The fitness trainer of the men’s Australian team, Anthony Crea, has been sanctioned with a five-match suspension and fined CHF 12,500 for making an offensive gesture towards the substitutes’ bench of the Serbia and Montenegro team during the match Serbia and Montenegro v. Australia at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament on 15 August. In reaching its decision, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee considered the gesture to be “a complete contradiction of the spirit and aim of fair play. Such conduct, especially on the part of an official, who should serve as an example, cannot be tolerated.” FIFA now insists on preserving the integrity of football more than ever.

This is one of the reasons why FIFA has included the principle of fair play in its regulations to separate teams finishing level on the number of points, number of goals scored and number of goals conceded. Furthermore, FIFA honours the teams with the most sporting behaviour on the pitch at the end of the tournaments.

The Olympic Football Tournaments currently underway are no exception to this rule. In Athens, the members of the Technical Study Group award points to the teams for the behaviour of the players, officials and fans at the end of each match. After the first round, Italy and Mali head the fair play rankings in the men’s tournament whereas Germany, Japan and Sweden share top spot in the women’s.