If you had any doubt as to the authenticity of the myriad injuries audiences around the world had to sit through during the World Cup, doubt no more: FIFA has just issued an internal report detailing
the extent of the histrionics at this summer's tournament in Germany. The chief finding-not surprisingly-is that players who fell down in pain only to bounce back minutes later were more likely faking
injury than not. As Nick Szczepanik of the London Times says of such players, "In all probability he was buying time for his team to regroup, either at the behest of the coaching staff or on his own
initiative, although he may simply have fancied a breather." The FIFA report says that 58 percent of the players who were treated on the field eventually turned out not to be injured. This, Szczepanik
says, would suggest that cheating is endemic among the game's elite nations, since these so-called "elite nations" progressed furthest during the World Cup. However, the report was a great deal less
harsh on them, citing "tactical reasons"as the most likely cause of players' actions. Oh, and the good news, the report says, is that while players may have been dropping to the ground in astonishing
numbers, there were fewer genuine injuries at this year's tournament than in Korea/Japan 2002.
Read the whole story at Times Online »