A data journalist working for a regional publisher has exposed “fake news” about goal celebration rules during the World Cup.
In recent days, a number of viral posts on Twitter have claimed that at least one footballer from a team celebrating a goal must remain on the pitch at all times – otherwise the conceding side reserve the right to kick-off the game.
The tweets, which have sometimes been shared thousands of times, have cited the rule as being imposed by world football governing body FIFA.
They highlighted examples of players including England’s Kieran Trippier, and several members of the Portuguese team, remaining on the field of play away from celebrating teammates.
However, Reach plc journalist David Dubas-Fisher, who is based at the company’s central data unit in Manchester, has now busted the myth after checking with FIFA – and is urging Twitter users nor to believe the “fake news”.
Don't believe the fake news – teams can't kick a game off if all their opponents are off the pitch celebrating.
I contacted FIFA to find out the truth behind the rumours https://t.co/eyMb3ONEgX
— David Dubas-Fisher (@dubasfisher) June 20, 2018
David told HTFP: “A couple of us in the office were discussing the stories we’d seen on social media about this celebration rule and thought it sounded a bit dubious.
“I couldn’t find anything in the rule book about it so I dropped an email to FIFA asking them to clarify. They got back to me and confirmed that there is no such rule and that all players from both teams have to be in their own half in order for the game to kick off.
“You can see from game footage that players are indeed stopping themselves from all jumping into celebrations. Quite why they’re doing it I don’t know, but it shouldn’t be because of this ‘celebration rule.'”
In a story published by the Daily Mirror, a FIFA spokesperson told David: “The laws are clear. Law eight says ‘all players, except the player taking the kick-off, must be in their own half of the field of play,’ at kick off.
“Therefore, the referee clearly cannot and would not (from a fairness perspective) allow the kick off whilst players are off the field celebrating. This is pure coincidence and must be a made-up interpretation of the laws.”