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Soccer boss Blatter gets no kick from sham pain

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ZURICH, Switzerland -- FIFA President Sepp Blatter wants to clamp down on play-acting in football by introducing an unofficial sin-bin for players who feign injury.

In his column for FIFA Weekly entitled "Stop the amateur dramatics," the head of world football's governing body said he finds it "deeply irritating" when "the (supposedly) half-dead player comes back to life as soon as they have left the pitch."

Blatter urged referees to make these players wait on the touchline so their absence has an effect on their team.

"In practical terms this amounts to a time penalty -- and it could cause play-actors to rethink," he wrote.

Blatter didn't specify the length of time these "stricken" players should be held up on the sideline.

Blatter said diving and feigning injury "has become a normal and accepted part of football nowadays."

"Cutting out this kind of cheating is a matter of respect towards opponents and fans," Blatter added, "and ultimately one of self-respect as a professional and role model."

There have been 13 yellow cards for diving in the English Premier League so far this season.

FIFA Weekly will be published today.

Bills' Williams settles suit

against former fiancée

HOUSTON -- Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams has settled a lawsuit he filed against his former fiancée in an attempt to get back a $785,000 diamond engagement ring, according to a statement released Thursday.

Williams and Erin Marzouki announced they "reached an amicable agreement" regarding the dispute over the ring.

The terms of the agreement were kept confidential.

Williams filed a lawsuit in May, demanding Marzouki return the ring and accusing her of breaking off their engagement last January.

Marzouki counter-sued, accusing Williams of the break up.

In the statement Thursday, Williams apologized for initiating the lawsuit, calling Marzouki a "great person" and saying he regretted how their engagement ended.

"Ms. Marzouki did not deserve the media backlash she received as a result of this lawsuit because it in no way describes her good character," the statement said.

Alouettes, all-star Parker reach two-year deal

MONTREAL -- Cornerback Billy Parker has agreed to a new two-year deal with the Montreal Alouettes, the CFL club announced Thursday.

The 6-0, 195-pound Parker was an East Division all-star last season after registering a career-high 57 tackles with a forced fumble and interception.

Parker was scheduled to become a free agent next month.

"Billy is a true leader on the field and in the locker-room," Alouettes head coach and GM Jim Popp said in a statement. "He has always made his biggest plays in the biggest games.

"Billy offers our team a player type coach on the field, with a calming approach."

Parker, 32, has spent the last five seasons with Montreal, winning Grey Cups with the club in '09 and 2010.

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 3, 2014 C5

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