ISN'T it time we did something about diving and cheating? Again we witnessed a blatant dive in yesterday's match between Wolves and Sunderland.
Sebastian Larsson went on a run towards goal, Jody Craddock stuck out a clumsy leg and missed the ball, but rather than continue on his run Larsson decided to take a dive.
The dive was comical, like one from an advert, but the ref was fooled and it resulted in a penalty for Sunderland. The real travesty though is nothing will be done about it.
This is not a witch-hunt against Larsson. It seems that most players think it's part and parcel of the game, it's fashionable. Every team has players who have mastered the dive and I suppose you can't blame them as they can get away with it. Players justify it by saying they are "gaining an advantage" for their team. This might be the case, but it's also cheating.
At times at Stamford Bridge it has been like watching American football, seeing how often some of the players on both teams were going down to gain an advantage.
During the post-match analysis on Match of the Day 2, former Chelsea and Everton star Pat Nevin said he had never dived in his career. The statement was greeted by laughing in the studio.
I know it's hard to believe, but I used to watch Pat week in week out get hacked by defenders as he went on his tricky runs and I can confirm he would get straight up and try and continue to get a goalscoring opportunity.
It was a delight to watch great strikers riding tackles. The attitude was different back then, they didn't want to go down.
However, diving from a tackle is not the only crime on the pitch.
Just as bad is players feigning injury, the worst of which is when they go down holding their faces whenever there is contact off the ball. Again a blatant cheat and again disgraceful that nothing is done about it.
The authorities had the chance to act on this after the 1998 World Cup when Slaven Bilic got Laurent Blanc sent off in the semi-final.
If you remember there was a bit of pushing in the box and Bilic went down holding his face, Blanc got sent off for the first time in his career and subsequently missed the final. It made me feel sick for him at the time.
Yes, maybe Blanc raised his hands on the push, but Bilic did not get hit in the face. This was cheating and from that day they could have made a stand against it. So what should we do? For me, the answer is simple.
There is a dubious goals panel, so why not a dubious cheating panel? This would be half-a-dozen ex pros who decide if a player tried to dupe a ref. If it is deemed that he has, give him a ban. Obviously, there will be some mistakes and a few casualties of this rule, but I can't imagine too many fans worrying about it. It seems we've been asking for this for years, so why can't it happen? Has there ever been a reason?
Back to yesterday, even Wolves boss Mick McCarthy thought the Larsson incident looked like a penalty. The refs have a hard enough job as it is, so let's help them by retrospectively punishing the cheaters.
Hopefully this will change the attitude and we will get honest players back in our game.
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