Timewasting tactics must be eradicated from world football

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Australia's Tim Cahill (left) reacts to a call made by referee Ravshan Irmatov during their 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifier match against Oman. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

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Australia’s clash with Oman in the Asian World Cup Qualifier on Tuesday night was disappointing on numerous levels.

Despite a spirited fight-back from the Socceroos in the second half to even the ledger at 2-2, the solitary point was simply not good enough against an opponent notoriously weak away from home.

Holger Osieck’s troops will now have a tussle on their hands to win automatic qualification to Brazil 2014, after minnow Jordan upset group leader Japan 2-1, moving them into second spot.

While Australia still has a game in hand, it will almost certainly need to claim maximum points in its final two home fixtures against Jordan in Melbourne and Iraq in Sydney.

While there were many issues to dissect from the tenuous Socceroos performance including tactical analysis, selection and substitutions, the subjects of simulation and timewasting have seemingly been ignored by media outlets.

A football game is intended to be played for 90 minutes.

In Tuesday’s outing, there was only around 75 minutes, at best, of actual playing time.

This was due to the Omani’s disgraceful simulation antics every few minutes.

Yes, Australia played poorly and can only blame themselves for not winning on home turf.

However, something needs to be done regarding some of these Asian and Middle Eastern nations who are repeat offenders of abysmal playacting in tandem with their mischievous attempts to deceive referees.

The straw which broke the camel’s back was when an Omani player deliberately went to the turf in the second period, wincing comically in pain.

Once the stretcher came to his aid, two minutes had elapsed.

What happens when the medical team place him on the sideline? He gets up instantly, trying to grab the referee’s attention to re-enter the field of play.

This, in conjunction with the many other antics on the night, was a downright disgrace, not only to the Omani football – who doesn’t appear too bothered by the disruptive tactics – but also to the game we love so dearly.

Football as a spectacle suffers. Supporters become ostensibly frustrated. It ruins the image of the game and any momentum the opposition’s may have.

Socceroos centre-half Michael Thwaite couldn’t hold back his displeasure post-game, arguing that the Omani team were not approaching the game with any spirit of fair-play.

“I don’t like the way they play, rolling around and all that stuff,” he revealed.

Many competitions and countries around the globe are not devoid of timewasting and simulation – all nations are somewhat guilty in these regard.

But Oman’s blatant disregard of the rules was certainly elevated to another level. It’s a trend many Australians have witnessed when facing Asian opposition.

In relation to timewasting, how do we eradicate these cancer-like tactics from world football?

World governing body FIFA must be stringent in policing this. These new rules should be implemented to help exterminate these time-wasting tactics.

1. If a player receives treatment on the pitch, once on the sideline, they cannot re-enter the field of play for a minimum of two minutes.

2. If a player is stretchered off, assuming they are fit to continue, they cannot re-enter the field of play for a minimum of five minutes.

If these simple rules are employed by FIFA, it would go a long way towards eradicating stalling tactics.

On Tuesday night, it was clearly evident that Oman coach Paul Le Guen had no problems with his players’ behaviour, as evidenced by his antagonising gestures towards Osieck on the sideline.

While this deceitful trend isn’t so much of an issue in Australian football, it is widely seen in international football, and is perceived very negatively on our shores.

Unfortunately, for some of these nations, it is part of their culture to win or draw by any means possible – even if it involves deceitful conduct.

Let’s hope that in the near future FIFA gets on the front foot and makes a proactive attempt to stamp this behaviour out of the modern game.

Courtesy of Goal Weekly

Follow Robbie on Twitter @RobertDiFabio

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