By Chris Wright
In what can only be described as a shocking moment of lucidity, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has sort of half-proposed that players caught feigning injury should be sanctioned with on-the-spot ‘time penalties’ to prevent them from returning to the pitch immediately after being stretchered off.
It would appear that Ol’ Sepp has had enough of watching players eat up minutes by screaming into the turf in agony after throwing themselves to the ground and then miraculously springing back to their feet the moment they reach the touchline – not forgetting, of course, the ‘gingerly limp for three steps to check legs still function before jogging back to position’ charade they all seem to perform upon re-entering the fray.
Writing in his weekly column over on the FIFA website, Blatter said:
“I find it deeply irritating, when the half-dead player comes back to life as soon as they have left the pitch.
“The referee can make the player wait until the numerical disadvantage has had an effect on the game.
“In practical terms, this is a time penalty and it could cause play-actors to rethink.
“The touchline appears to have acquired powers of revival which even leading medical specialists cannot explain.
“Even though simulation is incredibly unfair and looks preposterous when viewed in a replay, some people regard it as smart or in the worst case as a harmless misdemeanour.
“The longest breaks in the game nowadays are almost exclusively the result of dives, simulation and play-acting to feign injury.
“This kind of thing is treated with scorn in other sporting disciplines but it has become a normal and accepted part of football nowadays.”
Finally, a bit of sense from the dumpling. We can’t believe we actually whole-heartedly agree with Sepp on something.
On the surface Blatter’s suggestion seems like a fairly good idea – anything that will work towards players going unrewarded for diving should be seen as such – though of course it’s likely that referees won’t be willing to make that kind of judgement call. Imagine the repercussions of a ref wrongly refusing to allow a genuinely injured player to receive treatment: multi-shitfits abound.
There have already been 13 yellow cards for ‘simulation’ issued in the Premier League this season but in reality there are 10-30 dives peppering every game at the moment – players taking the easy way out of difficult situations by waiting for contact and plummeting.
It’s far too easy for players to get what they’re fishing for out of referees at the moment – it’s this aspect that needs to be addressed more immediately in our book.
Any thoughts, Pies fans?