Magpies request De Jong punishment

Magpies request De Jong punishment

Newcastle have called on the Football Association to take action against Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong over the tackle which left Hatem Ben Arfa with a double leg fracture.

The Magpies have written to the FA to ask them to look into the incident, which went unpunished by match referee Martin Atkinson.

A club statement said: “Newcastle United have today written a strongly worded letter to the Football Association in relation to the tackle by Manchester City’s Nigel de Jong on Hatem Ben Arfa in Sunday’s Premier League fixture, which resulted in Ben Arfa sustaining a broken tibia and fibula of his left leg.

“The club has asked the FA for the appropriate action to be taken against De Jong for the tackle which, in the club’s, opinion was unnecessary and used excessive force.”

Newcastle have also called on referees' chiefs to investigate the performance of the officials in the game, during which they conceded a controversial penalty and were denied what they believe should have been a spot-kick of their own in addition to the Ben Arfa incident.

The statement continued: “Newcastle United will also be writing to the appropriate body regarding the performance of the match officials, specifically the referee, in relation to a number of incidents during the game, including the tackle on Ben Arfa.”

Ben Arfa was carried from the pitch on a stretcher just minutes into Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Eastlands after being scythed down by the combative De Jong.

Mr Atkinson saw nothing wrong with the Holland international’s challenge and did not even award a free-kick.

However, Magpies boss Chris Hughton, normally a model of composure, was furious.

Speaking after the game, he said: “Everyone will have their own opinion, but it was a tackle that did not need to be made.”

It was confirmed later that night that France international Ben Arfa, who is on loan at St James’ Park from Marseille, had broken both the bones in his lower left leg.

He underwent a successful surgery to repair the damage yesterday morning, and it is not yet known how long he will be out of action.

City’s assistant manager, Brian Kidd, defended De Jong in his post-match press conference, saying: “There is no malice in Nigel whatsoever. He is not that type of lad.”

However, international boss Bert van Marwijk yesterday withdrew him from the Holland squad for the forthcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers against Moldova and Sweden as a direct result of the challenge, which he described as “wild and unnecessary”.

The midfielder, of course, was fortunate not to be sent off in a brutal World Cup final during which he caught Spain’s Xavi Alonso in the chest with his studs.

De Jong’s latest controversy has helped to fuel an ongoing debate about tackling after a series of high-profile incidents in the Barclays Premier League.

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