Helen Martin: The World Cup needs a naughty step

Argentina' Javier Mascherano pleads for mercy from ref Cuneyt Cakir. Picture: Getty
Argentina' Javier Mascherano pleads for mercy from ref Cuneyt Cakir. Picture: Getty
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FOOTBALL is definitely not my thing. It strikes me as childish. But I’ve been amazed by some news reports and clips of World Cup on-pitch antics which intrigue and baffle me.

Rules of “the beautiful game” don’t permit two players from one team to physically restrain one from the other team in a bid to stop him getting near the ball.

So how can a World Cup referee ignore such a thing without at least flashing a yellow or red card?

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Just one example of the many foul plays we’ve all witnessed that get the green light in a contest between the world’s best booters but wouldn’t be permitted in a primary three school match.

Today’s professionals do actually have a lot to learn from weans.

Why not go back to basics with an embarrassing pitch-side “naughty step” for players and certainly for refs?

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