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Page last updated at 21:36 GMT, Tuesday, 1 September 2009 22:36 UK

SFA happy with diving crackdown

SFA chief executive Gordon Smith
Smith insists incidents of simulation are less prevalent in Scotland

Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith insists that Scotland does not have a serious problem with players conning referees.

"There is a lot more simulation going on outside of Scotland than there is in this country," Smith told BBC Scotland.

"It has cleaned up in the last couple of years because we have put out the message that we are looking at it.

"We're trying to show that diving down easily and trying to con the referee is not the way to go in the game."

Smith spoke out about players intentionally deceiving referees last week after Arsenal striker Eduardo appeared to dive in the penalty box under a challenge from Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc during the Champions League qualifier at the Emirates.

Subsequently, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was angered by what he described as Uefa's "witch-hunt" against his player.

The Frenchman was not convinced that Eduardo had actually dived and argued that it was wrong for the governing body to single out his striker using video evidence.

In addition, Wenger said: "This case has been ruled by the media and emotionally by Scotland, by the Scottish FA and by Scottish people working at Uefa."

On Monday Uefa banned the Brazil-born Croatian for two matches for simulation, though Arsenal do have the right of appeal.

Some people are saying if the ref does catch simulation it should be a red card right away, but we are not in a position to change that

Scottish FA chief executive
Gordon Smith

Hours before Uefa announced its suspension, Smith spoke to BBC Scotland about the comments he made after the Eduardo incident.

"Because it was high profile, I thought it was time to say we are not doing enough on it," he said.

"We're trying to bring in sanctions that will change players' behaviour. I am a great believer that once behaviour changes, attitudes change with it.

"There is not a lot of it in Scotland, though."

Explaining Uefa's Article 10, which has been used to punish Eduardo, Smith continued: "If any player acts in a manner which deceives the referee into awarding a penalty-kick, a free-kick on the edge of the box that leads to a goal, or has an opponent sent off, then the situation can be reviewed.

Eduardo wins a penalty against Celtic
Controversy as Eduardo goes down and wins a penalty against Celtic

"If the referee has been deceived, it can be reviewed by a panel and the player can be given a sanction if it is proved he did act in that manner.

"Referees can try to deal with it at the time during the match and can issue yellow cards - that's a Fifa regulation for simulation.

"If it's missed out we have to deal with it retrospectively, then it can become a two-match ban. Why? Because the deception has been successful, it has been rewarded.

"If a referee has seen it and given a yellow card, that is the case closed."

Smith added that he would support heavier punishments for players simulating a foul by an opponent.

He said: "The regulations say two games, that's what Uefa have gone with, but six games might be the way to go.

"Some people are saying if the ref does catch simulation it should be a red card right away, but we are not in a position to change that.

"People are against it and they want the game cleaned up. I'm certainly in favour of it and I hope we get a lot of support for it."

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see also
Uefa bans Eduardo for two matches
01 Sep 09 |  Europe
Wenger angry over Eduardo charge
28 Aug 09 |  Europe
Eduardo defended over dive claims
27 Aug 09 |  Europe
Celtic boss refuses to blame ref
26 Aug 09 |  Celtic
Arsenal 3-1 Celtic (agg 5-1)
26 Aug 09 |  Europe

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