ZURICH: FIFA president Sepp Blatter wants referees to make ‘instant recovery’ footballers wait before allowing them back on the pitch after supposed injury writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Blatter, in his column in the FIFA Weekly ezine which is published tomorrow, has put into words his irritation at one of those facets of play which infuriate fans.
The difference is that Blatter, as president of the world federation, is in a position to take action. FIFA, for example, could issue this as advice to the referees appointed to the World Cup finals in Brazil in June and July.
Blatter, who is considering likely to stand for re-election as FIFA president next year, writes: “I find this deeply irritating, especially when the (supposedly) half-dead player comes back to life as soon as they have left the pitch. The touchline appears to have acquired powers of revival which even leading medical specialists cannot explain.”
Blatter said officials should continue with play unless there is a serious injury.
He suggests an unofficial ‘time penalty’ could be imposed “as referees can make a player wait on the touchline for a considerable time before he is allowed to rejoin play.
“The ball is in the referees’ court. The instructions are now clear on this matter: if a player is lying on the floor, the opposing team are not required to put the ball into touch.
“The referee should only intervene if he believes a serious injury has occurred.
“When a ‘stricken’ player seeks to return to the field of play immediately after being taken off, the referee can make the player wait until the numerical disadvantage has had an effect on the game.
“In practical terms this amounts to a time penalty – and it could cause play-actors to rethink.”
Blatter is equally dismissive of divers whose gamesmanship “is incredibly unfair and looks preposterous.”
He adds: “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.”