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September 8, 2010

Scottish FA apologise after fans boo Liechtenstein national anthem

Scottish FA apologise after fans boo Liechtenstein national anthem

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

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The Scottish Football Association has apologised after fans booed the Liechtenstein national team during their national anthem at last night’s Euro 2012 qualifier. A section of the Scottish fans started to jeer the anthem due to its similarity to God Save the Queen.

Acting chief executive George Peat said in a statement that “I was embarrassed and extremely disappointed by the disgraceful behaviour of some of our supporters during the Liechtenstein national anthem at Hampden Park last night”. He added “I apologise unreservedly to our visitors for the crass reaction to their anthem.”

Scotland defeated Liechtenstein 2-1 to win them three points. Mario Frick scored first for Liechtenstein just after the start of the second half, but Kenny Miller later scored off the bar to equalise the game. In the final minutes of extra time Stephen McManus scored with a header to put Scotland to the top of Group I.



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March 9, 2008

International Board fixes soccer field size, halts technology experiments

International Board fixes soccer field size, halts technology experiments

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Wembley stadium in 2007.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB), the body that decides on the laws of the game, has decided to discontinue all experiments involving technology, and for the first time has also decided on the exact size of a soccer field.

Instead of pursuing the idea of using cameras or microchips in the ball to see if it has crossed the goal-line, the International Board wants to see if the introduction of two extra assistant referees can improve the quality of referee’s decisions.

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke declared: “We have decided to freeze for the time being the goal-line technology and all technology experiments. We will look on these two additional referees and we avoid considering any goal-line technology during this time.”

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said the move was necessary to maintain the universal spirit of the game: “We have 260 million people directly involved in the game. If we maintain the laws of the game … it’s so easy to understand … We have to live with errors, football has to keep its human face.”

“We have to maintain the laws of the game in their simplicity. Do you want technical devices to take decisions? That’s why, after three years of tests with no conclusions, I am in favour of putting the whole thing on ice,” Blatter explained.

An assistant referee.

Cquote1.svg Either you help them with additional pairs of eyes or with technology and I’m against technology. Once you start, who knows where you might stop. The 18-yard line, the offside trap? All I’m saying is let’s try my idea. Cquote2.svg

—Michel Platini, UEFA President

UEFA president Michel Platini agreed: “Football should stay human, but two more officials can help, especially around the goal.” Platini made the suggestion to freeze all investigations into technology and to try two additional assistants behind each goal.

Blatter said the system using the microchip “was very complicated, needing electrified lines on the field of play and other devices including antennae and when we tested it in Tokyo last year there was one mistake during the seven matches we used as an experiment at the Club World Championship.” With regards to the system using cameras, he pointed to “problems with players obscuring the views of the cameras, or of flares or weather conditions.”

The system of the extra referees will be tested at an upcoming FIFA or UEFA tournament, and a final ruling is expected at next year’s meeting, according to FIFA’s Jerome Valcke.

Hawk-Eye, the company that was working on the goal-line technology that is already being used for line calls in tennis, reacted with disappointment: “I’m livid, it is completely out of the blue… A year ago they met and gave us four criteria to meet and we have met all of them, yet they have kicked it out now… We have invested an awful lot of money and now we have no return on that investment,” director Paul Hawkins said. He said he was encouraged to continue research on the project only 10 days ago at a private showing for IFAB members at Reading’s Madejski Stadium.

Cquote1.svg The FA has always been in the vanguard of helping referees make the right decisions. The two experiments that were being undertaken went a long way to making it work. One was very close to being successful and the other two-thirds of the way. We are disappointed they have now been shelved. It’s hard enough to recruit referees already. Cquote2.svg

—Brian Brian Barwick, FA chief executive

While the Welsh FA were also against the idea, the English Football Association supported the use of technology and was hoping to start using it by next season. The FA clubs and referees supported the use of Hawk-Eye technology, said Mike Foster, general secretary of the English Premier League. A spokesperson of the Premier League said that “A lot of time, money and effort has gone into developing a system that meets all the criteria laid down last year.” The Scottish and Northern Irish FA also voted in favour of the goal-line technology.

FA chief executive Brian Barwick expressed his disappointment at the annual meeting of the IFAB in Gleneagles, Scotland: “We were in favour of goal-line technology but there will be no more experiments and it will not be back on the agenda next year, or in the foreseeable future.”

FIFA President Blatter denied ulterior motives for the decision: “There has been no change of heart. Referees make decisions, not machines… I have defended goal-line technology but it has become clear that such systems are too complicated and very costly. Nor would they necessarily add anything positive to the game and could harm the authority of the referee.”

Fixed size for football pitch

Another decision at Gleneagles was to fix the size of a soccer field for men’s international matches at 105 x 68 metres. Until now, football’s law number 1 stated that the field could be between 100 and 110 metres long and 64 to 75 metres wide. The Welsh Football Association proposed the change, arguing that size variation was an advantage for home teams, who could alter the size of the field against what the visiting team was used to.

The IFAB also agreed to simplify the text of the soccer rules at several points. The last major revision of the text was 11 years ago. The IFAB also condemned violent tackles, warning that “players committing such acts should be banned.”

The International Board, established in 1886, is currently made up of eight members, four representing the FIFA and four others from the English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Football association. Six members need to agree to confirm an IFAB ruling. Next year’s meeting will be held in Northern Ireland.



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January 31, 2008

Brechin thrown out of Scottish Cup after dispute

Brechin thrown out of Scottish Cup after dispute

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Brechin City, a Scottish football team, was today ejected from the Scottish Cup following two separate disputes over two cup-tied players.

Hamilton Academical filed a complaint about the incident to the Scottish Football Association (SFA) and they decided to stage a replay of the match. However upon hearing of the second player, the SFA decided to remove Brechin from the competition and fine them £10,000. Hamilton will go through to play Aberdeen in the now delayed Sixth Round at Pittodrie.

Brechin secretary Angus Fairlie said: “It’s certainly a big blow. It was an oversight but a very expensive mistake. We thought we would have a big pay day against Aberdeen but still have to pay win bonuses.”

The replay match was won by Brechin 2-1 in extra time, after a 0-0 draw in the first encounter.



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December 29, 2007

Scottish footballer Phil O\’Donnell collapses during game and dies

Scottish footballer Phil O’Donnell collapses during game and dies

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Scottish football player Phil O’Donnell has died today after collapsing during a game in which his team Motherwell F.C., of which he was captain, were playing Dundee United in a Scottish Premier League match.

O’Donnell collapsed as his substitution for Marc Fitzpatrick was being arranged. He received treatment for around five minutes before being stretchered off and transferred to a waiting ambulance. David Clarkson, O’Donnell’s nephew, was also playing at the time and had scored twice but was taken off due to being visibly distressed by O’Donnel’s collapse.

Medics from both teams believed he had suffered a seizure. Attempts were made in the ambulance to revive him, but these failed and he was pronounced dead at 17:18 GMT, having been taken to Wishaw General Hospital.

Born on March 25, 1972 O’Donnell made his debut for Motherwell in 1990, and scored the following year in the final of the Scottish Cup, which Motherwell defeated Dundee United 4-3 in. In 1993 he earned his only international cap for Scotland as a substitute in a World Cup qualification match against Switzerland.

The following year he was bought by Celtic for £1.75 million ($3.5 million). He stayed with them for five years, after which he was transferred to Sheffield Wednesday. A high number of injuries caused Sheffield Wednesday to release him after four years, and the next year, 2004, then Motherwell manager Terry Butcher awarded him an 18-month contract. In 2006 he was appointed captain, and in April the following year, upon the expiration of his original contract, signed a new one as a player-coach.

Motherwell chairman Bill Dickie said “Unfortunately I can confirm very, very sad news that Phil O’Donnell has lost his life. We don’t know what it was, but there will be a post-mortem. This is a tragic happening and that’s all I can say.”

Motherwell owner John Boyle told the press “Everyone at Motherwell is shocked to the core, and we are sure that everyone involved in Scottish football will feel the same. Phil was not only an inspirational player for Motherwell and club captain, but was an inspirational person. All of us at Motherwell are thinking of his wife Eileen and their four children.”

Mark McGhee, manager of the team, said “I don’t want to say anything more than how devastated everyone at the club is for his wife and his young children. That’s what we are all feeling tonight, nothing else matters. Obviously from the club’s point of view, we’ll gather round to give his family as much support as they need.”

In a press conference given at the hospital, Motherwell chief executive Ian Stillie said “The management, directors, players and fans are all stunned and having great difficulty in comprehending what has happened over the last few hours. At this stage we do not have all the facts surrounding the tragic death of Phil O’Donnell. We have been in contact with Phil’s wife Eileen and his family and they have given us their blessing to speak to the media tonight. Phil collapsed during the second half of the game today. He was standing alone at the time. He was immediately attended to by Motherwell’s club doctor and assisted by Dundee United’s club doctor. He was transferred almost immediately to an awaiting ambulance and taken to Wishaw General. It is believed Phil suffered some form of seizure and was pronounced dead at 1718.”

Gordon Smith, Scottish Football Association chief executive, told reporters “This is absolutely devastating news. Phil was not just a wonderful footballer, he was a great human being. My thoughts are with his family at this tragic time.” Meanwhile, Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said “When the news came through, everyone at the club was obviously shocked. Our thoughts are with his family to whom we offer extreme condolences for a tragic loss of a young life. Everyone at Celtic Park will mourn him.”



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