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Violent Play On Rise Says FIFA Med Chief

  • AP, Monday, September 28, 2009 3:45 PM
FIFA's medical chief Michel D'Hooghe says he's seen a rise in career-ending fouls over the past two years, and he wants referees to show more red cards and coaches to do their part in curbing violent play. "We see more violent fouls over the whole world," as games gain in financial importance, said D'Hooghe.

"Some of the fouls send shivers down your spine. It is as simple as that," he said. "The stakes are now so high that I question the role of some coaches. In what frame of mind do they send their players onto the field? Is all this still within the ethics of our sport?"

The two worst fouls, the tackle from behind and the illegal use of the elbow, should get an automatic red card, he said. "The referees have the key. They are the only ones who can impose an immediate sanction," said D'Hooghe. "They do not do it often enough and there is a lack of uniformity."

He said referees were instructed to show an automatic red card for illegal use of the elbow following the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan in which 12 players sustained facial injuries. Four years later in Germany, the number of those injuries dropped to just two. "So it is clear that such measures help," he said.

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