FA to begin implementing retrospective bans for diving

This week, the Football Association announced a new method of upholding the rules of the game. Players found guilty of diving or feigning injury may face retrospective bans.

Football governing bodies have been under pressure for quite some time to make progressive changes. The desire for more technology has been growing. With controversial decisions seeming more common by the week, there is the question of why referees do not have access to video replays, just as millions of fans do.

In some ways, this is what the FA are trialling with their video replays to assess cases of simulation. It allows a second chance to review potentially punishable incidents.

So what exactly does this rule entail? The FA have defined the offence as “successful deception of a match official”. A panel consisting of one ex-match official, one ex-manager and one ex-player will meet every Monday to analyse footage from the weekend’s fixtures.

The key feature of this new rule is that footage will only be reviewed if the diving action led to a penalty or a player being sent off (either through two yellow cards or a straight red). If a player is found guilty of diving or feigning injury, he will be given a two-match suspension.

It is an interesting new rule, to say the least. As with most football news, it has sparked some controversy. Whilst there is a lot of support for the new rule, there are limitations.

Firstly, reducing the process to only those incidents that caused a penalty or sending off may undermine the purpose of the reviews.

If simulation is deemed a large enough problem to need retrospective analysis, then surely it must be done for any point in a game. A dive can break up play, lead to a yellow card, or a set piece in a dangerous area. Any of those scenarios could be as influential on a game’s outcome as a penalty or sending off.

The other side of the argument is that punishing diving of any nature is too difficult to be successful. Crystal Palace’s manager Sam Allardyce raised this point when he questioned what will happen to players who are wrongfully booked for diving – which will only be seen once the review has taken place.

Rubbish. It’s utter rubbish. What about the lad that gets booked that didn’t dive? What are they going to do with that? They’re going to say ‘That’s unlucky, next time we’ll try and get that right’… you’ll then have to reverse that somehow… so bring technology in, let us look at it on the day. – The Mirror 

He, like many, feels that the FA are overcomplicating the matter. Real-time video replays, accessible to match officials, would solve more problems. Referees could make the correct decision on the spot in any scenario, with no need for any retrospective action. Of course, the idea of live video replays comes with its own debate, too.

This new rule is a big change to the Premier League. With the integrity of refereeing being increasingly questioned, the FA may simply be trying take some pressure away from match officials. Whatever the justifications, it will have a big impact on the game right from the outset of the new season.