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Friday, November 26, 2010

Wenger lashes out, but are Real just sticking to the norm?

Arsene Wenger is a man who has made a habit of sharing his opinions with the English media in recent years, but his latest outburst against Real Madrid and, in particular, the tactics they employed against Ajax may have made Wenger a few more enemies than he would have wished.

Many top managers face the unwanted and potentially devastating scenario of having the threat of having a key player suspended in vital Champions League knock-out game, so Wenger's attack on Madrid may well be perceived by many as nothing but an attack on common sense in the game. After all, it's not like the move led to a massive upset in the Champions League betting.

With Real Madrid likely to lose out on a fair sum of money should they fail to win their next match in the competition, and the players in question sent off against Ajax for infringements that put no opposition players at risk, managers may be left scratching their heads at exactly what Wenger is moaning about, especially if the tactic is as widespread as many believe it is in the modern game.

However, if this is the case and teams are looking to manipulate the laws of the game to gain an unfair advantage, then perhaps UEFA are correct in choosing to charge Madrid and send out a warning to teams that states deliberate manipulation of the rules is not acceptable. Anyone looking to bet on Champions League winner in coming weeks should remember the players in question could still be banned.

Despite this, it remains to be seen how you can prove that a player has deliberately earned a red card or a booking, and others will argue that instead of rooting this kind of cheating out of the game, it could lead to more horror tackles where players make sure that their infringements do not go unpunished.

Whatever the result of this enquiry and the possible sanctions Madrid may face, the problem of cheating in football is not something that this one effort by UEFA is going to cut out.

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