Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughPretending to be injured - the new football tactic - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Pretending to be injured - the new football tactic - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Pretending to be injured – the new football tactic

When a player is injured, the referee will normally stop the game, or wait for the ball to go out of play, before allowing the physios and medical team to come onto the pitch. Generally, most incidents are not serious and end with the player in question gingerly getting to his feet and hobbling off the pitch to receive further treatment. Once he is patched up, he waits for the referee to wave him back onto the field and he can continue playing. However, a new form of tactical cheating is becoming increasingly common during matches, where an apparently injured player will go down, and stay down, to force the referee to blow his whistle and stop the opposition attack. I will look at how this is affecting the game and whether anything can be done to stop it.


My view.
Two opposing players go up for a header and the attacker wins the ball and knocks the defender to the floor. Neither player is hurt but the defender has realised that the attacking team now has a very good chance of scoring, especially as he is about to hit the deck and won’t be able to recover quickly. What does he do then? Get up as quickly as possible and try to get back to help his team mates, or lie on the floor and roll around pretending to be injured? 9 times out of 10 we are likely to see the player remain on the ground and wait for the referee’s sympathy, or doubt, to creep in. The referee is put in a real dilemma in these situations because it is possible that a serious head injury has occurred or that the player has been badly injured in the fall. However, it is also possible that he is absolutely fine and just needs to be encouraged to get up. The difficulty is that if a referee doesn’t stop play and then finds out that the player is hurt, then he will have an awful lot to answer for, and the players know this.


Consequently there is an emergence of players deciding that it is in their interest to go to ground easily and not remain strong in a challenge. Apart from the obvious lack of sportsmanship shown every time a player decides to act to allow his team to benefit, there is also the bad example that is set to children watching the game, who will grow up believing that it is acceptable to cheat. There is also the real possibility that if a player regularly goes into challenges half-hearted then he could actually end up seriously injured, and then it begins to look like a case of the boy who cried wolf. Would you, as a referee, believe that an individual required medical attention if that person was always faking it?

Is there any way to retrospectively punish a player who claims to be in distress and then miraculously jumps up to his feet once the whistle has been blown? Again, this is very difficult to judge and it could only be assessed on a case by case basis. Sometimes it appears extremely obvious that a player is acting, whilst at other times it genuinely does look like medical assistance is required. Unfortunately, the man in charge is the only one that can make the decision and players should not be allowed to take the game into their own hands and stop playing, as we have seen several times in Real Madrid v Barcelona matches!

A challenging one for referees, who are put under immense pressure when a player is on the floor. It seems like there is nothing else for it but to allow their judgement to rule. Yellow card though for any player caught faking an injury that clearly isn’t in any distress.

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