The leg breaking challenge that earned a 10-match ban

Saint-Etienne defender Kurt Zouma has been given a 10-match ban after breaking the leg of Sochaux’s Thomas Guerbert.

The 24-year-old was left with a fractured tibia and fibula in his right leg, together with a dislocated ankle, following a reckless challenge from the France under-21 international in last weekend’s Ligue 1 match.

The Professional Football League (LFP) plumped for an extended suspension as part of their ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to tackles that cause players to sustain serious injuries.

Nice’s Valentin Eysseric was given an 11-match ban last season for a leg-breaking challenge on Saint-Etienne’s Jeremy Clement.

Zouma’s ban will be served across all domestic competitions and means he will not play again until 2014.

Looking at the challenge (see the clip below) it’s undeniably a red card offence as Zouma flies in wildly with both feet off the ground. However, it is not obviously a leg breaking challenge and arguably, there does not appear to be the malicious intent to harm the opponent. The damage, severe though it is, appears to have come about mainly as a result of the unfortunate Guerbert falling awkwardly.