Rivaldo fined for play-acting

2002-06-05 14:17

Ulsan, South Korea - Brazil's Rivaldo was fined 10 000 Swiss francs ($6 390) on Wednesday for play-acting in Monday's World Cup game against Turkey.

He is the first player to be punished for simulating a foul at the World Cup following Fifa instructions for referees to crack down on players faking injury or fouls.

Turkey midfielder Hakan Unsal was sent off after kicking the ball at Rivaldo as he waited to take a corner in Monday's group C match. Although the ball hit Rivaldo in the legs, he collapsed dramatically to the ground clutching his face in apparent agony.

The World Cup disciplinary committee studied a video of Rivaldo's theatrics and decided the former World Player of the Year had been guilty of simulation in Brazil's 2-1 opening win.

Rivaldo will also have to pay 1 500 francs in costs. Before the tournament Fifa said players booked or sent off for "diving" would be fined 2 000 francs.

After the fine was announced, the Brazilian forward appeared unrepentant and said cunning was one of a footballer's skills.

"People have forgotten about the 90 previous minutes about what I did in the game, what the Brazilian team did in the game. People have forgotten all of this because of one incident which is common in football.

"This isn't going to be the only one of these incidents that are going to happen and let's see if the next ones get punished.

"Football is a game and people have to be cunning."

A spokesman for the Turkish team said the fine had been too light. "Of course it should have been something more but for us the matches ahead are more important," he said.

Disciplinary committee

Fifa said last week its disciplinary committee would review all bookings and red cards for simulation the day after the match to prevent players being wrongly punished.

Rivaldo's antics outraged the Turkish players and officials and the head of Turkey's football association Haluk Ulusoy said the Brazilian had fallen over as if hit by a brain haemorrhage.

Ulusoy urged Fifa to take action, saying: "It was acting. They told us when we came here that any action designed to fool a referee would be punished."

Rivaldo's actions were widely condemned, with Spain midfielder Ivan Helguera calling them unforgivable.

But Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari defended his player. "The ball hit him on the foot and then bounced upwards," Scolari said. "He put his hand on his face to stop being hit in the face."