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Volume 6 No. 216

International Football

Players who win penalties by diving or have opponents sent off by simulating a foul "will face two-match retrospective bans from next season" after the FA agreed to introduce a new rule, according to Martyn Ziegler of the LONDON TIMES. The regulation is called "successful deception of a match official" and will involve a three-man panel ruling on "whether players cheated to win a significant advantage." The FA has been "given the go-ahead" after receiving backing from the League Managers Association, Professional Footballers' Association, Premier League and Football League, as well as the referees. Unlike in Scotland, however, players will not be able to appeal to the panel to overturn a booking given by a referee for simulation -- something that "infuriated" Premier League side Crystal Palace Manager Sam Allardyce, who called the new rule "utter rubbish" (LONDON TIMES, 5/18). In London, Ben Rumsby reported the process will be "similar to the one used now for violent conduct unseen by the match officials but caught on camera," which sees footage reviewed independently by three ex-elite match officials. The FA "previously resisted retrospectively punishing simulation but was won over by the success of a Scottish FA scheme to eradicate it following a fact-finding trip" earlier this year. EPL side Burnley Manager Sean Dyche claimed last year that such action would see simulation eradicated from football "in six months" following two incidents in Premier League matches (TELEGRAPH, 5/18). The IRISH INDEPENDENT reported Allardyce "rubbished" the FA's decision and said that "judgements concerning simulation should be made on the pitch using video technology." He added, "It's utter rubbish because what about the lad that gets booked that didn't dive? What are they going to do with that? They're going to say, 'Oh well that's unlucky' or 'Next time we'll try and get that right,' so the lad that dived gets punished but then the lad that gets punished when he didn't dive ... they're going to have to reverse that somehow" (IRISH INDEPENDENT, 5/18).

FA REFORMS: In London, Marcus Christenson reported with England and Scotland having permanent seats on the Int'l FA Board, FIFA's law-making body, bans for divers "could soon become a worldwide policy." The FA also agreed to implement the "most radical reforms to how it is run in decades." Championed by FA Chair Greg Clarke, the reforms mean the governing body "will now meet the new governance code" introduced by U.K. Sports Minister Tracey Crouch. This will enable the FA to "continue to receive public funding for grassroots projects and bidding for events, as well as answering critics who doubted its ability to modernise itself." Already unanimously backed by the board and council, the reforms "cleared the final hurdle of receiving the support from 75% of the FA's 1,100 shareholders and will come into force" on July 27 (GUARDIAN, 5/18).

Improving wages and ensuring job security are "key elements of Mahfuza Akhter Kiron's plans to develop women's football in Asia," the continent's newly-elected representative to the FIFA Council said, according to Sudipto Ganguly of REUTERS. The 50-year-old from Bangladesh beat "prominent" women's football advocate Moya Dodd of Australia by 27 votes to 17 at this month's election in Manama, Bahrain, for the women's slot representing Asia on FIFA's ruling body. Women's football is at a "developed stage in only a handful of Asian nations and struggles to get even a foothold in conservative Arab countries." Kiron is also "dismayed by the disparity in salaries of men and women in the game." She said, "The wages must be improved and there has to be job security for women footballers. It's completely insane. Why would a woman be interested in football? We have to develop our football in a way where women can consider it as a career option" (REUTERS, 5/18).

CONMEBOL President Alejandro Domínguez confirmed that the federation wants South America to host the 2030 World Cup with a joint bid by Argentina and Uruguay. Domínguez confirmed that CONMEBOL wants to hold the World Cup in '30, and not '26, when it is "one of two continents, along with Africa, that is eligible to bid against the U.S., Canada and Mexico" (AP, 5/17).

Foreign players in Hong Kong will "find it tougher" to become a "local player" starting on July 1 following a new rule that will be implemented by the Hong Kong FA. Expat players will now need to hold a Hong Kong passport and give up their own nationality because the "Chinese government does not recognise dual nationality." It means that overseas players who have spent seven years residing in Hong Kong "would not be able to change their status and become a local player as before" (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 5/18).

Argentine Minister of Sports Carlos Mac Allister announced on Wednesday in Beijing that his country and China agreed on a "collaboration program" to work on "the development of football" in the Asian country. Mac Allister: ''We are going to bring 150 Chinese youngsters to Argentina for a year, as well as coaches and physical therapists, to take classes." In return, Argentina will send 500 coaches and physical trainers to China (XINHUA, 5/18).

Captains of 12 Eredivisie teams asked the national federation and league organizers to "ban matches on artificial turf." Dirk Kuyt of Feyenoord and Davy Klaassen of Ajax "joined a protest by their national union." Players believe they "sustain more joint injuries and need more recovery time in switching from games on grass" (AP, 5/18).

A Swedish top-flight fixture between Gothenburg and AIK "has been postponed after an alleged match-fixing attempt." The Swedish FA claimed an AIK player was "offered a considerable sum" if he contributed to losing Thursday's Allsvenskan game. Police in Sweden "have started an investigation into the allegation" (BBC, 5/18).