FAIR PLAY?

Senegal Calls On FIFA to Change New Tie Policy After Controversial Elimination

Senegal’s football federation (SFF) on Sunday called upon FIFA to reconsider its new “Fair Play” policy for resolving ties after becoming the first team eliminated by the updated rule, Reuters reported. After days of pool play, Senegal and Japan were tied for games won, goal differential, goals scored, and goals scored against each other. By the new FIFA rule, the spot in the semifinals was then awarded to the team with the fewer red and yellow cards, and so because Japan had two fewer yellow cards, they advanced to the Round of 16 while Senegal was eliminated. The SFF claims that after Japan learned that Senegal was losing to Colombia, and was aware that their team would move forward because of the new rule, Japan passed the ball slowly and tried to run out the clock in their own game—which is not illegal, but is considered unsportsmanlike. In their letter to FIFA, the SSF argued that a team should not be eliminated based on anything other than their play, and that Japan’s willingness to wait out the clock was “contrary to the principles governing football.”