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oops i forgot this solution to players diving like girls that i read somewhere else. it might be better than any of mine:

'It amazes me that they're perfectly happy to look like a complete bunch of girls-blouses in the way that they fall over clutching their pampered faces.
They must have laughed at others in replays who've been similarly derided. Perhaps the pink card for a camp display should be branded, or offenders should have to play in floral wellies for ten minutes. Or a tutu. That should get the message across.'


The players were much more to blame for that fiasco than the ref. If anything your write up suggests that he should have doled out more cards rather than fewer.

Occasionally there will be a game where one team chooses to ignore the incentives offered by the carding system and play drity anyway. Being carded just adds to the chip on their shoulder, and makes them even more likely to be carded. My attitude to that was always fair enough....I'll card all of you if I need to because the alternative is to let them get away with cheating. If this "ruins" the game it is their fault not mine.

The even worse scenario is when both teams arrive at the game hating each other. This is what we seemed to have last night. By and large the ref did a good job of being firm and trying to stamp out the misbehaviour. Yeah he missed the headbutt because he turned his back on the players, but frankly I think he was right about the drop ball restart: he isn't authorised to halt play for a non-foul. Further he shouldn't stop play in the first place for a non-head injury as you suggested unless it is obviously very serious, and there weren't any serious injuries in that game. So I didn't really have a problem with the ref, and you can't say he ruined the game because it was much more entertaining than the average game in this world cup.

There are a couple of clear problems though. FIFA's clampdown (particularly on lunging tackles but more generally on physical play) coupled with it's insistence that referees only card for diving when they are absolutely sure about it has led to a big incentive for players ot dive all the time, and it is has also led to all the waving of imaginary cards in the ref's face.

Solutions to this (while apparently nonexistent in this world cup) are quite simple:

i) for the card waving an automatic yellow;

ii) for the diving either a video ref who can communicate with the ref and tell him that he has definitely been fooled by a dive with the diver to receive an automatic red and/or with the ref having the ability to refer a suspected dive to the video ref;

iii) if fifa wish to maintain that using video evidence during the game is no good then have a panel watch the match after the event and had out long bans (maybe up to a year if necessary) for blatant cheating.

a couple of other things arose from this game. fifa say they can't ban figo for a headbutt because the ref gave him a yellow card. they clearly ought to change the rules to prevent repeats of this. his world cup should be over.

Blatter criticised the ref when the spectacle (9 v 9 with lots of diving) was in larg epart a result of his own approach. Now it's no secret that the man is an arse, but how does he expect referees to do a good job when he first makes it known that they will be on the plane home if they are not strict enough and then criticises them when they are. He should have been criticising the players instead.

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