Beckenbauer calls for summit to stop play-acting

July 6, 2006

BERLIN, July 6 (Reuters) - Franz Beckenbauer has called for a summit meeting of players, coaches and referees in a bid to stop the increasing trend towards play-acting and feigning injury which has blighted matches at the World Cup.

Beckenbauer, president of the German organising committee who skippered West Germany to World Cup victory in 1974 and coached them to success in 1990, said it was time for players to stop cheating in a bid to gain an unfair advantage.

'I think it is time to get the players, the coaches and the referees around the table and try to find some sort of solution to this problem.

'None of us in the game wants these incidents. The players are seeking to gain an unfair advantage and attempt to exploit every situation.

'The referees are there to correct this kind of misconduct, but the players do not make it easy for the referees.

'If I was a referee I would also show the yellow card to any player who signalled to the ref with an imaginary card to get an opponent booked. That is also cheating.'

World governing body FIFA and its European counterpart UEFA are planning a technical convention with coaches, referees and players' representatives in Berlin in September to discuss the World Cup with cheating and play-acting set to be on the agenda.

Beckenbauer was also disappointed with the number of goal attempts at the finals, adding, 'as the old German coach Sepp Herberger used to show, if you don't shoot, you won't score. Well there have not been enough shots on goal as far as I am concerned.'

Speaking six years to the day after Germany was awarded the right to stage the finals by FIFA, Beckenbauer said the World Cup had been an astonishing success and had brought people together in a way the organisers could only have dreamed of.

'The Fan Miles have been a spectacular success and Germany has celebrated the World Cup in a way few thought was possible.'