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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 August 2007, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Scots to use video to beat cheats
SFA head of referee development Donald McVicar
Video evidence will be used to tackle cheating in Scottish football
Scottish referees will be able to use video evidence this season to punish cheating in football.

New Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith has launched a new scheme to clamp down on diving.

Referees will review match footage and be able to punish players retrospectively if they feel they have dived or feigned injury.

The scheme will start as a pilot this weekend at the start of the new season and come into effect on 1 January.

"It's great news, we've got to do everything possible to clean up the game and make it fairer," Hibernian boss John Collins told Five Live.

"Sometimes the referees miss it and get it wrong and I'm all for cutting out the divers and the cheats.

"It's a part of the game I don't like and I think the majority of fair-minded football people will be delighted with the new rules."

It forms part of a range of measures designed to improve the image of the game in the coming season.

This is not a clampdown but an effort to improve the game's image

SFA referee development
Donald McVicar

Smith said: "In recent years, one unhealthy development in the game in Scotland has been that of simulation, the term used within football to refer to cheating by players - either to gain an advantage by 'conning' the referee or to provoke the referee to issue a sanction against an opponent.

"It can often be the case that the perpetrator of the offence is successful in his intentions and also escapes punishment.

"When this happens, there is little doubt that the image of the game is harmed. In these circumstances, the cheat wins.

"It is the intention of the SFA to address the problem by introducing an initiative from 1 January 2008 to target the offence of simulation when committed by players who escape sanction from the referee."

Smith made it clear that clubs and players must address the issue.

"The problem is not a referees' one - it is their job to apply the Laws of the Game," he said.

"If players did not seek to indulge in cheating, the problem would not exist.

Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith
Gordon Smith has begun to make his mark at the SFA

"At the top level of the game, players have a duty to set the correct standards of sporting attitudes and conduct for the benefit of current and future participants in football, whether they be young players or spectators."

Collins added that he hoped ex-players would sit on the panel to offer their expert views on incidents.

"I'm not defending diving but sometimes a player may flick his legs out of the way of a tackle - if he doesn't he might get his ankle caught and some damage can be done," said Collins.

"Only a player or an ex-player can identify whether it is a dive from a cheat or whether it is a dive to get yourself out of a difficult situation."

Among other disciplinary initiatives taken by the SFA in the coming season, referees are being told to be tough on a range of misdemeanours, such as holding and pushing in the penalty area, mass confrontations, serious foul play and unacceptable behaviour in the technical area.

Head of referee development Donald McVicar said: "Referees in Scotland are instructed to be particularly strong in identifying these offences and suitably punish offenders.

"This is not a clampdown but an effort to improve the game's image."


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