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Post Moscow: Ethical Lessons for the Long-Term

Mike O

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If I owned Chelsea, or was at least a dictatorial manager, here are a few things I'd implement for next season. They are borne out of a genuine desire to:

a) Bring genuine sportsmanship back into the game

B) Get people to like us again

c) Deliver better results

1. In-play injuries to opponents

We announce at the beginning of the season (and reiterate it in every programme) that we will only stop play at the behest of the referee. Recommencement of play will have to be with a dropped ball. No excuses, no exceptions. We will tell refs and opponents at the start of every match that this is our policy.

In so doing, we cut out all those annoying grey areas re. 'is he faking it?', 'where should we throw the ball to' etc etc that resulted in the Tevez handbags last night.

Spell out our strategy clearly from the off and no team can have any truck with us (and it should eventually stop cheating)

2. Talking to the Ref

Only our captain will talk to the ref during a game. He will always call the ref 'sir'. We will fine, without exception, any other player who talks to the ref without invitation, who approaches the ref without invitation or who is perceived in any other way to harrass the ref. This also applies to management and staff on the bench.

One team really needs to lead the way on this. I honestly believe that a load of decisions didn't go our way last night because the officials were tired of us behaving like petulant kids. Joe Cole, Ballack and Maka were serial offenders. Don't get me started on Drogba

3. Appealing

We will enforce a policy of 'no appeals'. No player on our team will appeal for any decsion which is in the remit of the referee or his assistants. This includes penalties, free-kicks, fouls of any sort and throw-ins. We will tell refs that this is our policy at the start of every game.

It still amazes me that a player can have a ball cannon off him very obviously into touch and his first impulse is to stick his arm up claming the throw-in. It's pathetic, peurile and frankly cheating.

Similarly, in no other sport do players believe it is their duty to try and help the officials in their decision making (save cricket in which appealing is a key factor in determining an outcome - a batsman cannot be given out unless the fielding team appeal), so why do footballers think it to be theirs?

Three small, but very controversial - I grant you, steps which I believe football really needs to get to grips with to move on from some of the WWE-style melodrama which blights it and was prevalent last night.

Fifa and Uefa are too weak to implement themselves so it will have to take a team or two to adopt a Corinthian stance and lead the way. Although they may find it a hard road at first, I truly believe that in the long-term they will benefit from a lot more advantageous decisions from refs.

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In case of a co-ownership of you and me, Mike, (or a dual managership), I would wholeheartedly agree with you. In match chat last night I typed at least 3 times: "stop crowding the ref!".

And I thought the-stop-play-because-of-injury-thing is FA or UEFA policy already? It sounds so familiar somehow.

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I would add to that

4. Public dressing down of and disciplinary action against our own players for diving

If replays clearly show that one of our players has dived in a game be it in the box for a penalty or anywhere else on the field the club will make a public statement expressing their disappointment in the players behaviour, fine the player the maximum amount available which will be donated to a good cause AND the player will automatically not be available for selection in the next game irrespective of what that game is.

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