Diving law should eradicate problem in English game

Retrospective ban an excellent idea to punish cheaters and rid football of this scourge

Gulf News

London: I think it is an extremely positive move by the Football Association to punish retrospectively players who dive, imposing two-match bans, in the new initiative that will see cheats subjected to trial by video.

The governing body will have the power to charge players whom it believes have cheated to win a penalty or get a player sent off, be that for a straight red card, or a second booking from next season.

I suspect that it will almost certainly stamp the problem out in the English game, because it has become more prevalent at every level in this country. I am sure our Premier League referees will be delighted with the introduction of retrospective punishment for those players who are guilty of this new offence — the successful deception of a match official.

It has become so difficult for referees to do their jobs. There is no doubt that the number of referees being caught out has increased, because, to be quite frank, players have got better at it. What also makes it difficult, particularly in the Premier League, is the speed of the game, and we have to accept that there are occasions when players appear to have dived, but they have done so to avoid injury. This video review panel will come to the right conclusion and we must have consistent decisions.

This will be of great assistance to our referees, but I would like to see a consistent panel. If it was up to me, the same panel would sit for the first three months of the season, so we make sure we get consistent decisions. The main thing is that it has got to act as a deterrent.

I think once there have been a few cases where players are retrospectively punished for deceiving a match official, it will start to eradicate the problem. It will certainly stem the growth of it and send out a positive message. If we can get the star players in the Premier League to stop diving, then it will filter down to the grass-roots. Like it or not, kids playing on the park on Sunday morning copy what they have seen. The one thing I would like to add is why is the FA still apparently dragging its feet through treacle when it comes to using video assistant referees? It is ridiculous that the Premier League, the best league in the world, has still to catch up with other leagues which already have video assistant referees. Once we do, I am sure they could look at these incidents at the time and clear them up very quickly, then we would not need a panel to act retrospectively.

— Keith Hackett is a former referee and resident expert for You-Are-The-Ref.com.

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