Pierluigi Collina uses Luke Shaw injury to highlight the need for safety first
UEFA chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina has reminded officials of their responsibility to player safety after Luke Shaw's nasty leg break.
A little more than three weeks have passed since the 20-year-old left-back's fine start to the season was brought to an abrupt halt in Manchester United's Champions League clash against PSV Eindhoven.
Shaw suffered a double leg break in a tackle by Hector Moreno, leading to two operations and a lengthy spell on the sidelines that could end extinguish his Euro 2016 hopes.
Collina found it "tough" it to watch and was disappointed by the reaction of referee Nicola Rizzoli as well as the players.
"If you see the clip in PSV v Man United when Shaw was heavily injured and (had his) leg broken, the defender played ball and legs," the UEFA refereeing chief said, speaking at the Leaders in Sport Business Summit 2015.
"On the field, nobody reacted because what was perceived, even by players on the field of play, was that the ball was played.
"This is the thought of many: if the ball is played, it is not even a foul.
"We need to make people, even the football community, aware that if you want to protect the safety of the player, even challenges on the ball but risking in terms of endangering safety of an opponent can be punished, should be punished.
"Football is not everything, safety comes more than the football itself."
Collina said Moreno's challenge "should have been punished" and that incident, along with one which saw Barcelona's Rafinha seriously hurt, led UEFA to contact its officials.
"We immediately reminded all of our referees how it is important to be careful in assessing those challenges that can be rated as reckless or even a serious problem," he said.
"We want to have the players playing and not players recovering from long-term injuries.
"We certainly reminded our referees to be very, very careful with this matter.
"We would like also to remind players to be very careful when they make challenges. We would like to convince them that getting the football is not everything.
"If a player hits the ball and then endangers the opponent, he is convinced that the job was done correctly."