Blatter blast targets 'cheats'

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The Independent Online
Sepp Blatter, the general secretary of football's world governing body, Fifa, has accused players of increasingly trying to cheat referees.

Writing in the April issue of Fifa News, its monthly newsletter, Blatter also confirmed Fifa's opposition to the use of video technology in matches.

"There is, in many countries, a growing tendency to deceive the referee," Blatter said. "When a professional star takes a dive, millions of lesser players dive with him. All players, stars and amateurs alike, must acknowledge once and for all that they cannot expect the referee to be sympathetic to their cause when they repeatedly seek to mislead him by simulating fouls and other tricks.

"For such behaviour has a name, and not a very pleasant one: cheating. And referees, for all their human fallibility, do not cheat."

Blatter said coaches had a responsibility to make clear to players that misleading the referee "will be neither encouraged nor tolerated".

"We should give more thought to helping referees rather than criticising them," he said. "The referee's job - and that of the assistant referees, too - is hard enough under normal circumstances... but when [the referee] can no longer trust the players around him it is made immeasurably harder."

Blatter said that if video technology were to be introduced "the face of football would change drastically and irrevocably".

He said that Fifa firmly believed that the game must continue to be controlled by people and that human fallibility must remain a feature of the game.

n An Italian amateur player, who had two teeth broken in a goalmouth incident and was sent off for protesting about the foul, got even shorter shrift when he took his case to court.

The court, in the northwest town of Aosta, took just three minutes to rule that the foul on Stefano Giopp, did not constitute a crime. It rejected a charge of grievous bodily harm and a damages suit against Adriano Perucca, whom Giopp had reported after the incident in October 1994.