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March 30, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Coach Sigi Schmid on embellishing contact: “It’s important that we respect the game.”

schmid mug.jpgSounders FC midfielder Alvaro Fernandez wasn’t made available to the media today to respond to being fined by MLS for embellishing contact in Friday’s game against Houston. Coach Sigi Schmid did talk about the incident and the issue on a broader level, and here is that conversation:

* * *

What did you think of the punishments handed down by the league? “Obviously the league has the opportunity with the disciplinary committee to review cases and situations. I’m not going to comment on Moffat’s situation. Flaco’s situation is something we’ve talked about internally as a team. It’s important that we respect the game.”

So you’ve made this aware to Fernandez? He’s had issues with this before… “To him and to the whole team. We’ve talked about that in the past with the team and we continue to talk about it. Sometimes it’s a little more difficult when it’s something that’s accepted maybe where you come from, culturally. So it’s a little bit harder to break, but on the same token, it’s where we are as a league and also where we are with the game around the world. I think everywhere around the world embellishment is something the fans want to see limited or curtailed, so it’s good that we’re taking a firm step in it. I don’t think it’s going to be an issue in the future.”

Can diving be counterproductive if you get that reputation? “Sometimes yeah, if you have that reputation. Referees say they look at everything individually, but they have an idea going into the game: Who are the guys who generally seem to pick up yellow cards? Who are the guys that generally go down easier than the others? Sometimes then the referee doesn’t give you the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately it also means there are situations where you truly get fouled and you don’t get the benefit of the calls. We want to make sure that when he is fouled, you get that call.”

Is there a fine line when you think you have to embellish to get a call? “I think the line is finer when you see the opponent embellish and get the benefit of the call and then you think you’re letting your team down by not doing the same on your end of the field. I think that’s where players are saying, ‘He just helped his team. He just helped his team win a free kick or he just helped his team win a penalty kick, so shouldn’t I be doing the same?’ But as long as the league stays consistent with how they treat those things… (When our players) are fouled, we want to make sure the referees give them the call. If they’re not fouled, we want them to stay on their feet.”

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