The English Premier League (EPL) has once again led the way (after introducing goal line technology in 2013-2014) in world football by agreeing to act upon shameful diving and simulation exercises executed by players on field.
From season 2017-18 onwards, any act of diving, play acting or simulation to attempt to con the referee and get an unfair advantage in the opposition’s penalty box area, will be reviewed retrospectively, and potential punishments be meted out.
The length of the punishments haven’t been decided or quantified yet. It is likely to be in form of one to three match bans or suspensions.
For now the Football Association (FA) has guidelined that “Only incidents that result in a player winning a penalty or that lead to an opponent being sent off – through either a direct red card or two yellow cards – will be punished.”
The FA will act only when “there is clear and overwhelming evidence to suggest a match official has been deceived by an act of simulation, and as a direct result, the offending player’s team has been awarded a penalty and/or an opposing player has been dismissed”.
The panel for deciding the suspensions or equivalent punishments will will consist of one former match official, one ex-manager and one ex-player.
There is strong belief within the football fraternity that such action will eradicate diving. Studies have shown that diving and simulation behaviour occurs mostly in opposition penalty box area and when match scores are tied.
Couple of weeks ago, two EPL games were decided by dives – Leroy Sane of Manchester City and Marcus Rashford of Manchester United being the unfair beneficiaries raising big hue and cry, yet again. This is not to say that only limited players dive. Almost everyone who kicks a football these days either dives, time wastes, play acts or pulls jerseys.
Hence this is an extremely important step towards getting the game more fair and honest. All football governing bodies must look into implementing this along with other aspects like shirt pulling (often done by defenders) and time wasting or play acting over injuries.
Pep Guardiola has more often than not expressed his anger at the way the English Football Association (FA) runs their football. Jose Mourinho too recently said that FA don’t really support English teams who are playing in Europe, and arent flexible enough to re-schedule games. There is a lot of work for the English FA to execute, if they really want to compete with the best of Europe.
The sooner, the better.
William Hill Odds on who will be the first player to be banned for diving or play acting in season 2017-18
10/1 Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Alexis Sanchez
12/1 Anthony Knockaert, Dele Alli, Gabriel Jesus, Marcus Rashford, Wilfried Zaha
14/1 Ashley Young, Jamie Vardy, Rihad Mahrez, Robert Snodgrass
16/1 Daniel Sturridge, Eden Hazard
20/1 Manuel Lanzini, Marko Arnautovic, Shane Long
25/1 Marouane Fellaini, Paul Pogba, Stefano Okaka