Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Clean up your act

Some good news coming out of the UK as far as the Football League is concerned. All the football clubs outside the Barclays Premier League have voted to support proposals aimed at encouraging sportsmanship and stopping gamesmanship in matches. So what does that mean? Gamesmanship comes in many forms and can include showing disrespect to the match officials such as crowding around the referee after he's made a decision, holding up an imaginary card after being fouled to try and get your opponent booked, and in particular actions such as diving/simulation, time-wasting and feigning injury. These have always been in the game, on every continent, but they are definitely more prevalent in recent years whether you are watching football in England, or in Cambodia. The sooner we cut out this cancer from the game the better for everyone concerned. Managers, coaches and particularly players have to take responsibility for their own actions and clean up their act. The Football League are asking referees to support their initiatives by being more robust in their handling of these situations, in addition to occasions where players obstruct the quick taking of free-kicks and steal ground at throw-ins. All of these situations occur in the Metfone C-League on a regular basis. Feigning injury is definitely a blight on the game here, as is obstructing quick free-kicks. Clearly coaches have told their players to stand in front of the ball and Cambodian referees have so far been completely ineffectual in clamping down on both of these situations. I'd also like to see teams adopt a policy of kicking the ball to the goalkeeper rather than putting it out for a throw-in, after the game has been halted for an injury, as teams use this tactic to gain ground unfairly in my view. Let us hope that the football federation here take the lead of the Football League and institute similar proposals in Cambodia. Proposals designed to improve the game as a viewing spectacle and to bring sportsmanship back into the limelight.

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