The beginning of an end??????

4 08 2009

Diving is the scourge of soccer. The ugly pimple on the otherwise beautiful face of football.

Mostly because it’s cheap. In a game that offer so much in terms of honour and sportsmanship, too many players too often look to fool the ref and gain an advantage.

Just as bad, it’s also the stick that the soccer haters most often use to beat the beautiful game with. Usually with very cheap and not particularly funny jokes.

So I think most football fans would agree that – while diving compilation videos are hilarious – it’s definitely time for the football authorities to make like a authoritarian swimming pool lifeguard and impose strict penalties for flopping.

Which is exactly what they’re doing in Australia.

The new A-League season starts next week with new disciplinary measures in place to deal with divers. From the Reuters story:

The Football Federation of Australia (FFA) announced on Friday it would impose two-match bans on players found guilty of diving, or “simulation”, to win a penalty or have an opponent sent off.

“I think everyone — fans, players and media — believe that simulation is unacceptable,” FFA Chief Executive Ben Buckley announced on Friday.

The FFA’s judicial panel was also given new powers to review matches and hand out retrospective suspensions for incidents that were missed by the referee. Red cards can be rescinded for players wrongly sent off.

Sounds like common sense. And it is. But it’s also a big big deal. It’s the first time I can remember any football league specifically clamping down on diving.

Assuming the new rules are enforced, there will likely be a spate of early bans, followed by a noticeable decline in diving. If and when that happens, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world adopts the same measures. And for that reason, I’ll be watching the A-League a little more closely in 2009.




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