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The chief executive of the players' union has warned against returning to the bad old days of hooliganism, and called on technology to stop cheats, divers and bad decisions

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has warned English football away from "self-destructing" as recent cases of hooliganism and player behaviour have shown the game in a poor light.

There have been a number of high-profile racism cases on the pitch as well as problems in the stands of late, with Rio Ferdinand being injured by a coin thrown by Manchester City fans as Manchester United scored an injury-time winner last Sunday at the Etihad.

And 67-year-old Taylor has called on the authorities to stamp down on poor behaviour from players and supporters or risk a return to the dark days of hooliganism.

"There's a lot of anger and aggression out there and I worry that some areas of society are quite toxic and are probably ­reflected in football. We have a great game and mustn't go back to the past. Let's not self-destruct," he told reporters.

Taylor also wants technology in order to catch out players who bend the rules during games, believing it is not a matter of if, but when, referees are given the benefit of watching replays of incidents.

"We have discussed cheating to see how best to deal with it - not just diving, but also imitating the brandishing of a card and staying down for an inordinate period of time. I think it's inevitable that if ­technology comes in on goal-line ­decisions, it will be used for crucial ­decisions in the penalty area.

"People say this will be the thin end of the wedge, but supporters will accept it and that will easily identify when there has been blatant diving for a penalty. The fourth official, with a monitor, can check it.

"We believe also that there should be retrospective ­action available, in the way rugby league will refer an incident and there's got to be serious sanctions to get the message over."

In a bid to crack down on players following the punishments handed out to John Terry and Luis Suarez, Taylor has looked at utilising Barcelona's model of including a clause whereby a player can be sacked for racist abuse: "Barcelona take it seriously and it is part of the contract that it can be terminated for racist abuse. This is going to be ­highlighted by us."

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