Diving has been the shame of football and subject of handwringing for many years. Now, on the second day of the year 2014, concern over the issue has finally reached the most out of touch segment of humanity: FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Perhaps just now realizing that there is no direct way for FIFA to make money off of diving, Blatter has decided that the practice upsets him a great deal.
"This kind of thing is treated with scorn in other sporting disciplines but it has become a normal and accepted part of football nowadays," Blatter wrote in the latest edition of FIFA Weekly, which will be published on Friday. [...]
If only there was a single governing body that had influence over the way the game is played all over the world...
"I find this deeply irritating, especially when the (supposedly) half-dead player comes back to life as soon as they have left the pitch. The touchline appears to have acquired powers of revival which even leading medical specialists cannot explain."
OK! Sepp is deeply irritated. Now he's going to personally drop the hammer on fakers everywhere. Maybe this will prove to be his first positive contribution to the game. What visionary plan do you have for us, Sepp?
"The ball is in the referees' court," he added. "The instructions are now clear on this matter: if a player is lying on the floor, the opposing team are not required to put the ball into touch."
Blatter said players should be made to wait before returning to the pitch if the referee believed they had feigned injury.
"The referee should only intervene if he believes a serious injury has occurred. When a 'stricken' player seeks to return to the field of play immediately after being taken off, the referee can make the player wait until the numerical disadvantage has had an effect on the game."
So, he's essentially doing what he does best (aside from being completely out of touch) and passing the buck to referees. Instead of instituting punishments upon later review or some other systematic repercussion or public shaming, Blatter is putting the responsibility of eradicating simulation solely on match officials. Thanks, Sepp. You've been a great help, as always.
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