Japan's synchronised penalty duo land ref in spot of bother
THE Japanese are renowned as world leaders in design and innovation but they have now found themselves in the spotlight for trying to push the boundaries of the laws of football.
We all remember the hilariously bungled attempt at a penalty by former Arsenal duo Thierry Henry and Robert Pires back in 2005. Well, two J-League players who took part in a 'combined penalty' during the 1-1 draw between Hiroshima Sanfrecce and Shimizu S-Pulse last weekend have been ruled out of order for their crafty plan.
Let us explain.
After Hiroshima were awarded a third-minute penalty, defender Tomoaki Makino placed the ball on the spot and prepared to take the kick. Just as Makino was starting his run-up, striker Hisato Sato ran up alongside his team-mate and blasted the ball into the net, leaving the Shimizu goalkeeper rooted to the spot. Clever eh?
A bit too clever, certainly for the Japanese FA, who ruled that the players deceived the referee and thereby infringed the laws of the game.
The players will not face any punishment but the referee, Takuto Okabe, is not so lucky.
He now faces a two-match ban for allowing the penalty to stand and got a slap on the wrist from his bosses in the process.
Referees' committee chief Yasuhiro Matsuzaki said: "The match officials are supposed to know the rules of the game and were unable to make the right decision.
"We will consider what measures to take."