Southampton v Chelsea - Premier League

FIFA President Sepp Blatter: Divers should get in-game time penalty


Over the years FIFA President Sepp Blatter has come up with some pretty barking mad ideas, but is his latest scheme actually a winner?

Blatter, 77, is apparently sick and tired of players diving and feigning injury and then returning straight back to the field of play when they’re team has won a free kick or another kind of advantage.

So what can be done about it? Blatter thinks he has the solution and as we’ve come to expect from him, it’s radical.

“I find it deeply irritating, when the half-dead player comes back to life as soon as they have left the pitch,” Blatter said in his weekly column on “The referee can make the player wait until the numerical disadvantage has had an effect on the game. In practical terms, this is a time penalty and it could cause play-actors to rethink.”

What do we think?

I actually like this plan and think that Blatter is onto something, however this may be pretty difficult to referee as the middle-man must be purely focused on what’s going on around him on the pitch, instead of instructing a host of players standing on the sidelines whether or not they can re-enter. But, I guess that’s what the fourth official is there for, so he can look after the divers and make sure they spend an appropriate time off the field, which could end up hurting their side as they’ll be a man short.

(MORE: After Ashley Young’s dive, should simulation get a straight-red?)

Just look at the past week in the Premier League for example, as Adnan Januzaj, Oscar and plenty of other top players have been called up for diving and shown a yellow card. Those are just odd occasions when a player is punished though, as more often than not the trainer is called on or a free kick is given for simulation. This play-acting needs to be stamped out, I’m with you Sepp.

How do you differentiate between a player faking injury and a genuine one? That’s a whole other can of worms entirely, but if a player has to spend say, two minutes on the sidelines every time he goes down injured and ‘needs treatment’ then players would soon start getting back on their feet and the game would keep flowing.

Don’t we all hate it when diving and theatrics take over the show? I know I do. Soccer is about watching 22 men battling it out and using their fitness, skill and brains to win. Not seeing who can con the referee more into sneaking a victory. Quite frankly too much of the latter has been going on for some time now.

It’s time for a change, and a time penalty for divers could be the right way to do.

EFL Cup Tues. preview: Spurs-Reds, plenty of non-PL participants

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27:  Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at White Hart Lane on August 27, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sixteen teams remain in the battle to clinch the Premier League’s first European place of next season’s tournament, and we have some tremendous battles on tap for Tuesday and Wednesday in the EFL Cup (formerly the League Cup).

Today we focus on the 24 hours ahead of us, focusing on Tuesday’s five matches and allowing the Manchester Derby, West Ham-Chelsea, and Southampton-Sunderland to percolate a bit.

[ MORE: Finland’s “Leicester” gets it done ]

That’s not to say we don’t have a pair of giants dueling on Tuesday. Liverpool is three wins away from a return to the final, where the Reds fell in penalties last season. Standing in their way is Tottenham Hotspur, a deep squad which won’t have to worry much about a quick turnaround from Saturday.

That said, the Reds didn’t have to play at all last week, while this will be Spurs third match in a week. Spurs have been to the EFL Cup final thrice since 2008, and one of two teams (Chelsea) to make three finals this decade. Liverpool will start Simon Mignolet between the sticks.

The remaining four EFL Cup matches include at least one team outside the Premier League.

Arsenal will host USMNT midfielder Danny Williams and Reading.

— Hull City is off to Ashton Gate to face Bristol City.

— Newcastle United is leading the Championship, and will get a visit from Preston North End in the first of two matches between the two sides this week.

— Norwich City will pay a visit to Elland Road and Garry Monk‘s Leeds United.

FC Dallas gave injured Mauro Diaz a home champagne shower (video)

FRISCO, TX - APRIL 12:  Mauro Diaz #10 of the FC Dallas controls the ball against the Seattle Sounders FC on April 12, 2014 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

FC Dallas has two jewels of its triple crown all set, having claimed the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the Supporters’ Shield.

One of the key reasons the club was able to sustain its pace this season was Mauro Diaz, 25, who shone even as Fabian Castillo shockingly left the club before the stretch run.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

A River Plate product, Diaz gave FCD seven goals and 15 assists over 32 appearances before tearing an achilles tendon last week.

Diaz underwent season-ending surgery, but his teammates made sure he was a part of the champagne celebration by heading to his very nice-looking house for an early morning visit.

[ MORE: Pre-playoff power rankings ]


VIDEO: Premier League Player of the Week – Matchday 9

Leave a comment

There was some eye-popping moments in the Premier League this weekend, yet still very little debate who shone brightest.

Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri scored a pair of Goal of the Month competitors in the same day in the Potters’ 2-0 win at Hull City on Monday.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

The first was a curling wonder from distance, while the second came from a bit closer as the big-calfed Swiss attacker bamboozled the Hull wall and goalkeeper.

The Potters are up to 16th in the Premier League table with nine points.

Finnish fans celebrate surprise title for IFK Mariehamn

IFK Mariehamm
Leave a comment

HELSINKI (AP) Fans of IFK Mariehamn have gathered in the main square of the remote Finnish town to celebrate their team’s surprise league title.

“I feel very proud,” the club’s managing director, Peter Mattsson, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday, adding that “thousands” were expected to turn up for the party.

Watched by more than 4,000, Mariehamn clinched the Finnish title on Sunday with a 2-1 home victory over Ilves, from the industrial city of Tampere.

[ MORE: Full MLS Cup bracket ]

Mariehamn held off 11 other teams, including the traditionally strong Helsinki club, HJK, and defending champion SJK from western Finland. It ended three points clear of second-placed HJK for its first league title.

Local media dubbed the team “Leicester” after the surprise English Premier League champions last season.

Mariehamn, which has a population of 11,500, is the capital of the Aland islands off the southwestern Finnish coast