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World Cup 2014

Book Robben; Fifa should use same yardstick on errant players

Published on Jul 1, 2014 9:18 AM

A bite and a dive are both seen in the same light in Fifa's Laws of the Game. They are both illegal and punishable. But yet the biter has been sent home from Brazil while the diver remains.

In truth, one cannot see Luis Suarez's biting of Italy's Giorgio Chiellini and Arjen Robben's diving against Mexico in the exact same light. While both acts are wrong, one is an act of violence, the other an act of cheating. They differ on the level of wrongdoing.

But in Fifa's decision to act post-match in the Suarez incident and impose retrospective action on the Uruguayan, a precedent has been set for which all cases of infraction should follow.

The message Fifa sent with the Suarez case is clear: It will not tolerate violence in the game. But it was also clear to the players that while referees may have missed an infraction during a game, it does not mean you have got away scot-free. We can still take action against you after a match, as spelt out in Fifa's disciplinary code.

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