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FIFA ready to punish players looking to game disciplinary tie-breakers

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https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/england-v-belgium-deliberate-bookings-will-lead-to-bans-fifa-warns-3kdx0h2d3

Quote

 

Fifa will ban any England or Belgium player if they try to earn a deliberate yellow card to seek an easier path to the final when the teams meet on Thursday.

Finishing second in group G could be preferable to winning in terms of the likely opposition in the quarter-finals and semi-finals and both sides are exactly level on points, goal difference and goals scored.

England top the group having had two cautions to Belgium’s three so if the match ends in a draw without any further cards shown then Gareth Southgate’s side would go through to the second round as winners, with a possible quarter-final against Brazil or Germany on the horizon.

Some commentators have suggested that England should be wily and pick up a couple of bookings on purpose if the match is heading for a draw in order to come second and aim for a possible quarter-final against Mexico or Switzerland.

That tactic could backfire badly however: Fifa insiders say the world governing body would take a tough line towards any such unsporting behaviour and issue bans for any player deemed to have deliberately earned a booking.

The Greek defender Kostas Manolas was banned for a match for doing just that in September in order to miss the last group game and ensure he was available for the play-offs. Fifa’s disciplinary committee banned him for an extra game so that he missed both the final qualifier and the first leg of the play-off against Croatia.

ifa will ban any England or Belgium player if they try to earn a deliberate yellow card to seek an easier path to the final when the teams meet on Thursday.

Finishing second in group G could be preferable to winning in terms of the likely opposition in the quarter-finals and semi-finals and both sides are exactly level on points, goal difference and goals scored.

England top the group having had two cautions to Belgium’s three so if the match ends in a draw without any further cards shown then Gareth Southgate’s side would go through to the second round as winners, with a possible quarter-final against Brazil or Germany on the horizon.

Some commentators have suggested that England should be wily and pick up a couple of bookings on purpose if the match is heading for a draw in order to come second and aim for a possible quarter-final against Mexico or Switzerland.

That tactic could backfire badly however: Fifa insiders say the world governing body would take a tough line towards any such unsporting behaviour and issue bans for any player deemed to have deliberately earned a booking.

The Greek defender Kostas Manolas was banned for a match for doing just that in September in order to miss the last group game and ensure he was available for the play-offs. Fifa’s disciplinary committee banned him for an extra game so that he missed both the final qualifier and the first leg of the play-off against Croatia.

 

 

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For comparison

FIFA tie-breakers:
 

Quote

In the league format, the ranking in each group is determined as follows:
a) greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;
b) goal difference in all group matches;
c) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches. If two or more teams are equal on the basis of the above three criteria, their rankings shall be determined as follows:
d) greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned;
e) goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned;
f) greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned;
g) the goals scored away from home count double between the teams concerned (if the tie is only between two teams).
h) fair play points system in which the number of yellow and red cards in all group matches is considered according to the following deductions:
– fi rst yellow card: minus 1 point
– second yellow card/indirect red card: minus 3 points
– direct red card: minus 4 points
– yellow card and direct red card: minus 5 points;
i) drawing of lots by the FIFA Organising Committee.

UEFA tie-breakers:
 

Quote

If two or more teams in the same group are equal on points on completion of the final tournament group matches, the following criteria are applied, in the order given, to determine the rankings:
a. higher number of points obtained in the matches played among the teams in question;
b. superior goal difference resulting from the matches played among the teams in question;
c. higher number of goals scored in the matches played among the teams in question;
d. if, after having applied criteria a) to c), teams still have an equal ranking, criteria a) to c) are reapplied exclusively to the matches between the teams in question to determine their final rankings. If this procedure does not lead to a
decision, criteria e) to h) apply;
e. superior goal difference in all group matches;
f. higher number of goals scored in all group matches;
g. fair play conduct in the final tournament as defined in Annex C.5.1;
h. position in the UEFA national team coefficient rankings (see Annex B.1.2.b).
18.02 If two teams which have the same number of points and the same number of goals scored and conceded play their last group match against each other and are still equal at the end of that match, their final rankings are determined by kicks  from the penalty mark (see Paragraph 19.02 to Paragraph 19.04), provided that no other teams within the group have the same number of points on completion of all group matches. Should more than two teams have the same number of points, the criteria listed under Paragraph 18.01 apply.


 

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Totally should have the group stage penalty shootout we’ve all been waiting for.

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24 minutes ago, Rob1981 said:

Totally should have the group stage penalty shootout we’ve all been waiting for.

Would prefer that to yellow/red cards or drawing straws or whatever they draw.

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1 hour ago, Paul Bacon said:

How do they prove a booking was deliberately picked up?

Footballers aren't very bright and tend to make it very, very obvious when they suddenly start trying to commit bad fouls and acts of dissent in an flat, dull 0-0 round about the 85th minute.

Or in Beckham's case they tell everybody, with the immortal words "I'm sure some people think I have not got the brains to be that clever. But I do have the brains"

Edited by enigmatic

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Maybe they should simply draw if you meet #1 or #2 in the other group. Would remove some of the 'tactical' thinking.

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3 hours ago, git2thachoppa said:

FIFA's own fault for an embarrassing list of tiebreakers.

They are the same as UEFA's FFS! 

FIFA do - full group > between teams > fair play > lottery

UEFA do - between teams > full group > fair play > coefficient

The only difference is in the last stage but that's unlikely to be used. IIRC UEFA had a lottery option as last resort previously but it isn't really needed for them.

Edited by Mr Wallin

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2 hours ago, enigmatic said:

Footballers aren't very bright and tend to make it very, very obvious when they suddenly start trying to commit bad fouls and acts of dissent in an flat, dull 0-0 round about the 85th minute.

Or in Beckham's case they tell everybody, with the immortal words "I'm sure some people think I have not got the brains to be that clever. But I do have the brains"

But people will have learned from that.

I think its incredibly shady ground. Would rather it came down to a coin toss... If people try and discretely pick up a yellow it could lead to injuries. I. E. Missed timed tackle etc

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45 minutes ago, Mr Wallin said:

They are the same as UEFA's FFS! 

FIFA do - full group > between teams > fair play > lottery

UEFA do - between teams > full group > fair play > coefficient

The only difference is in the last stage but that's unlikely to be used. IIRC UEFA had a lottery option as last resort previously but it isn't really needed for them.

FIFA do goal difference, goals scored, head-to-head, fair play, lottery

UEFA do head-to-head, goal difference, goals scored, penalties if possible, fair play, coefficient

As you can see, very different. Only one tries its best to get the better team through in any way possible without resorting to lottery, or giving yellow cards a big impact.

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I don't know if coefficiënt does that though. It's a bit of an ambiguous number. Penalties is a possibility, but only in the case that they play their last match against each other.

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33 minutes ago, himan said:

I don't know if coefficiënt does that though. It's a bit of an ambiguous number. Penalties is a possibility, but only in the case that they play their last match against each other.

I'm of the belief any little thing is better than picking names out a hat.

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4 minutes ago, enigmatic said:

We wouldn't be having this debate if opponents were determined by a second round draw, of course

But there would presumably still be two pots ie top pot vs second pot? In which case it would still happen. 

If that wasn’t the case there would be no point in trying to win the group which would probably result in more draws and dull games. 

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https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/sport/world-cup-i-wont-throw-final-group-game-against-belgium-insists-gareth-southgate-bm8gdlqns

 

 

Quote

Gareth Southgate believes that it is not in England’s character to lose their World Cup game with Belgium deliberately to secure a perceived easier route to the final. Trying to plot a path of potential opponents was “dangerous territory”, the England manager said as he vowed to try to win Thursday’s group G game in Kaliningrad.

His pledge came as it emerged that Roberto Martínez, the Belgium coach, may make as many as ten changes to his team, with Premier League stars such as Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Jan Vertonghen unlikely to start the game.

Finishing second is being viewed as preferable to winning due to the likely opposition in the quarter-finals and semi-finals. The sides are level on points, goal difference and goals scored in group G. England are top by virtue of Fifa’s fair play system — they have had two cautions to Belgium’s three, which means that if the match is drawn without any further cards then they would go through as group winners. That would result in a possible quarter-final against Brazil or Germany, assuming that they win a last-16 tie against the runner-up from group H.

Some commentators have suggested that England should collect bookings on purpose if the match is heading for a draw to finish second. However, Fifa insiders say that they would take a tough line on any such unsporting behaviour and impose additional bans to any player who sought a deliberate yellow card.

Fifa’s threat is not an empty one. Kostas Manolas, the Greece defender, was banned for picking up a booking in October to miss the last World Cup qualifying group game and ensure that he was available for the play-offs. Fifa’s disciplinary committee banned him for an extra game so that he missed the final qualifier and the first leg of the play-off against Croatia.

Southgate insists that England will not become embroiled in subterfuge. “For our country, that would be a very difficult mindset to have,” he said. “We want to win every game of football we go into. I don’t know how we would go into a game not wanting to win and not wanting to play well.

“I think that’s dangerous territory if we start trying to plot and predict where we might end up. We had a really favourable draw, we all thought, in the last tournament [against Iceland at Euro 2016] and it didn’t work out that way.

“I think we just have to keep preparing the team the right way, keep the momentum and I have to keep the squad involved. That’s the one thing I think is really important.”

Southgate has a dilemma over whether to start Harry Kane, who is leading the race for the Golden Boot award for the tournament’s top scorer.

 

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8 hours ago, pago said:

But there would presumably still be two pots ie top pot vs second pot? In which case it would still happen. 

If that wasn’t the case there would be no point in trying to win the group which would probably result in more draws and dull games. 

I don't think it's practical in terms of logistics.

There has to be a more limited amount of venues for the next round/1/4 finals pathway so teams can plan bases, fans can have an idea about tickets too, etc

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9 hours ago, enigmatic said:

We wouldn't be having this debate if opponents were determined by a second round draw, of course

if the game was behind closed doors :D as Razzler says ... in terms of logistics it's not really possible with the quick turn around. Fans need to book time off work, make travel arrangements etc.

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Why don't they just do away with it all entirely?

Just take all the group winners and put them in a jar, take all the runners up and put them in a jar and then draw a winner to face a runner up.
No need for all this GD. goals for, yellow cards etc.

 

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1 minute ago, daylight said:

Why don't they just do away with it all entirely?


There's a Chilean company looking to do just that. http://www.matchvision.net/mv/ 

"Teams will be split not into groups but into pots, based on their ranking and each team will be drawn against a rival from the other pots, including their own. All teams contest one table which decides finishing standings."

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30 minutes ago, daylight said:

Why don't they just do away with it all entirely?

Just take all the group winners and put them in a jar, take all the runners up and put them in a jar and then draw a winner to face a runner up.
No need for all this GD. goals for, yellow cards etc.

 

Because it isn't really logistically possible to do that. How do you make sure teams have sufficient rest between games? You may have Group A winners v Group H second place with 6 days v 3 days rest.

 

The system I like most but not sure how it would work would be the "best" group winners, play the "worst" second place team and then go through until you have the middling teams play each other. Again this has complications though logistically.

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You could say the group phase finishes on Wednesday and the second round begins on Saturday night, that way if you are unlucky enough to play on both Wednesday and Saturday then at least there has been 3 days break.

It's the luck of the draw as they say.

It would be fun to see if England or Belgium try to finish second, I doubt either would though.

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30 minutes ago, daylight said:

You could say the group phase finishes on Wednesday and the second round begins on Saturday night, that way if you are unlucky enough to play on both Wednesday and Saturday then at least there has been 3 days break.

It's the luck of the draw as they say.

It would be fun to see if England or Belgium try to finish second, I doubt either would though.

If you are a travelling fan how'd you feel about 3 days notice to book time off work, book travel and accommodation? It would be a nightmare.

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11 hours ago, pago said:

But there would presumably still be two pots ie top pot vs second pot? In which case it would still happen. 

If that wasn’t the case there would be no point in trying to win the group which would probably result in more draws and dull games. 

But it wouldn't, because you wouldn't be trying to avoid "the side of the draw where you face X or Y in the quarter finals" or "difficult first knockout round opponent Z", you'd be getting a random opponent who topped their group if you tried to finish second, which would on average be a better opponent than the random second place opponent you'd get for winning your group and you'd have no knowledge of who your quarter final opponents might be until after the first round draw. Much like the Champions League, you might be unlucky, but you wouldn't be deliberately trying to not top your group.

 

3 hours ago, Razzler said:

I don't think it's practical in terms of logistics.

There has to be a more limited amount of venues for the next round/1/4 finals pathway so teams can plan bases, fans can have an idea about tickets too, etc

World Cup logistics are crazy enough and decisions to book tickets have to be made late enough already (unless you're really confident of topping your group). Group A & B teams only found out where, when and if they'd be playing yesterday and play again on Saturday. If the World Cup schedule can be expanded to accommodate 48 teams it can accommodate a 3-5 day pause in between rounds (and rules can be designed to fiddle match order for teams in group G/H). 

England's preplanned knockout round is either in Moscow or Rostov on Don which are both over 1000 km apart and further still from where they chose to base themselves,  so it's not like the transport situation is any easier to sort out as it is. Needless to say, smaller countries would cause less travel fatigue with completely random stadiums than Russia and The Whole Of North America do with their organised-in-advance group stages.

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Should just a have a giant wrestle on the pitch. Winner takes all

Edited by Paul Bacon

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I love the idea of throwing Nick Pope on up front in the 92nd minute and getting him to run around with his shirt off until he gets booked.

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I want to see us do everything we can to finish 2nd. If we have to get a few dodgy yellows then so be it.

End of the day if we finish 2nd we have a realistic chance of maybe winning it.

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38 minutes ago, Wigmore said:

I love the idea of throwing Nick Pope on up front in the 92nd minute and getting him to run around with his shirt off until he gets booked.

Hell, you can get red carded without even being substituted on, can't you?

Think we need Nick Pope and Danny Welbeck to streak whilst Steve Holland tells the fourth official he smells of elderberries.

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11 minutes ago, ryan045 said:

I want to see us do everything we can to finish 2nd. If we have to get a few dodgy yellows then so be it.

End of the day if we finish 2nd we have a realistic chance of maybe winning it.

A) We don't know how the other groups will turn out

B) Deliberately manipulating the match to finish lower is tempting fate imo. 

We thought Iceland meant we had an easier draw in the Euros...

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29 minutes ago, Pukey said:

A) We don't know how the other groups will turn out

B) Deliberately manipulating the match to finish lower is tempting fate imo. 

We thought Iceland meant we had an easier draw in the Euros...

I believe when we play Belgium we’ll know how all the groups have played out. (Could be wrong)

Its possible that if we finish 2nd we avoid Brazil/Germany in the QTF’s. Could be Mexico/Switzerland instead. Would take that all day wouldn’t you?

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5 minutes ago, ryan045 said:

I believe when we play Belgium we’ll know how all the groups have played out. (Could be wrong)

Its possible that if we finish 2nd we avoid Brazil/Germany in the QTF’s. Could be Mexico/Switzerland instead. Would take that all day wouldn’t you?

We will know yes.

And it sounds good, but I would be really uncomfortable with deliberately losing or picking up cards to do so. I just feel doing so practically guarantees going out in the round of 16 as it's tempting fate.

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We’re the last group to play even though we are Group G not Group H, so we’ll know the full path before we kick off. obviously we won’t underestimate anybody etc., but only a fool would want Colombia than Germany/Brazil when we could get Japan followed by Mexico/Switzerland.

i think we were incredibly naive scoring a couple of extra goals against Panama when we could have stopped at 3-0 or 4-0 and had either 1st or 2nd in our own hands. Now we can only get second if Belgium want to play for 1st, and why would they. Obviously that last Harry Kane goal was a total accident, if you watch closely Trippier runs over to “celebrate” with his hand over his mouth pretty much making a “Whoops!” face because they knew they weren’t supposed to go top.

 

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You'd be mental to try and fix it, purely because it'll make you look incredibly stupid if you screw up the "easier" draw.  As England proved with Iceland.  I don't think either team will go out to try and fix a result - I'd imagine as a professional at a World Cup, you'll gain far more by riding the momentum of beating a very good team than you will from shitfesting your way to a result.

I'm not sure how FIFA are supposed to enforce this.  Of course, players could well make it look achingly obvious, but say it comes down to that and in the 85th minute a player from either side pulls back an opponent for a booking.  That's a deliberate act, but for stopping the opponent from getting away.  Does that get punished?  Seems like incredibly shaky ground.

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1 hour ago, Rob1981 said:

 

i think we were incredibly naive scoring a couple of extra goals against Panama when we could have stopped at 3-0 or 4-0 and had either 1st or 2nd in our own hands. Now we can only get second if Belgium want to play for 1st, and why would they. Obviously that last Harry Kane goal was a total accident, if you watch closely Trippier runs over to “celebrate” with his hand over his mouth pretty much making a “Whoops!” face because they knew they weren’t supposed to go top.

 

Was going to say this. They played like a team, in the second half, that had been told not to score anymore goals.

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13 minutes ago, Astafjevs said:

Was going to say this. They played like a team, in the second half, that had been told not to score anymore goals.

To me they played like a team that was 5-0 up, knew the game was won, so weren't putting in any extra effort. Didn't come across as specifically "don't score any more" otherwise there'd be no point taking any shots, and there were still a couple of very minor half chances like when Sterling got in behind but the keeper beat him to the ball. If we were desperate to not score we wouldn't have even created those.

If we were desperate to come top I think we'd have gone for more but the remit was to get through so we're just seeing what happens against Belgium and going from there.

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I don't have a problem with how it is now. It's just as with any league. If you get off to such a great start or achieve the goal, you kinda deserve to approach the last game(s) that's most convenient to you.

It's even less of a problem at a World Cup as, with the Belgium/England scenario, both are already through anyway. So you don't need to worry about screwing one of the 'lesser' teams over by putting out a 'weak' team.

England would be mad to play Kane, but it would probably help more to keep the defence mostly the same, maybe put in Cahill for someone to see how that works. Definitely rotate everyone else. I don't think it ultimately matters if you go out in the quarter final or semi final or 2nd round, so it shouldn't be about trying to get an 'easier' draw.

Edited by git2thachoppa

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Id be more tempted to rest a few players to avoid injury than try get a booking. If we win the game with some of the squad players then great. If we lose we get an "easier" route. Either way we rest the vital players

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1 hour ago, forameuss said:

You'd be mental to try and fix it, purely because it'll make you look incredibly stupid if you screw up the "easier" draw.  As England proved with Iceland.  I don't think either team will go out to try and fix a result - I'd imagine as a professional at a World Cup, you'll gain far more by riding the momentum of beating a very good team than you will from shitfesting your way to a result.

I'm not sure how FIFA are supposed to enforce this.  Of course, players could well make it look achingly obvious, but say it comes down to that and in the 85th minute a player from either side pulls back an opponent for a booking.  That's a deliberate act, but for stopping the opponent from getting away.  Does that get punished?  Seems like incredibly shaky ground.

The thing I hate about Fifa trying to suggest someone purposely made a mistake or got booked ... Imagine our game vs Iceland was a rubber duck group game... are we all looking at Harts errors thinking he's cheating to lose on purpose? He'd be in jail haha.

People do get booked for crazy things, people do make comedy errors.. it's part of the game whether you are playing a friendly, a group game or a WC final.

Your example is a good one... deliberate bookings are committed in every form of the game... if you are 1-0 up in an EPL game and the opponent is on the counter, you take one for the team and it's a good yellow card. Would that suddenly be seen as cheating (in a different regard) if we do it vs Belgium?

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5 minutes ago, westy8chimp said:

The thing I hate about Fifa trying to suggest someone purposely made a mistake or got booked ... Imagine our game vs Iceland was a rubber duck group game... are we all looking at Harts errors thinking he's cheating to lose on purpose? He'd be in jail haha.

People do get booked for crazy things, people do make comedy errors.. it's part of the game whether you are playing a friendly, a group game or a WC final.

Your example is a good one... deliberate bookings are committed in every form of the game... if you are 1-0 up in an EPL game and the opponent is on the counter, you take one for the team and it's a good yellow card. Would that suddenly be seen as cheating (in a different regard) if we do it vs Belgium?

They'd just be creating problems for themselves.  In a way it's to be applauded that they've thought this could happen and preemptively come out and said that they'll punish players who do it.  But then after the initial "good job", you start to wonder how they'd effectively enforce it.  You'd either get people genuinely "at it" getting away with it, or start punishing those who didn't deserve it.  It would be a massive headache, and one that could probably have just been avoided by keeping quiet.  Then if Harry Kane ends up tripping someone up, laughing, then coming out in the post-match and grunting or drawing an interpretive image suggesting that he did it deliberately, then they could have acted then.  

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I don't get the argument that England "have a better chance" if they finish 2nd. Statistically proven not to be the case. 

And yeah Brazil and Germany having to play each other then avoiding them is a big plus, but if you get to the semis you're gonna have to play those sort of teams anyway. :D If you're scared of them in the QFs, you'll be scared of them anywhere else. Doesn't matter where you play them really. 

To be the best you've got to beat the best. England should play with desire and integrity and say, "we can beat anyone, no matter the draw" - a true sign of champions. Look at Real Madrid in the CL. They took on the best teams possible in each KO round. They weren't scared. They relished the challenge and rose to it. Let's see England doing that :)

e: fwiw I've got England to finish 3rd overall in the tournament. I also have Belgium winning it and topping their group. I had it down as Belgium GD group win with both teams on 7 points, I didn't expect England to make up the GD difference in 1 game :D I think England will top the group now tbh. 

Edited by JDownie

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Is it against Fifa rules to deliberately get a yellow card? If its not now i don't see how they can just invent a rule mid tournament. Seems like empty threats

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Just now, Paul Bacon said:

Is it against Fifa rules to deliberately get a yellow card? If its not now i don't see how they can just invent a rule mid tournament. Seems like empty threats

There's precedent for it. 

Kostas Manolas got banned for 2 games including one of Greece's play-off qualifiers. 

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9 minutes ago, Paul Bacon said:

Is it against Fifa rules to deliberately get a yellow card? If its not now i don't see how they can just invent a rule mid tournament. Seems like empty threats

It'll be under spirit of the game, or unsportsmanlike conduct, or something like that.

Put it this way, it should be no surprise to anyone that FIFA will ban players for deliberately picking up yellow cards to affect an outcome of x. Whether x is getting banned for a particular game, or finishing second in a group. UEFA do it, and as has been mentioned already, FIFA have done it within the last 12 months.

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1 minute ago, Astafjevs said:

It'll be under spirit of the game, or unsportsmanlike conduct, or something like that.

Put it this way, it should be no surprise to anyone that FIFA will ban players for deliberately picking up yellow cards to affect an outcome of x. Whether x is getting banned for a particular game, or finishing second in a group. UEFA do it, and as has been mentioned already, FIFA have done it within the last 12 months.

Wouldnt surprise me if it happens more often anyway. Imagine a player in the Premier league 1 booking away from a suspension. He deliberately picks up a yellow card so he is suspended during his teams easy run of fixtures so he can start a fresh for the bigger games

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Also I don't see how throwing the game with a tactical yellow is any more devious than fielding a weakened team with no incentive to win. Perhaps they should create a format that doesn't have so many rubber duck games... or if there are, let teams do what they want - or give both teams choice of not playing the game and have it decided by a coin toss. I don't think players should be punished when they've been put in a position where they have to play a game they actively don't want to win.

Scrap group games... just have knockout straight away?

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What if the yellows are picked up by players you don't care about having available for the next games, for example throwing on Nick Pope up front to grab a yellow or two.:D

Just seen someone posted something similar to what i was thinking lol.

Edited by SteveUK

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Doubt England will do it anway. If they didnt want to top the group then not pushing for the 4th, 5th or 6th goal against Panama would have done it

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26 minutes ago, Paul Bacon said:

Wouldnt surprise me if it happens more often anyway. Imagine a player in the Premier league 1 booking away from a suspension. He deliberately picks up a yellow card so he is suspended during his teams easy run of fixtures so he can start a fresh for the bigger games

Happens quite a bit, yet players still stupidly do it even though they know they'll get banned. Caravjal did it this season in UCL. Got 'booked' in 5th game so he'd miss final group game, but got the ban extended to first L16 leg :D 

Unsurprisingly, Ramos is the king of it, or Real Madrid in general.

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19 minutes ago, SteveUK said:

What if the yellows are picked up by players you don't care about having available for the next games, for example throwing on Nick Pope up front to grab a yellow or two.:D

Just seen someone posted something similar to what i was thinking lol.

If England really want second that badly, I fully expect this to happen.

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