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Players make referees life harder, says Beckenbauer

Written by: Staff

BERLIN, June 29: Franz Beckenbauer said today that players are making life harder for referees at the World Cup finals by constantly falling and diving in matches.

In a wide-ranging address, the president of the German World Cup organising committee criticised the players behaviour, but also said that referees were too quick to show yellow cards too.

''Of course players make mistakes, referees do as well as they are only human -- but players do not make life any easier for the referees by the way they fall down and roll over and over every time they are touched,'' he said.

''They try to incite the referee into awarding a free kick or show a yellow or red card.

''What the players are doing is so exaggerated, they are making life harder for the referees all the time.

''But at the same time the referees are often too quick to whistle, they are too quick to show a yellow card, and then they have a problem because they have to then show a yellow and red card (a second booking and a sending off).'' The refereeing at the World Cup has come under intense scrutiny in the last week, highlighted by the stormy last 16 clash between Portugal and the Netherlands in which a record four players were dismissed.

A total of 25 red cards have been produced at the tournament, passing the previous record of 22 set in 1998.

Beckenbauer also praised the way the German team was playing and congratulated German coach Juergen Klinsmann for their performances so far.

Germany meet Argentina in the quarter-finals in Berlin tomorrow and Beckenbauer said: ''He has been very courageous playing with two strikers up front.

''He has done a great job since he took over, changed the team around, hurt some people and stepped on some toes too, but you have to accept that.

''Germany made a marvellous impression in the Confederations Cup last year and has done the same here and I am confident Germany can make it to the final. My dream final would be Germany v Brazil so we could have the chance to avenge the defeat in 2002.''

Beckenbauer, who has seen 38 of the 56 matches played so far, including three a day on some days, said he felt bitter-sweet about there only being 10 days left to the final and the end of the World Cup on July 9.

''When something has been part of your life for nine years as this has been, preparing for the World Cup, then it is hard to think it will soon all be over.

''It has been fantastic occasion and because it has gone so well you wish it could carry on for longer but that is just wishful thinking.

''After it is over the World Cup will head towards the moon, then past Mars then it will leave our solar system.

''But the legacy it leaves behind will, I hope, that the thousands of people who have met in the Fan Miles and exchanged emails and phone numbers stay in touch and remain friends.

''This is the way God wanted the world to be, thousands of people in peace, no matter what their race, creed or colour.

This is what humanity should all be about.''


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