Timewasting tactics must be eradicated from world football

Robbie Di Fabio Roar Guru

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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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    The Crowd Says (29)

    • March 29th 2013 @ 3:38am
      Johnno said | March 29th 2013 @ 3:38am | ! Report

      The aussy players are not saint’s either. Many teams complain about the soccer’s some say over physical nature to how they football.
      Everywhere you go , teams always say the soccer’s are very physical and many say cross the line, and can be very aggressive.

      Kevin Muscat and Danny Tiatto, Ljubo Miličević as 3 examples, heck Mark Van Bommel Roy Keane, or Vinnie Jones, might take a step back VS those guys Should we go there about Kevin Muscat in 2001 vs France at the MCG.
      We won’t today, that would embarrass the socceroos lot lol, there under enough pressure right now.
      Tim Cahill I find very physical as well at times. As is Patrick Kisnorbo Sasa Ognenovski Vinny Grella and Scott Chipperfield.

      So don’t feel sorry for the soccer’s on time wasting, they play the game hard and irritate other countries with there at times rough style of play.

      • March 29th 2013 @ 7:39am
        asdf said | March 29th 2013 @ 7:39am | ! Report

        But they don’t roll around on the ground, faking injury as much as some other nations do.

    • March 29th 2013 @ 8:00am
      Dave said | March 29th 2013 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      I agree with the general thrust of this article. And in particular the points of making players spend longer off the pitch if they go down. However in a funny way I almost like that the Omanis do it for the simple fact that it gives me a great reason to hate them (hate in a sporting sense). Otherwise Oman is just a country I know little and care little about. But the more they carry on like that the more I want the socceroos to SMASH them, and a good rivalry can develop. It was the same with Melbourne victory. I was disappointed when Kevin Muscat retired because I ‘loved to hate’ him. Since his time I still dislike the victory, but not as intensely, and the satisfaction of beating them is not quite what it was.

    • March 29th 2013 @ 8:53am
      Australian Rules said | March 29th 2013 @ 8:53am | ! Report

      It’s cheating – pure and simple.

    • March 29th 2013 @ 9:00am
      Jukes said | March 29th 2013 @ 9:00am | ! Report

      This needs to be monitored closely by the 4th official and also the referee on the ground. I dont see how it makes a difference. Even when its in injury time the referee has the discretion to blow full time whenever he wants. If the 4th official has 4 minutes left to play, then the referee can take it to 6 mins if he wants. Its ultimately up to the referee. I dont see how players time wasting will affect the game as long as the ref and the 4th official are onto it.

      • Roar Guru

        March 29th 2013 @ 9:31am
        Fussball ist unser leben said | March 29th 2013 @ 9:31am | ! Report

        I reckon if the team is going to be down 1 man for 5 minutes, players will think long & hard before they ask the ref to stop play, in order to get medical assistance.

    • Roar Guru

      March 29th 2013 @ 9:11am
      Fussball ist unser leben said | March 29th 2013 @ 9:11am | ! Report

      Simple rule that would eliminate this time-wasting and not jeopardise the well-being of players, who are seriously injured (e.g. Mark Bresciano on Tuesday night).

      New Rule:
      If a player is lying on the ground, with his arm raised, the referee must stop play for the player to receive treament. The player must then leave the field of play & cannot return to the field of play until 5 minutes has elapsed from him leaving the field of play.

      If a player is injured to a stage he requires treatment, he is going to need a minimum of 5 minutes to be patched up or massaged.

      If a player is not injured to a stage he requires treatment (E.g cramp, whack on the shins/knee/ankle, which hurts like hell but is transient pain) he will think twice before calling for assistance.

      • March 30th 2013 @ 9:46am
        holly said | March 30th 2013 @ 9:46am | ! Report

        “,,,,, cannot return to the field of play until 5 minutes has elapsed ….”
        what if the injury is as a result of a foul by the opposition ? Why should the injured player’s team be penalised ?

        • March 30th 2013 @ 9:54am
          Muz said | March 30th 2013 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          Double post

        • March 30th 2013 @ 9:54am
          Muz said | March 30th 2013 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          Exactly. That’s why it should be a yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct.

    • March 29th 2013 @ 9:45am
      Minz said | March 29th 2013 @ 9:45am | ! Report

      Why not simply allow the referee to blow time off like other sports do? I’m sure there was originally a reason for the continuous clock in soccer, but there’s no reason to not have a timekeeper these days, and it would mean that the only benefit from simulation is having a rest. It’d also remove all subjectiveness from the injury decision – if play stops for a significant period of time, then the clock’s not on, regardless of why the play has stopped.

      • Roar Guru

        March 29th 2013 @ 10:04am
        Fussball ist unser leben said | March 29th 2013 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        The referee does add time for such incidents and “stoppage time” is added after the official 45′ has elapsed.

        But, it’s not simply the time-wasting that’s the issue. For me, it’s the strategy of feigning injury to break up play or halt an opponent’s momentum at critical stages in the game.

        • March 29th 2013 @ 10:25am
          pete4 said | March 29th 2013 @ 10:25am | ! Report

          I agree it’s mostly done to stop the play and momentum of the opponent

          The problem is FIFA has 209 National member associations. You try and get 209 people from different backgrounds to agree on what’s fair and what’s not. It’s just not that straight-forward

          • March 29th 2013 @ 10:28am
            Mr Celery said | March 29th 2013 @ 10:28am | ! Report

            Since when has a FIFA decision required unanimous approval? Not in my lifetime!

            • March 29th 2013 @ 10:58am
              pete4 said | March 29th 2013 @ 10:58am | ! Report

              Pretty sure it’s the reason all National member associations fly to Zurich every year. FIFA Board outlines agenda items and everyone discusses any issues/changes

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