Ban for divers, injury fakers if found guilty on video replay

LONDON • The Football Association has voted in favour of introducing retrospective bans for players who dive or feign injury from next season.

The new offence of "successful deception of a match official" is based on a law already used in Scotland and was approved at the FA's annual general meeting at Wembley yesterday.

Incidents will be reviewed by a panel comprised of an ex-manager, an ex-player and an ex-referee, who will watch the footage independently. If they are unanimous in believing a player deceived a match official, the sanction will be a two-match ban.

This process is similar to the one already used for red-card offences which were missed at the time but caught on camera, and the cases will be fast-tracked.

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In a statement, the FA said: "Although attempts to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled is a cautionable offence for unsporting behaviour, the fact that the act of simulation has succeeded in deceiving a match official and, therefore, led to a penalty and/or dismissal, justifies a more severe penalty which would act as a deterrent."

If a player admits to a charge of successfully deceiving an official, or is found to have done so, any yellow or red card given to an opposing player, as a result of the deceit, can be rescinded.

The new rule will apply across English football and has been supported by the English Football League, the League Managers' Association, the Premier League and the Professional Footballers' Association.

Simulation has been an issue in the game for years and there have been a number of notable cases this season, including Robert Snodgrass' dive to earn a penalty for Hull City against Crystal Palace and other alleged incidents involving the likes of Leroy Sane, Dele Alli and Marcus Rashford.

The Scottish Football Association introduced its "rule 201" in 2011 and spent several years trying to convince Fifa that the rule was not going too far in taking decision-making away from match officials on the day - something the world football's governing body has traditionally been very reluctant to do.

However, recent moves to introduce goal-line technology and video assistant referees indicate that even Fifa realises match officials need more help and supporters want better decisions.

With England and Scotland having permanent seats on Fifa's law-making body, the International Football Association Board, bans for divers could soon become a worldwide policy.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2017, with the headline 'Ban for divers, injury fakers if found guilty on video replay'. Print Edition | Subscribe