Rildo gets half year ban for leg-breaking tackle

Rildo in court (Pic: Fred Huber/GloboEsporte.com)

Nobody likes to see players suffering leg breaking tackles. But is the punishment dished out to Vasco forward Rildo for his bad challenge excessive?

Leg breaking tackles are sickening. I hate watching them, and I think the players that commit them should be severely punished. I also hate it when after a player has broken somebody’s leg that his coach comes out and says, its really uncharacteristic and he is not like that, blah blah. Players simply need to take more care and responsibility when going into a challenge with force.

But in my opinion the punishment dished out to Vasco forward Rildo this week for breaking his opponent João Paulo’s leg in a recent Rio derby against Botafogo is too excessive. The incident happened in the 4th minute of the match and incredibly, Rildo only got a yellow card for his tackle that broke João Paulo’s leg. The referee of that match has now been suspended indefinitely for not giving a straight red.

This week, the Rio Sport Justice Tribunal handed out a much more severe sentence to the player: Rildo will be suspended until João Paulo returns to training, or for a maximum of 180 days. João Paulo is unlikely to return to training for at least six months so the ban is essentially half a year. As I’ve said, I think leg breaking tackles should be punished more severely than they normally are (which is a three game ban). But 180 days is too long and very different from the norm. It also remains to be seen whether FIFA will have anything to say about this.

It is not clear whether Rildo meant to injure his opponent. He visited João Paulo in hospital the day after the game to wish him well. There are times when it is impossible for the authorities to tell whether there was intention, which is why I think that linking the ban to the outcome of a particular challenge is a good idea. You break a leg – you pay a heavy price too. You might get some accidents, but having a more strict deterrent for players to make such reckless challenges would help to stop them. I can’t help but think that too much emotion has gone into this decision and that Rildo is being held up as an example, which isn’t really fair on him. What do you think?

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