February 14 – UEFA has issued a strong message to its referees to clamp down on simulation ahead of the Champions League knockout stages which start this week.
Match officials were briefed last week and urged to crack down on trends that UEFA feels are harming the game – in particular diving and faking injury.
At its annual winter course for top European referees, conducted virtually because of the Covid-19 pandemic, officials were encouraged to intervene and take firm action against over-reaction by players to innocuous fouls, attempts to pressure referees into giving opponents red or yellow cards, and efforts to deceive the referee through acts of simulation.
They were also urged to react firmly in instances of “mobbing”, where groups of players surround and put pressure on referees.
UEFA Referees Committee chairman Robert Rosetti called on players to show greater respect for the game’s values.
“We’re worried, we don’t like to see these incidents happening,” he said. “They damage the game and its image.”
“Such conduct is not respectful – nor does it show a spirit of fair play when players, for example, try to deceive a referee or put pressure on the referee to caution or dismiss a opponent.”
“We don’t want to see this taking place, we can’t accept it. Consequently, referees are being asked to be alert and take appropriate firm and consistent measures in such cases. It’s especially important that the referees always act on what they see – not what they hear.”
Rosetti called on officials to maintain the same high levels of performance that marked last summer’s Euro 2020 tournament and not to rest on their laurels.
“The Euros are very much in the past now. We must look forward.”
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