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FFA crack down on A-League ´divers´

Footballers in Australia found guilty of diving face a two-match ban under new disciplinary measures announced by Football Federation Australia on Friday.

The FFA said simulation was unacceptable and it would act to stamp out the practice, used to win penalties and get opposing players sent off.

FFA chief executive Ben Buckley said an independent match review panel would be put in place for the 2009/10 season, kicking off next week.

“I think everyone — fans, players and media — believe that simulation is unacceptable, and I am sure this change will be appreciated by the whole football community,” Buckley said.

“It is important to us that the A-League’s disciplinary provisions are not only consistent with those of the sport internationally, but also with community expectations within Australia.”

Under the new rules, which are backed by the Australian Professional Footballers’ Association and A-League coaches, divers undetected in matches can be banned through video evidence and face a two-match sanction if found guilty.

Adelaide United coach Aurelio Vidmar welcomed the changes, believing they would help stamp out the few divers in the local competition.

“It’s obviously going to help clean up the divers and it’s a pretty harsh penalty as well,” Vidmar said.

“It will be interesting to see who is the first that gets caught.”

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna was also a supporter, particularly after the Mariners had been subjected to apparent simulation from Chinese side Tianjin Teda in their AFC Champions League match in Gosford last month.

“I know the reaction of the home crowd that night was scathing of the Chinese, it was just farcical because we’re not used to it,” McKinna said.

“We’re trying to get supporters to games and if people see that it turns the Aussie audiences off.”

The A-League season kicks off with champions Melbourne Victory facing the Mariners in Melbourne on August 6.

Fri 31 Jul, 2009
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