If you were to ask people why they don’t like soccer, one big reason is that they don’t like it when players dive and act like they’re injured in order to get a favorable call from a referee. Trust me, I’m a diehard soccer fan, I hate it too.

The FA is trying to kick diving out of English soccer and the Premier League. A referee has the ability to show a yellow card for “simulation” but now The FA is extending that to retroactive bans for people who dive and fake injuries for referee sympathy starting with the 2017-18 season.

The penalty of “Successful Deception of a Match Official” could be enforced if a player dives and wins a penalty or gets someone sent off as a result because of that. Rulings would be determined after a game by a former referee, former manager and former player independently watch the clip and if all three people rule it was a dive. The player would receive a two match ban.

It’s great that The FA and the Premier League is trying something to solve this problem. I’m just not sure this is the right thing to do.

While I hate diving, I understand why players dive. It’s because they wouldn’t get a call if they stayed standing. If a player gets fouled in the box by an opposing player and tries to stay up, they may be praised for not diving but they also probably aren’t receiving a penalty that could make the difference in winning or losing.

I argue that this doesn’t do enough and will only create more problems than help. This only applies to certain situations so that means diving will still be encouraged. A player can dive and win a free kick just outside the box. As long as it doesn’t result in a card, there’s no risk of a ban for the diver and they can still score a game changing goal.

If you really want to eliminate diving, apply the rule for every situation in all locations of the pitch. Have those ruling watch the entire game and rule on every foul situation no matter where it is or if it resulted in a card to determine if they dived. If it’s a foul in the 6th minute 70 yards away from goal that didn’t result in a yellow card and it was a dive, ban the player for a couple matches. You cannot eliminate diving when you leave loopholes for people to still dive without penalty.

This is a step in the right direction for The FA but don’t celebrate and think that this will eliminate diving once and for all because it won’t. This is more like a band aid to help treat a problem that requires extensive surgery. It’s an attempt but it probably won’t help.

[The FA]

About Phillip Bupp

News and soccer editor for The Comeback and I occasionally write for Awful Announcing and Freezing Cold Takes. I also do video highlight game coverage for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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