Comitis backs Fifa 'impractical' decision on spitting
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CAPE TOWN – FIFA has done an about-turn on the matter of spitting which will no longer be a yellow card offence because it is well-nigh impossible for match officials to police it.
A month ago world football body Fifa's medical committee chairman, Michel D’Hooghe, said that spitting must be banned.
Yesterday Fifa said in a directive that it was “impractical” to make spitting a yellow-card offence.
“Spitting at someone” is a sending-off (red-card) offence under the laws of the game.
“However, where spitting does not fall into this category, it would be impractical to make it a yellow-card (YC) offence because it is impossible for the match officials to detect every incident, as spitting can occur anywhere on the pitch, at any time and often away from play (eg as players move to take up a position before the next sequence of play).
“Consequently, treating ‘general’ spitting and other such actions as a YC offence during matches would lead to inconsistency and unfairness,” the statement read.
Photo: @FIFAmedia on twitter
Cape Town City chairman John Comitis was pleased that world football had settled for common sense in the matter.
“I’m relieved that Fifa have changed their minds because ultimately spitting is something that is not policeable,” said Comitis.
“As a former player myself, I know spitting is not always deliberate but when you’re in action it can be reactionary rather than a conscious reaction. I’m glad it has come to this because it could have opened one controversy after another.
“Apart from this, I would also urge Fifa to look into the matter of increasing the size of match day squads.
“When play is ultimately resumed everyone in football will be emerging from lockdown because of Covid-19 and there could be suspect fitness levels.
In such cases, players’ health could be at risk and it would help if enough provision is made for substitutions.”