Blatter condemns new trend of feigning injury
BERLIN, July 4: FIFA president Sepp Blatter criticised the growing practice by players of feigning injury in an attempt to pressurise their opponents into kicking the ball into touch to stop a promising attack.
''Lying on the ground and pretending to be injured is just abusing (the convention) of stopping play for injury,'' said Blatter.
''It is just cheating and we must look at this in the future.
I have seen it myself and I do not like it.
''The fans don't like it, but what it does is: it makes the team with the ball stop when perhaps there is nothing wrong.'' There has been an increasing tendency of this practice at the World Cup and Blatter is also against the growing trend of players trying to get other players booked by wagging an imaginary card at the referee.
''I agree that there is an exuberance of the players going towards the referee and inviting him to show cards.
''This is a tendency that at the beginning of the World Cup I didn't see but now in the decisive matches it is happening.'' Play can be stopped immediately by the referee if he suspects a player has suffered a serious injury, but increasingly at the World Cup, referees have let play continue, only for the team with the ball stopping play by putting it into touch.
The practice is not enshrined in the laws nor is it part of the regulations of the World Cup but has become an established practice of ''good sportsmanship'' in recent years.
Play then restarts with the ''defending'' team playing a soft ball back to their opponent -- by which time the defending side have had time to re-organise their defence.
In the past there have been a number of examples of teams capitalising on the sporting nature of their opponents and restarting play with a direct attacking move.