FA gets tough over diving as disease spreads to rugby

Retrospective bans for diving could be introduced as task force heads to Scotland to see anti-diving law in action

Firmino and Herrera
(Image credit: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

The Football Association is determined to eradicate diving and is poised to introduce retrospective bans for players who commit the offence, reports The Times.

Although it has blighted the game for years, diving remains as common as ever across the globe and the FA wants to do its bit in England by punishing players for simulation.

Officials will be despatched on what the Times calls a "fact-finding mission" to Scotland to learn from their counterparts north of the border. In the SPL any player who prospers from simulation or other such deviousness receives a two-match ban, and the FA believe a similar law could be introduced in England.

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Since 2011 the SFA has used video replays to identity culprits who might have got away with it at the time, and then ban them retrospectively. "Having that rule there is helping the game and reducing the acts of simulation, which we know are frustrating for fans and players, and can be game-changing," explained SFA chief executive Stewart Regan.

The initiative is being driven by FA chairman Greg Clarke, who wants to stamp out unsportsmanlike behaviour. “On the face of it it's a good idea," an FA insider told the Times. "The devil is in the detail, but as a tool to penalise blatant simulation versus 'did he dive or slip?' it is now being investigated. It is being discussed with the SFA and some FA people are going up to Scotland for a meeting on how it is working."

While players in the Premier League dive less now than they did ten or 20 years ago - German star Jurgen Klinsmann revelled in his reputation for simulation - it still goes on, and there was a case in Sunday's clash between Manchester United and Liverpool, leading to a confrontation between Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp. They exchanged words after United's Ander Herrera fell to ground clutching his face after a set to with Roberto Firmino.

Diving doesn't only blight football. It's becoming increasingly common in rugby union and on the same day Herrera acted up, so did Scarlets flanker James Davies in a European cup match against Saracens.

Lightly slapped by Will Skelton, the burly Davies staggered back and then dropped theatrically to the ground, a reaction that drew widespread scorn on social media. "This is happening more often in rugby." tweeted former England hooker turned TV pundit Brian Moore. "It is wrong even if there is contact & World Rugby must compel officials to penalise it."

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