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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Grappling, dissent and aggressive behaviour to be tackled by lawmakers

Episode 22 of Project Russia chronicles ESPN's Charlie Gibson's travels all over the country to cover the World Cup round of 16 matches.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is to look at ways of clamping down on poor behaviour on the pitch, from grappling inside the penalty area to the way players surround officials to protest against decisions. 

IFAB secretary Lukas Brud, speaking to the Press Association before England's tetchy round-of-16 victory over Colombia, said he was concerned that the behaviour seen at the World Cup would have an influence on children and be replicated in youth football.

Holding and grappling on corners and free kicks has been prevalent throughout the tournament, though it has been clamped down on after the opening round of games. Several referees have been confronted by a number of players from one team, with some shouting into an official's face. 

IFAB, football's lawmakers, want to take steps to protect the referee from intimidation in the future. 

"We know that what happens on TV will happen at the weekend in games between 10-year-olds -- they will have seen their idols do it and think it's OK," Brud said. "That's why we launched Play Fair.

Referee Mark Geiger is surrounded by Colombia players.
Referee Mark Geiger is surrounded by Colombia players.

"We haven't moved forward with it very quickly because VAR (video assistant referees) was our main focus -- but we are looking at ways of changing negative behaviour through the laws of the game: mobbing the referee, simulation, time-wasting and so on.

"The rugby example is something football needs to consider and that's why we've started to look at the role of the captain as a way of dealing with players who mob the referee. It could be that only the captain or the player involved in the incident can talk to the official.

"We are also looking at ideas to counter time-wasting. We want to come up with some law changes that will make the game more attractive."

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