Published on Goonersphere.
Recent news regarding football in England has seen the Football Association move to tackle what is fast becoming an epidemic in the game.
From this season, plans have been put in place to issue retrospective bans for players found to be guilty of simulation.
Is this enough though?
The Scottish Football Association have had this framework in place already since 2011, and yet players have still attempted to con the match official by diving. Most notoriously, when a Ross County player dived and earned a penalty against Celtic, which helped County earn a draw.
There will be a two game ban for any player found guilty of such behaviour, and the panel who will inspect any suspected incidents will comprise of an ex-referee, an ex-player and an ex-manager. Why not a current referee though?
This move smacks of closing the gate after the horse has bolted. The evidence North of the Border says that while it may be a step in the right direction, it is nowhere near enough to eradicate diving from football.
In all major sport, realtime video technology exists where any incident can be viewed within seconds of it occurring. Rugby League and Union and tennis are just two examples where real-time events are pored over by modern tech – and the game has not suffered. In fact, it has been embraced by the fans – particularly in cricket and tennis where replays are dramatically viewed on a big screen.
Chew on this. When a player has gone down in the box, the furore from the team who claim it was a penalty and the opposing team pleading their innocence goes on for at least a minute. The referee either waves away protests, goes to the linesman or awards a corner or goal kick. Then you have the stricken player who went down in a heap, awaiting the miraculous touch of his team’s physio before continuing play.
All of this combines to leave an ample window for video tech to look at the claimed foul from a myriad of angles and judgment to pass.
The recent Confederations Cup in Russia trialled Video Assistant Refereeing to varied results, but in truth, it was implemented poorly. The match referee often would go to the sideline to review decisions – but doesn’t that defeat the object?
This is why it was trialled and not officially used, as there are still bugs in the system – but it is still the way forward if the game is going to thrive.
The game already suffers from a blight of stopped play as players go down in a heap through supposed nefarious fouls, yet are sprinting 60yards within minutes. All to curry an advantage from the referee.
The game in its current state needs instant video tech NOW.
It took far too long to introduce goalline technology to the game, and the delay in introducing this measure could eventually cost a team millions.
If a dive in a huge game earns a penalty, the ramifications could be huge.
The move to introduce retrospective bans mean that players may think twice before engaging in such bad sportsmanship, but if the punishment was instant and in-game, the cost to his team would mean that simulation would be forced out of the game to a minimal level.
Can you imagine a manager not punishing one of his players if he was either sent to a sin-bin or sent off after diving, leaving the team a man down?
Managers have had their say on this latest introduction by the FA. Sam Allardyce of Crystal Palace said to The Guardian in no uncertain terms;
“Bring technology in, let us look at it on the day, and then bring a sin-bin in so we can put him in that for 10 minutes and then put him back on. Stop paying all these people money to do rubbish situations in the game. That’s utter rubbish.”
The FA could be seen as visonary if they were the first in Europe to introduce instant punishments for simulation.
Until they do, then diving will still have a place in the game and justice will have to turn a blind eye.