March 12, 2015 / 1:26 PM / 3 years ago

Soccer-UEFA concerned about players' behaviour, triple punishment

LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - European soccer’s governing body UEFA are increasingly concerned about players’ behaviour and have reiterated their dissatisfaction with the so-called triple punishment rule following Wednesday’s Champions League games.

The triple punishment, where a player concedes a penalty, is sent off for denying a clear scoring chance and serves an automatic suspension, came under the spotlight again on Wednesday in Bayern Munich’s 7-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk.

Shakhtar suffered the fastest dismissal in Champions League history from the start of a game when Oleksandr Kucher was sent off in the third minute for a foul on Mario Goetze which led to a penalty, converted by Thomas Mueller.

“We feel that the current triple punishment rule as it stands puts the referee in a very tough position and leads to decisions which are made that end up having quite a strong influence on the games,” UEFA’s head of media Pedro Pinto told Reuters.

UEFA’s suggestion that red card be replaced with a yellow in such cases was turned down in February by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which has instead suggested removing the automatic suspension.

”We feel it is too harsh and kills too many games,“ said Pinto. ”Even though the IFAB is looking at to amend a rule for suspension, that does nothing to change what happens on the field.

“We are trying to make football the best spectacle possible for the fans and the teams on the pitch and, unless it is obviously a 99 percent scoring position, we feel the rule as it stands is too harsh.”

Chelsea players were criticised for surrounding the referee in the incident which led to Paris St Germain forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s first-half dismissal in Wednesday’s other tie.

“The president (Michel Platini) has recently been more concerned about the behaviour of players on the pitch and it is something we are looking at at the moment to see what can be done,” said Pinto.

”Obviously, we would like to see an environment where players would accept the decisions taken and where they would not employ the tactic of pressure and intimidation of the officials during the game.

”Right now, there is a strong interest internally to look at specific initiatives and campaigns, and possibly regulations, that would be a positive influence on football and would hopefully have an impact on the behaviour of players.

“We are aware there is concern regarding the behaviour overall... it is not a good example for fans, for future players or for the image of the game.” (Editing by Toby Davis)

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