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Euro 2008 crackdown could spark penalties and cards galore
Flying elbows, mass punch-ups, mouthy players, shirt-tuggers and divers will be the main focus for referees when Euro 2008 kicks off in June.
UEFA handed a six-point list of instructions on Thursday to the 12 referees officiating at the tournament in Switzerland and Austria.
Referees will crack down on players who hold or push opponents during free kicks or corners. Mass confrontations between players will be dealt with by issuing a yellow card to at least one player from each team. When it comes to dissent, officials have been told they can accept “a spontaneous expression of frustration from players” but anything more than that will warrant a sanction.
UEFA will also use video evidence to punish divers and cheats who succeed in fooling the referee at Euro 2008, having trialled the idea in the Champions League.
The emphasis on shirt-tugging and the use of elbows also follows a crackdown in the Champions League, so UEFA argues the players have been warned.
At Thursday’s get-together in Zurich the match officials said they were ready to strictly apply the guidelines. Asked if he was prepared to award a penalty for a shirt tug in the first five minutes of the tournament’s opening match, one referee said he would be quite happy to award five penalties if necessary.
Is UEFA right in calling for greater respect for and stricter adherence to the rules or will a flurry of red cards and penalties ruin the tournament? Would you rather see a crackdown in other areas such as time-wasting?