Blog: Marseille join legal action against de Jong as violence increases in football

While the High Court this afternoon will attempt to decide whether to sell or not to sell is the question, French champions Marseille look set to take legal action of their own at one of the Kop’s neighbours.

Dutchman Nigel de Jong was involved in an horrific challenge which broke Hatem Ben Arfa’s leg during a recent match between Manchester City and Newcastle, and now Marseille want to get involved. Despite the fact their player is currently in the North-East for the season, and he is due to return to action sooner than he is due to return to the continent, his parent club wish to protect one of their young stars in an effort to stamp out violence in the game.

The French outfit’s president Jean-Claude Dassier spoke to TF1’s Telefoot programme and said “It’s about getting rid of this type of individual from European grounds.” While this statement may sound more like he is referring to a hooligan in the stands than one of the players on the pitch, his message rings a grave truth – violence appears to be trying to force a place in football.

Newcastle have also written to the FA to ask for action to be taken against the 25-year-old, citing it as “unnecessary and using excessive force” according to BBC Sport. De Jong, though, didn’t even receive a booking, and the FA have said while they will consider the complaint they have warned they may be powerless to implement any punishment.

Of course, accidents will always happen, in all walks of life – whether you are playing football or footsy. But the horror which unfolded ten days ago at the City of Manchester stadium underlines a worrying trend of studs showing – all too often resulting in opposing players’ bones doing the same.

Look at Arsenal’s Eduardo a couple of years ago, or even Dave Busst at Old Trafford in 1996. That incident was an accident – but the end result remains the same, even worse as it ended Busst’s career. The problem is, such accidents are becoming so relatively commonplace their very nature is in question.

On the same day De Jong all but ended Ben Arfa’s time on Tyneside (less perhaps a few matches towards the end of the season), Karl Henry of Wolves was dismissed for a challenge on Wigan’s Jordi Gomez – just weeks after the same player went for Bobby Zamora, which ended with the Fulham frontman also breaking his leg, though this was also deemed an accident.

Does De Jong deserve two opposite clubs considering taking legal action against him just because the focus of his challenge was on loan? Of course he does – any clubs involved in the injured party’s employment should have a right to seek some form of compensation, especially considering Marseille’s medical staff have also vowed to help the player recover. Whether it was an accident or not, action needs to be taken – or else it will just keep happening, throughout football.

Perhaps De Jong is unfortunate to receive such bad press for what was basically him trying to do his job, but it was reckless and careless. Whoever said most accidents happen at home, and not at the workplace?

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