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FIFA attacks players, coaches for feigning injury

Soccer's world governing body criticises the increasing trend of players to go down as if injured, frequently to stop the opposing team attacking.

india Updated: Jan 08, 2007 22:43 IST

FIFA has lambasted players repeatedly feigning injuries and 'wildly gesticulating' coaches for marring the 2006 World Cup.

In its official report, FIFA praised the German organisers for staging a trouble-free tournament, which Italy won by beating France on a penalty shootout in the final.

However, Zinedine Zidane's ejection in the final for head-butting Italy defender Marco Materazzi is just a footnote, even though it was arguably the most memorable moment of the entire tournament.

Soccer's world governing body criticised the increasing trend of players to go down as if injured, frequently to stop the opposing team attacking.

"At this World Cup, the deplorable habit that involves players staying down for no apparent reason after minor collisions, thus causing frequent breaks in play, was increasingly in evidence," said the report of the FIFA Technical Committee.

"The ensuing attacks by the team in possession were accompanied by wildly gesticulating coaches and assistants on the touchline, protests from the defending team, who often simply stayed where they were, and a reaction from the crowd until such time as the referee stopped the game," the report said.

When players go down injured, the team in possession traditionally puts the ball out of play. From the restart, the ball is then passed back to the team which deliberately put the ball out.

Now, FIFA warns that coaches and players are unfairly taking advantage.

"In some cases, the player lying on the ground was treated for quite a while before being led off the pitch and was often ready to come back on before the game had been restarted."

"When play eventually continued, the ball was played back to the team who had been in possession. But in a place that put them at a clear disadvantage," the World Cup report said.

It also said that constant interruptions destroyed the flow of the game and made it less attractive.

"What unquestionably began as a gesture of fair play is developing into a method of disrupting the other team's play. It is time to put a stop to this abuse of fair play," it said.

Despite the Technical Committee's criticism of the abuse of fair play, FIFA president Sepp Blatter described the World Cup, and fan behaviour, as 'a complete success' in a foreword to the report.

"The organisation was faultless and there were no incidents of note outside the stadia," Blatter said.