Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

If Koeman Saw Red It's High Time the FA Dived in to Help

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

If Koeman Saw Red It's High Time the FA Dived in to Help

Article excerpt

Byline: JamesOlley Regional Sports Writer of the Year at the heart of London football @JamesOlley

RONALD KOEMAN has not been in England long but he summed up the prevailing attitude towards diving perfectly last Sunday.

Nicolas Otamendi accelerated his fall after bumping chests in a heated exchange with Romelu Lukaku towards the end of Everton's 4-0 victory over Manchester City.

Koeman entered the field of play with the apparent intention of giving Otamendi a piece of his mind yet he checked his forward motion as if forcefully struck by the absurdity of the prone defender before him.

Koeman instead retreated and threw his arms up in the air, hoping the officials would deal with such deception accordingly. Otamendi was booked for the tackle which preceded it but he escaped further censure for an obvious attempt to con the referee into trying to send off Lukaku.

We have come to accept the sight of players going unpunished for acts that prompt embarrassment in replays. But hopefully this will soon end as these incidents fall within the scope of the FA's plans to explore the use of retrospective bans for diving, a move that is long overdue.

Diving is cheating. The end justifies the means for some only interested in winning but if the sport's governing bodies are genuinely interested in improving the game's image, then it has to take diving seriously.

Almost five years ago, I wrote a column advocating straight red cards for diving because the potential gains outweighed the disadvantages, most obviously in the penalty area: succeed and you earn a penalty with the additional possibility of a red card for an opponent if they are the last man but fail and you might be booked.

Since then, the game's lawmakers have abandoned the triple punishment (penalty + red card + player suspension) which reduces those potential gains but there remains an insufficient deterrent to stamp out diving.

The most obvious problem in using retrospective action for diving as the rules stand is consistency: a player could be punished with a yellow card if the incident is seen by a referee during the game but another dealt with by a panel afterwards would receive a two-game ban if the model used in Scotland is applied here. …

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