The Westminster Diocesan Chaplain for Sport has urged football’s lawmakers to clamp down harder on teams that display scandalous behaviour during matches.
Mgr Vladimir Felzmann, who is also the CEO for the John Paul II Foundation for Sport, has insisted that rules need to change in order to stop teams from cheating their way to victory.
“All to often the ‘beautiful game’ is turning ugly. Rules need to be changed,” Mgr Felzmann told The Universe.
Mgr Felzmann cited offences such as holding players before corners and simulationw ere portraying the wrong impression about the game. He said he had heard from reliable sources that 16-year-olds at at least one Premier Academy are taught how to dive to win free kicks and penalties.
His comments come as the International Football Association Board said it wants to press ahead with changes which will tackle some of the poor behaviour that marred England’s recent World Cup win over Colombia.
The Three Lions beat the South American side on penalties – but not before Colombia had repeatedly mobbed the referee to protest about his decisions.
American referee Mark Geiger penalised Colombia for almost twice as many fouls as England and gave them six yellow cards to England’s two. But he did not show any red cards, despite Wilmar Barrios headbutting Jordan Henderson in the first half and furious Colombian protests before Harry Kane’s penalty after the break.
Speaking to Press Association Sport, IFAB secretary Lukas Brud said his organisation’s next big initiative would be to eradicate behaviour like this from the game.
“We know that what happens on TV will happen at the weekend in games between 10-year-olds – they will have seen their idols do it and think it’s okay. That’s why we launched Play Fair,” Brud explained.
“We haven’t moved forward with it very quickly because Video Assistant Referees were our main focus – but we are looking at ways of changing negative behaviour through the laws of the game.”
Today’s World Cup fixture:
Sunday 15th July
World Cup Final
France v Croatia – 4.00pm
Picture: Radamel Falcao in action during the quarter-final Game between Colombia and England at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow, Russia on 3rd July 2018. (Hahn Lionel/ABACA/PA).