Bale dive mustn't be overlooked

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There's little doubt that, during Sunday's north London derby, we were treated to a Premier League classic at the Emirates Stadium.

Like many of the modern-day contests between the two clubs, the match ebbed and flowed, with drama and plenty of goals accompanying every twist and turn.

The match of course sparked a myriad of talking points. Will the result spark a revival under Arsene Wenger? Can the Gunners pip Spurs to third? Is this the start of Tottenham's slide?

All relevant issues after an enthralling afternoon's football, but once we've nattered away on those somewhat trivial issues, we must turn our attention to actions of one Gareth Bale.

The Welsh winger, a constant scourge of Arsenal in the opening 45 minutes, was seemingly felled by Wojciech Szczesny after darting through the Gunners' defence. Emmanuel Adebayor tucked away the resulting penalty as Spurs took a firm grip of the contest.

As it turned out, the Togolese forward's cool finish proved to be something of a footnote, as Wenger's men plundered five without reply.

But while the spot kick itself was hardly newsworthy, the winning of the penalty should have attracted more headlines. Replays have since clearly caught Bale red handed, as he dives over the onrushing Pole to fool referee Mike Dean.

Diving is the poison that is eating our game from within. While there are barriers, albeit often flimsy, preventing those businessmen from causing financial havoc at our football clubs, little is being done to eradicate a habit from the game that is becoming an hereditary trait of English football.

There's absolutely no doubt the quality of the football should take precedence. However, shunning the issue of one of Britain's finest young talents resorting to cheating reflects the woeful job The Football Association have made of ridding the game of this cowardly act. In the aftermath, Bale should be condemned, regardless of his exceptional ability. His lack of remorse is further reason to leave him to hang out to dry.

While the quality of the contest, and the limited impact of the act on the remainder of the game do distract us from the incident, you can't help but think the squeaky clean profile of Bale has assisted in this issue not being blown up in the media. Had the protagonist been Luis Suarez, I'd suggest the incident wouldn't have been overlooked.

I have long championed the use of video technology, not in goal-line incidents, but for simulation; only then will The FA send out a ruthless message that diving will not be tolerated.

Furthermore, referees should be permitted, when they see fit to issue a red card for diving. Given the stigma that's attached to those found guilty of diving, officials are hesitant over punishing individuals when they're not 100% sure.

Granted, the use of technology after the event could work as an unwanted watershed moment The FA don't want to confront, but if it's the straw that breaks the camels back then so be it. Diving must be shown the red card.

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Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League
Gareth Bale

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