Diving, as ever, is the topic on everyone’s lips. With the introduction of retrospective bans for players cheating this season, a whole new can of worms has been opened.
If a player successfully cons the referee, and wins a free-kick or penalty, the FA will retrospectively ban the player BUT, if a player gets booked for diving, that’s as far as the punishment goes. I’m not sure how that makes sense but that’s the rules, and the rules are the rules.
The FA defines the new offence for which players will be punished as "successful deception of a match official". If they’re not successful, it’s a yellow card and we’ll sweep it under the rug until the player in question actually deceives a referee.
Now it’s good that the FA are prepared to hand out bigger punishments for players caught diving but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth that the only players punished, will be those who performed the ‘best dive’. Not to mention the punishment not actually being enforced.
With only one dive punished so far this season, Carlisle striker Shaun Miller, are the FA even taking the new sanction seriously? Diving is a common occurrence in football, it happens in every match, everywhere, every week, so why has only one player been punished so far? Take Dele Alli for example at Old Trafford on Saturday, he won a free-kick when there had clearly been no contact. I don’t want to single out Dele Alli, as he’s far from being the only one, but it hasn’t even been mentioned by pundits, let alone looked at by the FA.
If diving is to be stamped out of the game, the punishment, now it has been sanctioned, needs to be handed out on a regular occurrence – If that means multiple players being banned each week, and the player/clubs fined, then so be it.
Diving does have a grey area, where contact is made and players go down, that for me isn’t a ‘clear dive’ and shouldn’t be a ban. Bans should be handed to players who have gone down with absolutely zero contact, whether they were booked in the game or not – Let’s get that right first before we can tackle further deception of referees. It doesn’t matter where it happens on the pitch, whether it’s in the penalty area or on halfway, the punishment is a one-size fits all. If you dive, you pay the price.
The punishment is that simple – Dive = Yellow Card on the pitch, 3 game ban if deemed a clear dive. If we stick to that, I doubt diving would be around for too much longer.
Let me know your thoughts on how to stamp diving out of the game. Tweet me @ZeFutbolWriter.