Liverpool’s meeting with Tottenham attracted a great deal of controversy for a number of reasons, prime amongst them being the handling of Harry Kane’s studs-up challenge on Andy Robertson.
Reflecting on the tackle, Mark Clattenburg noted that the challenge itself could have risked more than injury, going as far to suggest that it could have had ‘his career put in doubt’.
“If they are saying that his leg has to be planted, which is a new one to me, if the leg was high, the studs were showing, it’s reckless, he’s lunged,” the 46-year-old told BBC Radio 5 Live (via the Independent).
“For me, he’s endangered the safety of the opponent. Robbo is lucky today that he’s still walking.
“We should understand footballers more because he’s not going to leave his leg there, why should he? He’s not going to want his leg broken and his career put in doubt.”
The England international avoided serious repercussions on the pitch, with VAR choosing to not advise referee Paul Tierney to reconsider his decision to award a yellow card for the offence.
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With Paul Pogba’s studs-up challenge earlier in the season having been deemed suitable for a dismissal, the lack of consistency in officiating decisions is becoming increasingly stark to current professionals and observers outside of the game.
If current rationale dictates that a player’s foot has to be planted – at risk of a serious injury – for a dangerous act to be recognised as such, one has to question whether the current rules appropriately protect players’ safety.
Evidently, some kind of review will be necessary on PGMOL’s end, not to just simply analyse the consistency (or lack thereof) of decision-making but whether current guidelines are fit for purpose.