When Tom Daley draws up a list of celebrities for the new series of his ITV diving show Splash, he could do worse than call up Ashley Young, Luis Suarez and Ramires.
All three have been at the centre of diving storms in the last week or so and have mastered the art of throwing themselves to the ground under little or no contact. Surely the time has come down to clamp down on this form of cheating as the game is being brought into disrepute.
Young’s latest act of simulation came when he won a penalty in the 0-0 Champions League clash against Real Sociedad. Justice was done when Robin van Persie missed from the resulting penalty. Yet the man accused of bringing him down, Markel Bergara, was booked in the incident and will miss Real Sociedad’s next champions League game.
Young has form for that sort of thing and is widely regarded as one of the worst offenders in the game for diving. Obviously a word from David Moyes has not done any good so bans should be brought in. But he is not the only one up to no good.
Liverpool’s Suarez went to ground in Uruguay’s 5-0 win over Jordan recently just weeks after he won another controversial penalty in the 3-2 win over Argentina after going down lightly.
And Ramires was at the centre of a storm last weekend when he went down in the box in the dying seconds to earn Chelsea a 2-2 draw against West Brom. Replays showed Steven Reid barely touched him and it caused outrage.
West Brom have now written to the Premier League to complain about refereeing decisions which has gone against them this season. And it’s easy to have every sympathy for Steve Clarke’s men. They have lost out on seven points this season because of poor decisions and now is the time to act.
It is time for cheaters to be shown a red card immediately. No ifs, no buts. A straight red card if you dive – no more soft bookings. In this day and age it is easy to spot when a player goes to ground easily.
Crikey, if Chris Kamara can call it like he did with Ramires on Saturday while broadcasting to the nation on Sky then a qualified refereeing watching a TV monitor should be able to spot cheating.
If a player is sent off immediately for cheating then wait and see, diving will come to a halt overnight. Managers will not want their teams reduced to ten men, players will not want to be hit with three match bans and the game will be cleaned up in a stroke.
If you want to watch diving, tune in to Daley’s Splash when it returns next year. But then again…..