World Cup referees are to be given strict guidelines designed to stamp out diving and other foul play in Germany in the summer.
Later this month, at a World Cup workshop in Frankfurt, referees will be given an eight-point list of the worst offences, including elbowing, over-the-top tackles, mass dissent and time-wasting. But the priority will be diving, added to the list at the request of the Football Association.
The new crackdown was outlined on Saturday at the annual meeting of the International Football Association Board, comprising Fifa and the four British home associations. Never before has diving been give such priority. "It was important to bring this to the forefront of the discussions," the FA chief executive, David Davies, said. "We had to make sure it was given extra emphasis in order to raise awareness."
Fifa's president, Sepp Blatter, said it was the responsibility of referees and players not to bring the game into disrepute and he urged Barcelona and Chelsea to behave during the Champions' League tie at the Nou Camp tomorrow. Last year's game led to the retirement of the Swedish referee, Anders Frisk, after death threats from Chelsea fans and a touchline ban for Jose Mourinho.
The England manager, Sven Goran Eriksson, seems to have won his battle for an extension of the deadline for naming his World Cup squad. Fifa had wanted the squads to be announced by 15 May, more than three weeks ahead of England's opening match, against Paraguay, but may now push the deadline back by at least a week.
Despite video assistance for referees, goal-line technology will again be ruled out at the World Cup, as will any change to the offside law. But Fifa is considering one innovation - radio communication between the referee, his two assistants and the fourth official. A system of lapel microphones in the Scottish Premier League has proved a success.
Fifa is not ready, however, to implement a proposal to have two referees - to stop players faking injury. The game's European governing body, Uefa, though, will discuss the matter at the end of the season.Reuse content