Safa red card lying down for free-kick

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The South African Football Association (SAFA) technical committee has banned the defensive ploy used by teams to have a player lie on the ground when an opposing team takes a free-kick.

This follows a directive from the Confederation of African Football, CAF.

It has become common practice in world football for the defending team to lay a player flat with their backs facing the ball behind the defensive wall.

In South Africa, the tactic was recently used by Mamelodi Sundowns forward Kermit Erasmus during their DStv Premiership draw against Swallows last month.

Stellenbosch midfielder Jayden Adams also used the same tactic during the Nedbank clash against Sundowns earlier this month.

While there is no FIFA rule that prohibits players from doing so, CAF has taken a different approach.

FARPost is in possession of a document where the SAFA technical committee instructs match officials to implement the directive, on what they term “fail-safe”.

“We have noticed in recent matches, that there are teams who are employing a “fail-safe” player behind the wall, lying on the ground (used in the PSL Match: Swallows FC vs Mamelodi Sundowns. This tactic was first used by Japan in the World Cup,” read the directive, advising match officials to adhere to the resolutions taken by the CAF Board.

“This is not an accepted practice in Africa and match officials should not allow it. It is a safety risk as the players standing up in the defensive wall could land on the player lying down when they come back down after jumping up. We should be encouraging match officials to be firm in the management of payers in this regard,” the document continued.

This publication reached out to SAFA head of referees Abdul Ebrahim to get clarity on whether the association has officially adopted the directive. It also remains to be see if there would be any punishment for the tactic.

Ebrahim had initially promised to respond to the questions by Thursday, but has failed to do so.

RELATED STORY: SAFA release referees review committee outcomes

By Ofhani Munyai

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