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The controversial new standard of the Achilles tendon: "It will change the way you play"


The League arrived and, with it, the controversy. On the first day there were two expelled, Luka Modric (Real Madrid) and Jorge Molina (Getafe), by the new standard of the Technical Committee of Árb

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The League arrived and, with it, the controversy.

On the first day there were two expelled, Luka Modric (Real Madrid) and Jorge Molina (Getafe) , by the new norm of the Technical Committee of Referees to sanction with direct red card any entry behind in which the Achilles tendon is stepped on. Everyone complained. The injured claimed, of course, but so did the favored, as Saul, Molina's rival on Sunday: "Leaving a team with ten for an accidental action in the midfield is too hard." No soccer player defended the new guideline, although this one, as the members explain, has only one objective: to protect their health.

« It happened the same with elbows . In my time, in each season four or five players ended up with a broken cheekbone and everyone looked normal. The referees considered that that could not be, we began to punish all the elbows with a red card and in a short time those actions disappeared. The first year there were also those who said it was a disaster and there would be six expelled per game, but that was not the case, ”recalls Eduardo Iturralde González, First referee of 1995 and 2012.

Last July, when reviewing the annual reports of the doctors of the Spanish Federation, the Committee led by Carlos Velasco Carballo observed that there had been too many injuries from entry to that area, that almost all were serious and, above all, that almost all of them had been a consequence of accidental stomps. Before that conclusion he decided to act. Without a change of regulation, only following a rule of the same - "Expulsion for endangering the physical integrity of the adversary" -, in the preseason that the colleges made in the Pyrenees from July 27 to August 4, the Committee announced that there would be hard hand and then confirmed in his circular: "The faults behind (to the Achilles tendon) will be punished with a red card."

Good or bad faith

«And since then there is nothing more to talk about. If the Committee establishes that this is so, the poor arbitrators must comply. The players can now complain, which the referees will comply. Many coaches and soccer players speak of good or bad faith, but that is not valued by a collegiate: entry behind is red, point and end, ”says Juan Andújar Oliver , referee of First from 1980 to 1995, referring to the great debate: intentionality . The injured parties, Modric and Molina, excused themselves claiming that they would never make such an entry on purpose and, even, Molina's coach, José Bordalás, assured that he had been badly expelled for that reason (“The Committee told us that intentionality would be valued »), But the members insist on denying the issue.

“The intent is for the street and the debates in the bar, but it does not exist in the football regulations. Arbitrators do not judge intentions , judge actions, ”adds Andújar Oliver, who reaffirms himself with two examples. During the weekend, there were two more stomps that were not punished with red, one of Januzaj (Real Sociedad) and another one of Míchel (Valladolid), and if the authors went unpunished it was not because the members entered to assess the intentionality, it was simply because they were wrong or the VAR did not notify them.

After all, the intention of this change in criteria is for players to stop fighting balls from behind as soon as possible . Injuries such as the one that almost removed Santi Cazorla should end up being increasingly exceptional in football. «This will change the way you play, to go find the ball. In a few months the players will know very well the risk involved in trying to steal a ball from behind and will act accordingly. It's like what he said about elbows or hands inside the area. Before everyone jumped with outstretched arms and whatever happened had to happen. Now, since childhood, players put their hands back and avoid problems, ”concludes Iturralde González.

"No contact"

Although the Technical Committee of Referees argues that it has changed criteria on the entrances behind to protect the Achilles tendons of soccer players, doctors say that both are not necessarily related. «In the vast majority of cases, I would say that 95%, Achilles tendon ruptures occur without direct trauma , without contact. The most common is that they are produced by a degenerative process of the same tendon, ”says Dr. José González, who for more than 20 years was head of the medical services of Atlético y del Rayo, among other institutions. According to the specialist in sports medicine, the Committee has lacked advice when it comes to changing its guidelines: «Who has changed this rule has not taken into account the medical part or has lacked experience in our field».

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