Regular readers of my column will, no doubt, have noticed that I have been at pains to point out the nonsense going on with regard to diving, cheating and simulation in general among certain soccer players.
It has always been a sore point for me how these players – and it should be pointed out that I’m not talking about all players – persistently and consistently engage in what can only be described as blatant deception.
And, of course, to make matters worse, the match officials – referees and assistant referees – appeared to go along with it by awarding free kicks for frivolous “fouls” and misdemeanours.
However, and hallelujah, the powers that be seem to have at last woken up and come to their collective senses. They have realised that such behaviour is spoiling the game.
Perhaps it was the realisation that many footie followers were beginning to turn away from the game and towards other more genuinely competitive sports, where honesty and integrity still held some sway.
I’ve been watching football games since the start of this season taking place in different countries. It seems like a message has gone out from the big wigs of the game that this has to stop. Watching the referees in recent weeks, it seems to be working.Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta looks on as the match referee checks VAR
No longer will players be able to fall down at the slightest touch and claim that they have been pushed.
No longer will the players be allowed to roll around on the ground as if they had been hit by a wrecking ball when in fact it was the merest of touches or slightest contact with an opponent.
One thing that used to get up my nose was the sight of a player who was clearly looking for a free kick.
He goes down but in case he doesn’t get the free kick, he makes sure that he grabs the ball.
That tells me that he knows he’s cheating so if he doesn’t get the free kick, he makes sure that the opposing player doesn’t get the ball.
That is deliberate handball and he should be yellow-carded for it.
Video Assistant Referee in SA
I get many messages through various social media platforms asking if the video assistant referee (VAR) should be introduced in South Africa.
My straight answer to that is yes.
The VAR has its detractors and critics. That’s fine, there’ll always be those who don’t or won’t agree with everything.
In life, it’s important that justice is not only done, but also seen to be done. Referees and their assistants are only human, and humans make mistakes.
Yes, I know there has also been controversy with the way the VAR is being utilised, but the principle of it is that it’s necessary and when operated effectively and correctly, it is a benefit.
Teams that it may favour in certain situations such as goals scored, penalties, red cards and mistaken identity will agree; teams that don’t will disagree.
Isn’t that just human nature? The bottom line is that the VAR is here to stay and the sooner people and federations get used to it, the better for all concerned.
The Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet. Protect yourselves and your families, and observe all medical and scientific advice.
No one is safe until everyone is safe. Happy whistling!
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