FIFA’s executive committee has today announced a series of new regulations governing international matches. One proposal that has now been adopted was submitted by the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA)and concerns the practice of shirt lifting during matches or in post-match celebration.
In brief players who lift their shirts will be banned for two games on the first offence. Subsequent offences will result in a total match ban.
A FUFA spokesman said, “Shirt lifting brings our beautiful game into disrepute and we should come down really hard on players who commit this corrupting activity. We were hoping for imprisonment but FUFA has to respect FIFA’s ruling.”
Asked for his reaction to the ruling, Arsenal’s Andrei Arshevin, who recently lifted his shirt during a match against Barcelona said, “It is a normal reaction when you get excited. Many of my team mates have said they will continue to lift their shirts and we are all behind each other.”
A spokesman for the FA commented, “This is just FIFA flexing its muscles and trying to divert us from the real issues of the game. What is their stance on the issue of back-handers and the fight against racism for instance? Shirt lifting has been going on for years and has never raised any eyebrows before.”
FIFA executives were not available for comment, but in a written statement they said, “The English press likes bending stories so we refuse to allow them to put our backs up against the wall every time we adopt a new regulation. In short we are stamping out men who run around with their shirts over their heads.”
The ban will come into force in September and the Ugandan strip has already been redesigned as an all-in-one lycra number in fetching hues of black, yellow and red, and to prevent gobbing on the pitch, a handy sewn in pocket for those awkward paper tissues.