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The story of professional fouls: from Willie Young to Federico Valverde

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hen Atlético Madrid striker Álvaro Morata raced through on goal with a few minutes to play in the Spanish Supercopa final, the Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde knew what he had to do.

“As long as professional fouls pay off, they will be committed,” noted the Mail’s comment section.

The 1980 FA Cup final was not going to script.

“It was something that I should not have done,” said Valverde.

David Lacey wrote in the Guardian: “The Football Association may consider it worthwhile informing referees of their full support should they decide next season to dismiss those who commit such cynical, squalid fouls, for which yellow cards and free-kicks are inadequate punishments.” When the Football League subsequently appointed a committee to consider ways of making football more entertaining – with Jimmy Hill chairing the discussion and both Matt Busby and Bobby Charlton asked for their opinions – they suggested that players committing professional fouls should be sent off.

“I apologised to Morata, but it was the only thing I could do because he’s a very fast player.” Valverde’s tackle may not have been in the spirit of fair play, but it worked out well for his team.

Football constantly changes, but there is always room for classic shithousery.
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