Damiano's concern

Friday 15 February 2002

Fulham's assistant manager Christian Damiano believes that there could be a death on the football pitch if players are not sufficiently punished for deliberate elbowing.

"If a player hits someone in the face he can break their nose, but in the neck they can be dead immediately," said Damiano.

"It's terrible, but perhaps there needs to be one very bad incident and then everyone will understand.

"If I hit someone in the neck I could cut their breath, so the offender in these incidents on the pitch must receive a very hard sanction.

You accept bad accidents - but when it's intentional it's very, very dangerous

"I saw one incident in France, at Marseille, when Jurgen Klinsmann received an intentional hit and his tongue went down his throat.

"It was a terrible situation, but he was very lucky because the physio immediately ran on to the pitch and took his tongue out.

"You accept bad accidents - but when it's intentional it's very, very dangerous. I hope the situation with intent is stopped quickly."

Damiano was upset about an incident in Fulham's game with Blackburn last Saturday which saw Blackburn's Craig Short sent off for an apparent elbow on Steve Marlet.

"I have looked at the tape, and the pictures speak for themselves," said Damiano.

"These fouls are not within the rules of the international board of referees. If they accepted hitting, that would mean it was okay.

"If you accept it, you can kick each other in training and matches because the door will be open for everybody to do it."