What They're Saying

"The ball is in the referees' court. 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. ... 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."

-- FIFA President Sepp Blatter believes too many players fake injuries and wants refs to punish them by delaying their return to the field. (Reuters)
1 comment about "What They're Saying".
  1. Kent James, January 3, 2014 at 10:03 p.m.

    Unless I'm misunderstanding what Blatter is saying, this seems like a really bad idea (or it just reiterates power referees already have). My understanding is that a referee can already decide when to allow a player to re-enter; if this is just reinforcing that, that's fine. On the other hand, if the referee is now obligated to determine if a player is faking an injury, that's a whole other level (and I think opens a large can of worms). The other team is ("are" if you're English) not required to put the ball into touch now, so if they think the guy is faking it, they can continue to play. Now referees are supposed to stop the game if the player is in danger of being injured by the continuation of play (it's happening all around him, e.g.) or if they have an injury that may need immediate attention (like a head injury, broken leg, etc.). But what if it's a pulled muscle (like a hamstring), where the guy is clearly not faking it, but neither is it a "serious" injury? And what does it mean for the numerical disadvantage "to have an effect on the game"? I think it is unwise of Blatter to push referees to take a larger role in this. Refs should stop the game for an injury if the player seems to be in danger, or if there is a stoppage. Short of that, let the players determine it (or let league officials punish players who are faking it). I think the refs have enough to do.

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