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Tottenham and England icon Glenn Hoddle has suggested that players who wave an imaginary yellow card at the referee in order to convince them to book an opponent should be punished as he called for football to re-evaluate its current rules. Hoddle was on commentary duties for BT Sport during Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg that saw Inter Milan advance past fierce rivals AC Milan 3-0 on aggregate, though he was not totally impressed by the two sides’ actions.
Referee Clement Turpin did not produce a yellow card in the first half, but went on to book a total of six players as tensions threatened to boil over inside the San Siro. One particular instance saw Hoddle get quite irritated, as Federico Dimarco tripped Milan right-back Davide Calabria and the official deemed it worthy of a foul.
No card was brandished despite Calabria’s protests, as he continued to produce an imaginary yellow card in the referee’s direction. The Milan skipper was not successful in changing his mind, but Hoddle suggested that the player should be punished. He wants a rule put in place that allows the ref to reverse the decision and award the free-kick the other way.
“He’s [Calabria] asking him to book him [Di Marco] as well again, the referee’s not having it. Good decision,” Hoddle said on commentary, before co-commentator Ian Darke explained: “There used to be a time where if you did that you would get a booking yourself, but I think that was a long [time] ago.”
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Hoddle replied: “I don’t like to see that [waving an imaginary card], I really hate to see that. I think there’s a little rule that could be put in there quite simple: You lose the free-kick, the free-kick goes the other way. I hate to see bringing the imaginary card out, things like that it is poor.”
IFAB say that unsporting behaviour and dissent by word or action is a cautionable offence, which waving a pretend card to the referee could fall under, though there is no clear ruling on whether the action is either dissent or unsporting behaviour.
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Unsporting behaviour which would receive a yellow is defined as: attempts to deceive the referee, changing places with the goalkeeper during play or without the referee’s position, committing in a reckless manner a direct free-kick offence, handball to stop a promising attack, an offence that stops a promising attack, denial of a goalscoring opportunity with an attempt to play the ball, handball in an attempt to score, making unauthorised marks on the pitch, playing the ball when leaving the pitch as a substitute, showing a deliberate lack of respect for the game, attempting to circumvent the backpass law and verbally distracting an opponent.
There is no rule which would allow an awarded free-kick to then be given to the team that committed the foul, though Hoddle could propose his new rule ahead of the new season, when IFAB produce new Laws of the Game for each campaign.
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