Leeds United have lost their appeal of Pascal Struikj’s red card for the incident in Sunday’s match against Liverpool that saw 18-year-old midfielder Harvey Elliott sidelined with a left ankle fracture dislocation.
As a result, the violent conduct red card given to the player is upheld and Struijk will miss Leeds’ next three games. Elliott, meanwhile, now faces months of rehabilitation work.
And while many will be quick to argue Struijk didn’t mean to injure Elliott, intent has been taken out of the rules for red card challenges specifically because intent doesn’t matter. Whether it was malicious doesn’t matter. That nobody thinks Pascal Struijk set out to injure Harvey Elliott doesn’t matter.
That it was a tackle from behind, a scissor tackle that saw Struikj go through Elliott to get to the ball while pulling back on his shoulder and pinning Elliott’s ankle with his trailing leg as he followed through, is what matters.
Even with the Premier League attempting to let games flow and call fewer fouls this season, it’s the sort of tackle rightly outlawed in the rules of the game due to the high risk of it leading to injury.
The league should—and must—seek to discourage such tackles. It must make it clear that there are still lines, and so no matter the intent, crossing those lines and causing injury should and must result in punishment.
That is what has happened in this case. Struikj didn’t intend to cause injury, but his tackle was reckless and did cause it, and that he will miss three games—no more, but also no less—as a result seems entirely suitable.
When players make dangerous tackles there is a risk to the player being tackled. There must also be a risk to the player making the tackle, and today the Premier League confirmed that there is by upholding the Struikj’s red card.