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The Republic of Ireland international believes that the pressure brought to bear upon referees is encouraging the eradication of tackling from football

Stoke City midfielder Glenn Whelan will escape sanction from the Football Association (FA) for a two-footed stamp on Javi Garcia in his side's FA Cup clash against Manchester City on Saturday January 26.

The incident went unseen by referee Howard Webb and it had been suggested that the Republic of Ireland international would receive retrospective punishment for the challenge, but he has thus far avoided censure.

Nevertheless, the Potters midfielder is concerned that the pressure brought to bear on officials by the media and elsewhere will encourage an overly harsh stance on tackling and subsequently damage the nature of the game.

"I've gone in for the challenge and I don't think I tried to be dirty but if it looks that way on TV then I'll have to hold my hands up," said Whelan. "I don't think I caught him as much as he was rolling about. Obviously he's felt it so you have to take that. I've caught him harder than I thought."

He added: "Hopefully nothing will happen. People have talked about tackling going out of the game, but it's only going out of the game because we're not allowing it. If you're getting pulled up on little things every week then people will stop.

"It's the English game, the old-fashioned game, and that's what the Premier League is so good for. There is massive pressure on the referees from the media and the people they're accountable to. Hopefully it (tackling) can stay in the game and people just get on with it," concluded the Stoke midfielder.

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