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It's Time for FIFA to Put an End to Cheating and Diving In Soccer

 It's Time for FIFA to Put an End to Cheating and Diving In Soccer

I appeared on a CBC TV news program in Canada Monday night and was asked to defend the theatrics of soccer. The diving and the cheating that are so woven into the fabric of soccer and are most evident to the public when the World Cup takes center stage every four years. To be fair, the diving and cheating is indefensible other than the fact that this is what countries often do to gain a edge in soccer. And oftentimes a slight edge is all it takes to win a game.

In the past few days, I’ve spoken to many North Americans who have enjoyed the World Cup but would be much more interested in the sport if the cheating and diving could be eradicated from the game. And they’re absolutely correct. The diving that we’ve seen by footballers has been disgusting such as Italy’s Daniele De Rossi (to win the penalty against New Zealand), Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (to win free kicks in dangerous places on the pitch against Ivory Coast), Chile’s Jorge Valdivia (who received a yellow card Monday for diving to try to win a penalty), Ivory Coast’s Fadel Keita (who charged at Kaka on purpose to draw a foul, which ended up being a second yellow for Kaka and he was sent off), etc.

Several people I speak to say that they would love the sport if only the diving and cheating could be eliminated. They blame the referees for not seeing the fouls. They blame the players for faking and cheating. I blame FIFA for not being strong enough. Here’s why:

The referees are at a disadvantage. We get to see every controversial incident on replay as well as from different camera angles (including overhead cameras at times). Plus, we see the incident in slow-motion and we can watch it over and over again in a couple of minutes while the referee and his assistant referees are handicapped by only seeing it once without the aid of TV replays. When we as the TV viewer have so much more evidence at our fingertips, how can we expect the referee to make a fair and accurate result unless he sees the same things we see? Simply put, FIFA needs to introduce video technology to the modern sport of soccer.

FIFA has so far not introduced the chip technology in the ball and the addition of two assistant referees behind goals to help referees in World Cup matches. They’ve also resisted introducing video technology. The reason they are so archaic when it comes to the question of introducing technology is because they’re fearful of losing control and power. Once the decisions are made by people with video monitors, the balance of power and authority has shifted from the referees to a man in a TV studio or press box. Getting a decision correct with the aid of video technology should be the way FIFA is heading, but it undermines their authority and it undermines the authority of the referee.

FIFA wants to maintain as much control as possible. The best example of this was the controversial incident involving referee Koman Coulibaly who disallowed USA’s third goal against Slovenia. After the incident happened, no one knew what the call was. Was it offside, or was it pushing? As is FIFA’s policy, the referee didn’t conduct a post-match interview to explain his decision. And there was no word from FIFA regarding what really happened. This was on Friday. Over the weekend when the video highlights were added to the FIFA.com website, all evidence of the controversial incident was not included in the video highlights section. All we knew that FIFA was going to make a statement on Monday. So, for 3-4 agonizing days, FIFA said nothing until now when they announced that Koman Coulibaly would not be refereeing any more matches in the World Cup. And what did the head of referees think of their performance so far? “We are very, very satisfied with the performance of the referees,” Jose-Marcia Garcia-Aranda, head of refereeing for FIFA, said Monday.

FIFA is walking a tightrope. I’m convinced that between now and the final a very controversial incident will happen again and a referee will make an incorrect decision which will lead to a country being knocked out of the tournament and injustice being served. This is the sort of thing that turns fans off soccer. It can be corrected, but FIFA is too stubborn and too protective of the power they maintain to let anything go. Unfortunately it’s going to take a controversial incident that will get people incensed to encourage FIFA to change. And even then, FIFA will only change on their own time and when they feel like it.

Bottom line, FIFA needs to be more transparent and needs to be seen as doing everything they can to make the game fair. They also need to stamp out cheating and allow referees to come down hard on players who conduct that behavior. For the sake of soccer, let’s hope FIFA does something after this World Cup to improve the game.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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53 Responses to It's Time for FIFA to Put an End to Cheating and Diving In Soccer

  1. Simon Burke says:

    Been saying this for years, couldnt agree more.
    THis World Cup (So far) has had less of it than previous World Cups
    though its begun to show up again the last couple of days…

    Refs have to stay strong.

  2. brn442 says:

    The first round of matches, most refs were ignoring dives until the Italians, Brazilians, and Spanish played.

    To be fair to Ivory Coast, the Brazilians, Elano excepted, were embellishing left, right, and center.

    Fifa will have to address upholding the intergity of the game at some point, I won’t hold my breath about when.

    • Andrei says:

      “To be fair to Ivory Coast, the Brazilians, Elano excepted, were embellishing left, right, and center.”

      Not to justify what Brazil did but it all started after Ivory Coast players started fouling recklessly in frustration. That hit on Elano warranted red card but went unpunished. So Brazil players started “working the referee” to get some protection. It didn’t look pretty but ultimately it was referee who lost control of the game by allowing Ivorian brutality to run rampant.

      • Dave says:

        Diving in hockey? Yes it happens. Players who embellish to draw calls usualy have a penalt called on them to negate borderline calls. Players who have a habtit of trying to draw calls and/or whine to refs are ‘blacklisted’ and in future games have much harder time getting a callin their favour.

        If players take cheap shots in hockey and play dirty opponents may challenge them to a fight. Fights are a part of the game and help swing momentum or are a result of poor refs.

  3. Raatzie says:

    A suggestion for at least modest improvement:

    Simulation = straight red

    Should work even if you tell the refs (as I would) only to show the red in the most blatant of cases.

    Who’d want to risk the dive if it might put your side a man down?

    Ronaldo and Drogba might never hit the turf again.

    • Taf says:

      Already such a rule.. a yellow card for trying to trick the ref. And how often do you see that happen? How often does a yellow carded player stop trying to simulate… Besides refs wouln’t use the rule because it is too hard for them to be sure of simulations at the speed of the game!

      • Timo Pitkäranta says:

        I don’t know how many times, but at least Finnish Midfielder Perparim Hetemaj got a second yellow card pretty easily against Holland in EC Qualification game.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C4z_hYIru0

        Now, if you put a camera to the game to check every incident (goals, offsides, freekicks, diving, penalties, corner kicks, etc), it would last a bit longer than 90 minutes.

  4. brn442 says:

    I guess they “worked” the referee too well. Brazil are not the cute, cuddly things that got kicked off the park in the Pele era. Even though they still have a target on their back, they are quite the cynical bunch. Rivaldo against the Turks in 2002, Dida against Celtic. They and their “magic sponges” are the main reason FIFA requires “injured” players to leave the pitch before they can come back in.

  5. Ed says:

    I agree that diving and simulation need to be eliminated. Absolutely. But . . .

    I think it is interesting, and fairly disingenuous, for American sports fans who don’t usually follow soccer to take this position. In the NBA and NHL, if you trick the ref or bait him into a phantom foul, you are lauded. Its called “gamesmanship”. We call basketball and hockey players who can pull this off “savvy”. In the NFL or in NASCAR, the unofficial motto is “if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying”. In baseball, cheating is almost considered part of the game. You are supposed to TRY and cheat, and just avoid getting caught. And if you do get caught, then the pitcher just beams the batter in the back and its over. But nobody questions the moral character of the player, or criticizes the game itself. It is accepted.

    I’m not saying we should accept cheating and simulation in soccer. I’m just calling out the hypocrisy of American fans who accept it (and even encourage it) in our other sports, but then use it as an excuse to criticize soccer.

    • MarylandBill says:

      Maybe so about American Sports.. but the level of blatant dives in FIFA is beyond anything I see in American Sports. In Baseball there are 4 Umpires so any cheating has to be more subtle (You also don’t see any attempts to get penalties called on the other side). Again with the NFL, there are a number of officials on the field so faking fouls is harder.

      Ultimately, I agree that in most any sport, cheating is going to be a fact of life. What you don’t want however is for the cheating to be so common as to be obvious to even the most casual observer of the game.

      • Pakapala says:

        ::::: Maybe so about American Sports.. but the level of blatant dives in FIFA is beyond anything I see in American Sports. In Baseball there are 4 Umpires so any cheating has to be more subtle (You also don’t see any attempts to get penalties called on the other side). Again with the NFL, there are a number of officials on the field so faking fouls is harder. :::::

        Maybe you are not looking hard enough or you are so used to it that you see it as part of the game, but cheating to get a foul called on the oponent is an essential part of the NBA. So much so that they commentators call it “drawing a foul”; you know the act of running into a defender or bumping into a defender just as long as his body touch you so the referee can call a foul in your favor. So the idea that this same concept is what is turning some fans off soccer is ludricous. They might use that as an excuse but I think they just don’t like soccer, period.

        • jk says:

          “Drawing a foul is putting your body in a position where the opponent has to foul you such as drawing a charge. This has nothing to do with simulation or cheating.

          • Pakapala says:

            No, drawing a charge is all part of the game but when a player jump to shoot the ball and lean on an opposite player to initiate contact rather than the player touching him, that is what I am talking about. It is cheating but the referees get duped most of the time in the NBA.

          • Enormo says:

            JK is right. Pakapala is wrong. e.g. If Kobe pump-fakes and gets Carmelo up in the air and Carmelo make contact to Kobes legitimate shooting motion it’s part of the game. What, is the NBA going to outlaw pump-fakes??? Should they outlaw going up hard in the paint??? Should they not allow offensive players to cross-over or change direction because it may cause a defensive player to foul them???

            Kobe often goes too far in trying to draw fouls and doesn’t get the call. When he does this it’s not “drawing a foul ” it’s not part of the game. It is faking it. It is “simulating.”

            Anything beyond that is just arguing good vs. bad officiating.

        • MarylandBill says:

          You know, if I don’t notice it, then it is probably safe to say, its not blatant. Frankly, I don’t like basketball… for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is how often play is stopped by fowls. Further, I am with a number of other posters here who think you are exaggerating how often players fake being fouled compared to how often they force another player to fowl them.

          In any case, I like soccer and the blatant dives annoy me. I know people from outside the USA who also complain about how dirty taking a dive is.

          • Pakapala says:

            If you don’t notice it maybe it’s because you’ve come to accept it as normal, not because it’s not blatant. In fact it has to be blatant so the referee can see the contact and call foul. The problem is it has become acceptable in the NBA. If you watch college basketball and basketball at the international level you will see those will not be called.

      • Timo Pitkäranta says:

        I agree that diving is probably the most annoying thing in soccer.

        But, if you compare this to e.g. NHL, where the players take control of the game as “polices”, since they think referee won’t see all the dirty stuff players do (or the players just wont stop even if the referee would warn them), i don’t think diving is the biggest issue in sports.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1-25s4uwFQ
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5m6yLEy4h4
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7mWnkDt6lM
        http://bleacherreport.com/articles/704855-the-top-15-best-fighters-in-the-nhl
        http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/Police-investigating-brutal-hit-by-Boston-Bruins-player-Zdeno-Chara-031011

        The players should be fined and prohibit from playing for the rest of the season (without wage of course), and on the most bizarre cases, sent to jail. Why any of this doesn’t mostly happen? Because fights are entertainment in hockey. Yes, entertainment. It’s not sports, since no-one is trying to play the puck and the clock is not moving. You don’t ever win a hockey game by hitting the opponent. And of course, crowd comes to watch the fights. Crowd actually loves it. This is why, young children shouldn’t be even watching it, since the real world people (especially idols) have a bigger impact to child’s mind than e.g. violent movies or games.

        Or, since there is already this amazing technology called cameras, shouldn’t they be used to check every hit to see if it was made by rules or not? No? Why not? Because fights make money.

        Which is why, by far, the most idiotic thing in any sport.

    • McBride says:

      “In the NBA and NHL, if you trick the ref or bait him into a phantom foul, you are lauded.”

      Lauded by whom? Who are these basketball and hockey players who are widely respected in American sports for their cheating?

  6. canyid says:

    The rationale I heard for not going to video replay is it would interrupt the flow of the beautiful game, and become a game of stops and starts like so many other sports. Whether or not they mean it, I do agree in part with this.

    I know this doesn’t solve the issue, but a post-game review could be conducted on an incident, resulting in match bans. I know that it won’t ‘correct’ the outcome of the game, but hopefully it would act as a deterrent while not upsetting the dynamics of the rules as is.

    • ovalball says:

      They do post-match review in rugby and Aussie Rules all the time. The system seems to work pretty well in deterring the worst behavior.

    • jk says:

      Canyid,

      I think you are right on this one. You cannot give straight red cards for simulation b/c sometimes the ref would simply be guessing if it was real or fake. Post match reviews and bans handed out for cheating is the only plausible way to handle this situation. Stopping the match to review each and every incident is ridiculous. You can do that in the NFL because the game stops after every play anyhow. So it doesn’t matter if you stop for the mandatory 40 sec. or for 2 min. I do not want in game review for soccer. But you are right FIFA needs to hand out post match cards upon review the same way they recind cards upon review. There is nothing wrong with democracy (checks and balances) but FIFA seems to enjoy their dictatorship.

  7. Randall says:

    Gaffer,

    As usual you are spot on with your analysis. Here’s a suggestion to fix diving once and for all. Unfortunately, officials are never going to catch all instances of diving as they happen during a match. Replay during a match isn’t entirely feasible either. This is a long shot, but FIFA needs to establish some type of review board that can examine instances of simulation after matches have been completed. If a player has been judged by the board to have committed an act of diving by looking at replays, then the offending player must be suspended for their next match, no questions asked. Such a stiff penalty that can be enforced after the match is the only way to deter such disgusting theatrics.

  8. MarylandBill says:

    I agree with the concept of reviewing calls after the game, and very stiff penalties for any players who got free or penalty kicks as a result of having dived. I would even increase the penalty if the kick resulted in a goal.

    Like a lot of people here, I would be vary wary of using replay in the game. That being said, I think it might be useful to allow each coach to appeal one call against them during the game, particularly calls that lead to penalty kicks or expulsions. by only allowing one appeal in the game per side, you wouldn’t disrupt play too much and coaches could stop the game bad call.

    Final thought, make referees available to the Press and force them to explain calls.

    • jk says:

      You are never going to be able to review judgment calls. Even in the NFL they can only appeal absolutes like out of bounds. You can not appeal things like penalties in the NFL b/c those are up to interpretation even after a second look. In game review could only be for balls crossing the line and offside decisions.

  9. Robert says:

    with one man to decide the outcome of the game just screams of a multi-billion dollar betting scheme.

  10. Gedo says:

    An American here, sick of other Americans complaining about this. In every American sport players look to gain an advantage, just like the World Cup footballers. How many times have you seen an NBA player drive down the lane and scream bloody murder as if his right arm has been severed in an attempt to con the ref to call a foul (oh, did I mention he was never touched)? Not to mention the flops to get a charging call. What about baseball, pitchers not standing on the rubber, batters erasing the back line in the batters box to stand further back, the phantom tag play at second base, etc. Oh, and don’t forget performance enhancing drugs, Brady Anderson. How about football, where there is holding or an illegal block on almost on every play.

    So before anyone criticizes these players, remember that one of your beloved American sport heros has “cheated” or attempted to gain an advantage at one point or another. Take the time to learn the game and you might appreciate it more.

    • ovalball says:

      This article isn’t about other sports. It’s about what, if anything, can be done by FIFA to at least limit the amount of cheating and diving taking place in soccer.

      “Take the time to (read the headline) and you might appreciate it more.”

    • Matt T. says:

      And the players that do those things are criticized for them.

    • MarylandBill says:

      Yes there is cheating in American Sports and nothing we are going to do is going to stop cheating completely.

      That being said, I think there is a difference between different types of cheating. The examples you give from baseball are fairly subtle… they have to be because of the way baseball is played. And yes, there is holding in most plays in American football but to my mind a hold or an illegal block is far less calculated than the acting that goes into a faked fall. If it was my job to stop a 300 lb lineman from tackle the QB, I might well end up holding the guy sometimes myself. I would never deliberately fake a fall.

      • McBride says:

        Agree with MB. The act of being hit in the shoulder or chest and then falling to the ground clutching one’s face is a little more douchey than anything I can think of in basketball, baseball or American football.

        Add a few more referees in football and this problem will go away almost instantly. Players feel like they have to “sell” fouls pretty much constantly because only one referee is policing an enormous pitch.

  11. Jeremy U says:

    Totally agree. Fifa has to set up a board with refs or officials who watch replays of all Fifa games played. Be it EPL, Seria A, or World Cup games, whatever, watch them all.

    And if they see someone cheating, or diving, give them a fine. Make them pay an amount of their salary or earnings. Make them miss games if need be. Then it is in the press the next couple days, and then those players will think differently before they cheat and dive next time.

    I am tired of the cliche it’s part of the game.

    Their fines may be up for debate, but at least start moving in the direction of getting rid of something that is terrible to the game. I don’t care if it is in tune with or without US sports, I have been saying they need to start handing out fines as well.

    The Italy game made me sick. I like Italy, but I can’t chear for them when they play like that. How does De Rossi sleep at night. Pathetic.

    Players and teams will keep faking fouls and injuries until Fifa does something about it. But to trick a ref, to win a game….pathetic.

    I am a huge soccer supporter and try to get my friends who don’t like soccer involved in the game. But Gaffer is right, some stuff in the sport you just can’t defend.

    Sorry for ranting, but yes baseball they do cheat …and fore the record, baseball fans who say soccer is boring need their heads examined.

  12. Ismo says:

    We don’t care if american dont wanna watch soccer! There are billions on earth earth who watch soccer, so if 320 millions rather watch “FOOTBALL & BASEBALL”, let em be! i live in america mysefl and i think its ridiculous when i wacth espn and i see some journalist criticized the game because of the time, like it’s the reason why they dont wanna watch soccer. Players dives in the NBA too, take fisher for instance! Americans don’t wanna watch soccer because they think whatever they do is better than the rest of the world! When you call the own game you created “FOOTBALL” in which you use your hands, it says it all!

    • MarylandBill says:

      How ESPN might cover the game is only a small part of the issue. The fact is that there are many Soccer Fans who are starting to get bothered by the blatant dives that are getting taken in the game. I just read a blog by an English fan yesterday that was making the same complaint.

      The game should be decided by the skill of play, not the skill of acting.

      • Ismo says:

        I was the one who rated your comment and i didnt mean to do that! US soccer fans who are gettting bothered the dives in soccer and threathned to not watching it anymore ARE NOT REAL SOCCER FANS! I grew up living, watchin and breathing soccer, and couple dives won’t change my love for the game! Only clueless people would stop watching soccer because of dives! NBA players dive, ask derek fisher and im a laker fan myself!!! IF the americans dont wanna watch the game, then they shouldn’t! Soccer has done fine without them and will do fine! The real problem is that americans dont like to open up to other culture, and you can’t be blamed when you are the most powerful county in the world. I work with people here who don’t even know what’s going on outside their borders because they think America is “the greatest country “. It sure is a great country, but most americans need to cultivate themselves and open their eyes and see that they are a lot of things out there to see!!!

        • MarylandBill says:

          I think you rather missed my point. Its not just Americans who are complaining about the dives in the World Cup. I specifically referred to a blog (I wish I could find a link to it now) where an English fan (And by that I mean a fan from England, not an American who is a fan) was complaining about dives. I work with someone from El Salvador who is complaining about the dives. Are you going to claim that they are not real soccer fans?

          And, I doubt any of us here are planning on giving up on the game because of how blatant the dives are. What we are saying is that those dives are hurting the game, and making it harder for the game to make inroads into areas of the world (Primarily, but not exclusively the USA) where soccer is considered a second tier sport.

          I suppose the question is, do you actually think that blatant cheating like take dives actually improves the game?

  13. Phil Sandifer says:

    There are two problems this article addresses. It’s right about one, and wrong about the other. FIFA does need to be less secretive and, more broadly, more transparent – not just things like the US decision and lack of explanation, but also travesties like the CAF conference being sponsored by the Qatar World Cup bid, with no other bids being allowed to present.

    That said, video technology? Not helpful as a solution. The issue here is that football is a fast-moving, fluid game. Pauses to review video replays would compromise the nature of the game. Better to allow bad on-the-field calls while simultaneously using post-game video review to punish diving and cheating with retroactive cards.

  14. Brickthrower says:

    The whole argument is very simple. Ref these games like any Serie A, La Liga, or Premiership game. Stop being so by the book and stupidly strict on the calls. The amount of red cards in this World Cup is retarded, simply because the refs are going by the book. Cahill got screwed, the poor player on Nigeria got screwed. Come on FIFA, lighten the hell up and let players play. And for the person who suggested red cards to anyone caught diving: Are you serious? Do you have any idea how much commotion that would create of what is a dive and what isn’t a dive. Get ready to see 1-2 red cards a game.

    The harsh rulings on the field are taking away from the game. It’s pitiful. No cameras an video replay are necessary. Refs and linesman need to be sharp enough to notice hand balls and offsides. Refs should however be forced to give a reason for making a call. The USA incident was just completely bizarre.

    You can’t just keep blaming the Ronaldo’s and De Rossi’s of the world. Oh they dive? Big suprise. Every team has taken at least one dive in this tournament. Don’t hate the player hate the game ;)

  15. Mike in Idaho says:

    I agree with poster Phil, don’t introduce video replay as it would bog the game down but have post match reviews and suspend players who are found guilty of diving in the reviews.

  16. Pakapala says:

    The very idea that FIFA should introduce video replay to soccer is forgetting the reality of the world we live in: There are only a handful of leagues around the world where these technologies would be readily available. Remember FIFA, unlike NBA and NFL is overseeing the way the game is played in 1st-division leagues around the world. If a change has to be made by FIFA, it has to be applicable in all leagues sanctioned by FIFA.
    Now can individual leagues introduce those technologies on their own, without being in violation with FIFA? That is what I think reporters should be trying to figure out.

  17. David says:

    On the pitch I can’t see much change honestly. Refs try to crack down on it, and they do their homework with helps beat the odds in regards to who has a knack for being one or not (though surprises can happen).

    What I would like to see change is post match reviews of questionable fouls/dives. Regardless of the outcome call and result on the field, it would be nice to let the players know that they have a big brother watching their every questionable move after the game. Maybe a con to the referee could result in a one match ban (or more if it draws a penalty kick or something). Something like this would not disrupt play and would make it so the right call could be ensured.

  18. Doctor L says:

    Individual professional soccer leagues trying out various forms of technology (chip in the ball, video replay, etc) and not waiting for FIFA? An interesting possibility…

    In North America different leagues have different attitudes towards technology — the NFL has used replay (and has re-introduced radios in helmets) for several years. In contrast, MLB refuses to implement it, and recently refused to reverse an obviously blown call on the last out that cost a pitcher a perfect game. The NHL is somewhere in between, using replay for all its games to make goal-no goal decisions only. In the NFL the referee looks at the video replay in a monitor next to the field. In the NHL a central staff at league headquarters in Toronto, Canada reviews all the video footage in real time.

    How about this:

    (1) Put a chip in the ball for goal-no goal decisions. If it works well, then use it for inbounds-out of bounds decisions, penalty area or not, etc.

    (2) Similar to American football, give each manager the right to challenge two calls per match — one in the first half, one in the second. In American football if the coach is incorrect his team loses a timeout. In soccer if the manager is incorrect then his team loses one substitution. If a call is challenged then like the NHL the decision is made by a central group monitoring all video feeds. Better than a “5th referee” in the pressbox at a stadium who would be too easy to buy off.

    (3) As recommended by others, use video review after the fact to penalize and discourage diving, with mandatory penalties established by FIFA.

    Implement all of the above on a trial basis in the EPL or European professional league of your choice. The more powerful the league, the more likey FIFA would accept such an experiment.

    Soccer is by far a more free-flowing game than the other professional sports — having said that though, there are stoppages for player injuries, real or simulated. Up to four additional stoppages per match of say 30-60 secs each for challenges (especially if most resulted in the correct call being made) would be a small price to pay if the result is no more “hand of God”, Ireland injustice, etc etc. There is too much money involved to not get it right even if a little technological assistance is required. The pace of the game has increased dramatically over the years, and a soccer pitch is too big with too many players to be covered by a single referee and two linesmen.

    • McBride says:

      “In contrast, MLB refuses to implement it, and recently refused to reverse an obviously blown call on the last out that cost a pitcher a perfect game.”

      MLB has made use of limited video review (home runs) for two years

      “The NHL is somewhere in between, using replay for all its games to make goal-no goal decisions only.”

      The NHL also goes back and uses video to decide how to discipline players.

  19. blade45 says:

    You can’t introduce them. Soccer needs to be played straight through. There is a reason that there aren’t time outs. The pace and flow of the game are what seperate it from other sports. It’s fast moving and unsegmented. The reason instant replays work in football and other sports is because they are games that stop and start regularly. If you’ve ever played the sport, you’d know that adding that would ruin it.

    • MarylandBill says:

      In general, I agree with you, but I think if you limit each coach to one or two challenges (i.e., not automatic replays) and limit it only to cases where there is a direct free kick or penalty kick at stake, it might work out ok (after all, there is a play stoppage anyway).

  20. Sandy B says:

    Team challenges of a call and to see a “replay” need to have some teeth in them as they do in other sports – a “loss” of some sort for taking a replay that doesn’t change to original ref call.

  21. Lawrence says:

    One thing I can’t understand is how soccer refs let themselves be made fools of repeatedly. Make no mistake – that is what players are doing.
    Since so many here are using examples from other sports, how about (ice) hockey? If an NHL ref finds out later a player who has grabbed his face and fainted to the ground was NOT fouled, that player will get a reputation, and will have to be mugged at gunpoint before that ref calls another penalty in his favour. If an NHL ref thinks a player has embellished a true foul by falling dramatically or harder than he should, often he will ignore the foul, period.

    One more thing: if a player grimaces and grabs his face before collapsing, let’s see the mark!

  22. CanadianChris says:

    No one “lauds” cheating, anywhere. If FIFA doesn’t want to fix the problem, we should just start a league here in NA. Smaller fields, severe penalties for diving. It slows the game down and makes the players look like idiots. I’m not sure about the Americans, but I know Canadians can take a kick in the shins – it just makes us want stand up, dust ourselves off and play harder.

  23. Tim Naylor says:

    If they brought in replay, say, challenges for yellows, PKs, and goals, no time would be lost since those incidents eat time anyway. It would definitely, make fixing games with refs involved next to impossible.

  24. Brian says:

    Rugby has replay to decide if a try has been scored. If the ref can’t 100% determine if a try is scored he asks for a video review. It’s easy, simple, and doesn’t stop the flow of the game, since a score is a natural break. All four North American sports leagues (NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA) have replay in some form. The NCAA has replay in college football and baseketball depending on the level. In all of the North American cases the replay can only occur after a natural break in play. In the NHL case, a goal was awarded retroactively in this year’s Stanley Cup finals (Chicago v Philadelphia) after the referee couldn’t determine if the puck crossed the goal line. At the next stoppage in play, the play was reviewed; a goal was awarded; and time was put back onto the clock. It was a truning point in the game as well.

    As for FIFA and soccer in general, I think if they do not take steps to move forward to institue replay in some form for all goals scored (ball over the line, was the player offside, not offside, Henry handball, et al), then I think people are going to get more and more upset esp when the right call was not made for their team. Could this lead to less people tuning out the major FIFA events, and other league events? I don’t know for sure, but FIFA is playing with fire here. It sure makes the folks who run the place seem like a bunch of corrupt thugs, which is one thing the majortiy of people in the world don’t like at all.

  25. Greg says:

    How about this. Make it a rule that if a guy goes down (crying and writhing around like a little child), the referee must go over to the “injured” player and give him a “standing 5 count” — counting from 1 to 5 while the player attempts to get up from his “injury.” If the player does not get up after 5 seconds, his team’s trainers must remove him from the pitch and he must remain on the sideline for 5 full minutes until he is either “healed” or otherwise ready to rejoin play on the field. If a player is truly injured, then this would ensure that he gets proper treatment. If a player is merely a little faking child, then he and his team is penalized by having to play 5 minutes shorthanded.

  26. BobR says:

    I don’t think looking at replays is really feasible, except possibly after a goal. It would interfere too much with the flow of the game. However, FIFA officials are quite capable of reviewing tapes of a game and handing out punishments for cheating after the fact. A one or two game suspension for cheating would go a long way to getting rid of this kind of behavior.

  27. Dave G says:

    I like the extra official at the goal line for goal/no goal, and each ref should have to watch the match they just officiated afterwards on a DVR. I often wonder if they do (wouldn’t you want to if you were a ref?). Then they could see it all and see stuff they called in slow-mo etc. I agree with BobR – I am strongly in favor of retroactive punishment. Even though it wouldn’t and it shouldn’t effect the outcome of a game, it would be a major deterrent. Because of the subjective nature of most of these situations, it should be 9 experienced referees watch it, discuss, and vote. The incidents could be nominated by the game’s original head referee or either teams coach.
    Reviewing tape after a game seems like such an obviously easy and reasonable idea they should just do it already. I am really, really tired of trying to explain diving to the little kids I coach. It’s just lame. I’m also perpetually amazed that there aren’t teams who have enough integrity to clamp down on it themselves. Please tell me if I’m wrong and there are some I haven’t heard of. I know there are definitely some who very rarely do it, but I wonder if that’s an intentional culture of the team or just the individuals…

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