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Football: Sliding tackle under threat

Fifa has called for players to banned from launching themselves into tackles, to protect the game's most gifted players.

"We absolutely have to take out aggression, especially in games where a lot is at stake," Sepp Blatter, secretary-general of football's world ruling body, said yesterday, adding that Fifa should "ban all this sliding". "Players like Ronaldo are being kicked to pieces these days and that is not acceptable."

Blatter said the issue had already been raised with Fifa's International Board and would be fully discussed next March.

He also said Fifa hope to tighten the laws on back-passes so that goalkeepers will not be able to handle passes headed to them in the 1998 World Cup finals in France.

He added that Fifa want to introduce professional referees in league's worldwide, "between now and the year 2000."