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Blatter says he used to dive when he played

Written by: Staff

BERLIN, July 7 (Reuters) FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said he often dived trying to win free kicks when he played in the top amateur league in his native Switzerland.

''I was not a perfect player, I have to say, being a striker,'' Blatter told CNN. ''I tried... to get some advantages by joking with a player and then falling down by saying 'but he touched me.' And in fact it was not that. I did it.'' FIFA, soccer's world governing body, instructed referees before the World Cup to clamp down on diving and gamesmanship by cautioning offenders, with Blatter saying it was important for players to set a positive example as role models.

However, in a programme to be aired on CNN International tomorrow called 'Revealed: Sepp Blatter', the FIFA president said he understood why players dived.

''I think that all players -- especially attacking players -- they do it because you go into the 18-yard area and then you lose the ball because somebody takes it away,'' said Blatter.

''You are frustrated, and then in the frustration you do two things, either you try to get the ball back and then you commit a foul or you say 'but he touched me,' and then you fall down.

''I think this is a normal movement and I can understand the players acting like that. But now they are at the level of the World Cup and they are the professionals, so they should think about that, but it's in the game.'' Franz Beckenbauer yesterday called for a summit meeting of players, coaches and referees in a bid to stop play-acting and feigning injury which has blighted matches at the World Cup.

Beckenbauer, president of the German organising committee who won the World Cup as both player and coach, said players should stop cheating in a bid to gain an unfair advantage.

Reuters AY GC1800

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