Players who dive or feign injury could face two-match suspensions from the start of next season.
- Two-match bans for players found guilty of diving or feigning injury
- Incidents reviewed by panel of ex-manager, ex-player and ex-referee
- Unless results can be changed, this may not serve any purpose
In football, diving is an attempt by a player to gain an unfair advantage by falling to the ground and possibly feigning an injury, to give the impression that a foul has been committed.
‘Dives’ are often used to exaggerate the amount of contact in a tackle or challenge. Players often indulge in this to fool the referee into giving their team a free-kick or a penalty-kick for scoring opportunities. It can also gives the opponent a yellow or a red card, if already booked, so they can have numerical advantage and weaken the opponents. Diving is also known as simulation or flopping.
But players who dive or feign injury could face two-match suspensions from the start of next season after the Football Association in England voted in favour of introducing retrospective bans.
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The new offence of “successful deception of a match official” is based on a law already used in Scotland and was approved at the FA’s annual general meeting at Wembley recently.
Incidents will be reviewed by a panel comprising a former manager, an ex-player and former referee, who will watch the footage independently. If they are unanimous in believing a player deceived a match official, the sanction will be a two-match ban.
This process is similar to the one already used for red-card offences which were missed at the time but caught on camera, and the cases will be fast-tracked.\
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“Although attempts to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled is a cautionable offence for unsporting behaviour, the fact that the act of simulation has succeeded in deceiving a match official and, therefore, led to a penalty and/or dismissal, justifies a more severe penalty which would act as a deterrent,” there FA of England has said.
If a player admits to a charge of successfully deceiving an official, or is found to have done so, any yellow or red card given to an opposing player, as a result of the deceit, can be rescinded. The new rule will apply across English football and has been supported by the English Football League, the League Managers Association, the Premier League and the Professional Footballers’ Association.
The Scottish Football Association introduced its “rule 201” in 2011.
However, recent moves to introduce goal line technology and video assistant referees indicate that even FIFA realises match officials need more help and supporters want better decisions.
Yet, if four or five of them, and who are inter-connected during a match, cannot detect and decide on diving, it reflects rather poorly on their levels of officiating.
As it often happens in cricket, an umpire refers a run-out decision, though the player has got into the crease long before the bails were dislodged, to the third umpire and makes a complete idiot of himself. If he cannot decide that, he should not be standing there.
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England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland are the four permanent members FIFA’s law-making body, the International Football Association Board. Thus the prospect of a retrospective ban on divers could be introduced in all nations around the world.
Just as red cards have not stopped violent play or violent behaviour on the field, retrospective bans may not eliminate diving. But it could put the fear of God in them.
Yet, the result of the match cannot be annulled under the laws. Unless that is done, there is little or no point in tampering more with the laws and making the referee and his assistants bigger fools and players total cheats.
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