SEPP BLATTER HAS called on referees to use the full extent of their powers to punish players guilty of simulation.
Diving in the Premier League particularly has come into the spotlight in recent days, with Jose Mourinho backing referee Martin Atkinson’s decision to book Oscar in Chelsea’s 3-0 victory over Southampton, just days after accusing Luis Suarez of simulation in his side’s win over Liverpool.
The incident was the latest in a string of cases of simulation in the English top flight this season, which has seen 13 bookings being dished out for the offence, including three for Manchester United youngster Adnan Januzaj.
And Blatter feels the guilty parties are setting a bad example for aspiring footballers.
“Cutting out this kind of cheating is a matter of respect towards opponents and fans, and ultimately one of self-respect as a professional and role model,” he wrote in his FIFA Weekly column.
“The longest breaks in the game nowadays are almost exclusively the result of dives, simulation and play-acting to feign injury.
“This kind of thing is treated with scorn in other sporting disciplines but it has become a normal and accepted part of football nowadays. Even though simulation is incredibly unfair and looks preposterous when viewed in a replay, some people regard it as smart or in the worst case as a harmless misdemeanour.
“I find this deeply irritating, especially when the (supposedly) half-dead player comes back to life as soon as they have left the pitch.”
Blatter has placed responsibility for policing the problem in the hands of officials, who he believes have the necessary powers to sufficiently punish players.
“The ball is in the referees’ court,” he continued. “The instructions are now clear on this matter: if a player is lying on the floor, the opposing team are not required to put the ball into touch.
“The referee should only intervene if he believes a serious injury has occurred.”