The laws were changed to improve the game but they haven't. Having invented this concept of reckless and dangerous play, it is inevitably going to ruin some games as a player gets sent off. We've all seen players pick up an early innocuous yellow card and play the rest of the game at half-power out of fear of the second yellow. That ruins football every bit as much as the Chopper Harris reducer.
It's easy to be against over-the-top violence in football but it seems to me that we've thrown the baby out with the bath water and that football continues to need to allow acts of physical courage and aggression in order to allow it its best expression.
You can follow Johnny on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JohnnyTheNic