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Oct 12, 2012

Uruguay blasts FIFA for Luis Suarez dig

The Uruguay Soccer Federation on Friday filed a letter of protest to FIFA president Sepp Blatter calling for an investigation into comments made by FIFA vice president Jim Boyce calling Liverpool striker Luis Suarez's diving a "cancer" in the game.

In the letter to Blatter, published on the federation's website, Uruguay general secretary Anibal de Olivera calls Boyce's comments "unacceptable," and cites the FIFA ethics code that states that officials must be aware of the responsibilities implied in their roles.

"This type of comment, coming from a FIFA vice president and making specific reference to a player and linking his actions to a disease that is a curse for humanity, goes against the principles of world soccer," the statement reads.

Boyce on Tuesday joined calls for players who dive to be punished retroactively.

"I watched the latest (Luis) Suarez incident two or three times, and to me it is nothing less than a form of cheating," said Boyce, Britain's representative on FIFA.

"It is becoming a little bit of a cancer within the game and I believe if it is clear to everyone that it is simulation then that person is trying to cheat and they should be severely punished for that.

"It can at times be very, very difficult for referees to judge whether something is a foul or a fair tackle and if players are diving then it makes their job even harder."

Suarez admits he is "anxious" during matches, but said he is not concerned that he is the center of a hot Premier League debate over diving.

"I have to improve my attitude on the pitch. The anxiety brings me to protest a lot," Suarez told Uruguay's Ovacion newspaper Tuesday ahead of Uruguay's World Cup qualifier vs. Argentina on Friday at 8 p.m. ET. "If I started reading the newspapers, I wouldn't be able to play in England. I am happy at Liverpool, the coach likes me and the players do too.

"Everyone should focus on their own team," he told Ovacion. "Those who want to talk can do so, I am not worried about what they say.

"They can keep talking and in the meantime I will keep on playing football and taking care of my team and what I do. Nothing else matters."

The lively diving debate gained steam this week after Suarez's performance vs. Stoke, after which Stoke boss Tony Pulis called for a three-match ban for diving antics.

The Football Association does not currently allow players to be punished for diving retroactively. Referees can only show a yellow card at most, but Boyce believes all associations should have policies banning the practice.

"It can be dealt with retrospectively by disciplinary committees, and it is done so in some associations, and I believe that is the correct thing to do," said Boyce.

The issue has been discussed by the FA and the leagues before without any change in policy. The Premier League have previously suggested a three-man panel to review contentious incidents after every weekend, which could include simulation, and would be open to renewing discussions on bringing in such a system.

The FA said the issue was often reviewed. A spokesman added: "Simulation is not something that the FA currently take (retroactive) action over but it is an issue that is often reviewed and discussed by the game's stakeholders."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers defended his player on Monday.

"At this moment there seems to be one set of rules for Luis and another set for everyone else," he said.

"Diving and simulation is obviously a wider issue in football and one that we all agree has to be eradicated from our game but there were other incidents this weekend that didn't seem to generate the same coverage.

"I believe some people need to develop a sense of perspective and I also believe in this moment the vilification of Luis is both wrong and unfair."

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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