The diving/cheating debate has been a big part of the modern day game. Over the last decade or so the import of diving has largely been blamed on the huge influx of foreign players, however this idea is now redundant as more and more British players are adopting the so-called art of simulation.
Ashley Young's despicable dive in Manchester United's clash with Crystal Palace has thrown the diving debate into the spotlight once again. Watching the game, it was clear to see that Young had flung himself to the floor, but the subsequent replays show that he did not only throw himself to the ground but deliberately kicked the player to con referee Jon Moss into awarding a penalty and was rightly booked.
This is not the first time Young has been embroiled in diving controversy. A couple of seasons ago Young conned the referee into awarding two penalties against QPR's Shaun Derry and Aston Villa's Kieran Clark respectively. This led to Sir Alex Ferguson admitting that he would 'have a word' with Young. It is refreshing to see David Moyes taking a similar stance.
Moyes said: ‘I’ve always said I don’t like diving. He deserved to get booked.
"I don’t want any of my players diving, I don’t want anybody doing it." Clearly even a word from Ferguson and now the current United manager has not deterred Young from diving.
Young has now been booked three times for diving in the top flight, and is third behind Gareth Bale and David Bentley in the Premier Leagues list of offenders. Coincidently, Young has also won 12 penalties in his Premier League career; the joint highest by any player in the history of the division.
Gone are the days where the Suarezs Nanis and Ronaldos of this world can solely be blamed for diving, as evident from the fact that three British players lead the charge of bookings for diving.
The question is what can be done to stamp it out? In my opinion clubs need to take a more serious stance against serial divers such as Ashley Young. Public damning and a quiet word is all well and good but I feel a more serious marker must be laid down.
There have been fines handed out for diving, but that is not the answer. With the financial strength of football and football players, mean that £10,000 fine is a mere slap on the wrist. That is pocket change to these multi-millionaire players.
I would like to see clubs take a bigger stance against diving, such as banning players who are found guilty of blatantly trying to influence the referee with a one game ban. Perhaps this could be written into a club and players code of conduct? If they are found guilty of blatant diving they would be suspended for one game, and it would treated like any other misconduct case within the club.
Afterall diving is considered by many as cheating and therefore puts the game and the club into disrepute. I however can't see this happening, because of the huge pressure on the modern day manager, would a manager really be willing to weaken his own squad? Rightly or wrongly it is a results game at the end of the day where one bad result can cost a manager his job.
Alternatively the FA and the Premier League could look at straight red cards for blatant diving or retrospective action. Wayne Rooney was given a three match ban for swearing into a camera a couple of season ago as it was considered to have put the game into disrepute and seen as a bad example for the young people watching.
I see no difference in diving, it sets the wrong example for youngsters and is considered cheating by the vast majority and surely that puts the game into disrepute? Fines and a quiet word will not deter players to stop diving and harder line needs to be taken to clamp down on it.
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