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Fines for bad acting in AFL -

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ELEANOR HALL: Aussie rules players with a flair for acting have been warned to keep their talents
off the field or risk being hauled before a disciplinary tribunal. In a change to the rules for
2010 any player who stages a dive in an attempt to win a free kick will be reported and may be
fined thousands of dollars.

An experienced AFL umpire says the changes are overdue.

In Melbourne, Simon Lauder reports.

SIMON LAUDER: It's a regular performance on the soccer field.

SPORTS COMMENTATOR: Oh Gelatino (phonetic) went down almost posthumously and the referee's gone
straight to his pocket here. And to be straight with the referee he needed to go down immediately,
not four or five paces later.

SIMON LAUDER: And it's a tactic some AFL players have embraced. Faking a dive can lead to a free
kick... if the acting's good enough.

SPORTS COMMENTATOR: A couple of options, he goes toward Didak and takes the mark at half back, fake
for the 50, umpires are wake up to that one.

SIMON LAUDER: Collingwood's Alan Didak is one several players who feature in a new instructional
video advising AFL umpires what to watch out for in 2010. For the first time players who fake a
fall, do a dodgy dive or choreograph a collision will be reported to the AFL Tribunal.

VIDEO NARRATOR: Staging is a reportable offence as it may 1. Affect umpire decision making, 2.
Incite a melee, 3. Is not in the spirit of the game.

SIMON LAUDER: Players deemed to be staging will face fines of up to $2,400 for a third offence. The
general manager of Football Operations at the AFL, Adrian Anderson, says the decision was made
after the annual review of tribunal decisions.

ADRIAN ANDERSON: If you have a look at sort of examples we've provided you know, I think one of
them illustrates where the umpire paid a wrong free kick because he thought that there'd been
contact but there wasn't.

Just generally about you know, protecting the spirit, the spirit of the game. You know, it's a
tough, hard sport and it's got to remain that way.

SIMON LAUDER: Do you create the prospect now that there could be more controversy in the game if
someone's accused of taking a dive and they claim that they didn't?

ADRIAN ANDERSON: There's always potential for controversy, especially in our game, and every time
you make a decision there's potential for controversy. We wouldn't be making many decisions if
we're worried too much about that, we just have to decide what we think is important to protect the
spirit of our game and we'll do that. And yes there's bound to be some controversy.

SIMON LAUDER: The AFL says it decided to crack down on staging dives to protect the game from
something which isn't a big problem yet. But a former VFL umpire says staging can cost a game and
it costs the sport integrity.

PETER NEVIS: When a free kick is paid when it's not there, it may result in a goal and in the end
that goal may well win that team a game of football. So to me that's a bit of a blight on the game.

SIMON LAUDER: Peter Nevis has spent hundreds of hours on the field. He says the new rules are way
overdue.

PETER NEVIS: Players attempt to take possession of the ball and they're not really intent on
getting the ball, they're more inclined to achieve body contact from the opposition player and
umpires can often get caught out there by thinking that he's tackled without possession of the
football.

You get a lot of diving in terms of players leaning out for the ball and making out their getting
contact from behind and going to the ground.

SIMON LAUDER: How will umpires know if someone's faking it?

PETER NEVIS: Oh look, I think it's pretty obvious to the umpires, I think they've got smarter over
the years. Initially I thought Gary Ablett Senior down here at Geelong was pretty good at getting
his body in front of an opposition player and was just a real art in doing it and some players can
make free kicks look pretty obvious when they're not, but I think umpires over the years have
certainly got smarter and we probably witnessed that a fair bit in the last two or three years in
particular.

SIMON LAUDER: ABC sports commentator, Gerard Whateley, says the AFL has made a clever move which
will ensure players who ham it up for the umpire are ridiculed even more.

GERARD WHATELEY: For the dozen players who maybe do it more often than they should, I think just by
announcing the crackdown will probably end it.

SIMON LAUDER: So you think it's more about nipping a problem in the bud before it really takes
over?

GERARD WHATELEY: I'm not sure that it would ever take over in Aussie Rules anyway. Players who have
done it have usually been ritually humiliated in the media. In the key moment of a match if a
player wants to try and milk a free kick by staging and human instinct takes over they'll still be
able to do it on the field, it's just that they'll be chastised, humiliated and fined in the
aftermath.

SIMON LAUDER: Either that or they'll have to enrol in acting lessons?

GERARD WHATELEY: (Laughs) Yes, yes, perhaps a few might retire and enter down a different path.

ELEANOR HALL: That's ABC sports commentator Gerard Whateley ending that report by Simon Lauder in
Melbourne.