FA aims to stop footballers diving with retrospective bans

New offence of deceiving a match official carries a two match suspension

Mousa Dembele, Spurs, diving, 2016
Mousa Dembele of Spurs was booked for diving against West Brom earlier this season
(Image credit: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty)

It looks like divers have had their day after the Football Association unveiled plans to punish simulation with retrospective action starting from next season.

It's been a blight on the game for years but the FA, who disclosed the news at their annual general meeting at Wembley, hope the new offence of "Successful Deception of a Match Official" will see diving follow baggy shorts and midfielders' mullets into history.

In announcing the new offence, which carries a two-match ban, the FA said retrospective action could be taken when a dive:

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  • Leads to a penalty
  • Results in a straight red card for an opponent
  • Leads to the sending off of an opponent for two yellow cards (where the alleged act causes either of the bookings)

If the FA believes there is a case to answer, the incident will be referred to a review panel comprising one former match official, one ex-manager and a former player, explains Sky Sports.

They will sit in judgement, using all available video footage of the incident to reach a decision that will be passed to the FA. Only when the three panellists are in unanimous agreement will charges be brought against the implicated player.

The law was first mooted last year and the FA said that after "a period of consultation with stakeholders over the past few months", it's been agreed to introduce the law starting in August 2017. Among the "stakeholders" consulted are the Premier League, the EFL and the Professional Footballers' Association.

A similar law was introduced to Scottish football in 2011 and has met with general approval. But not everyone in the Premier League reacted well to the news of the FA's announcement.

"Utter rubbish" declared Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce, although he appeared not to grasp the full remit of the law. "What about the lad that gets booked that didn't dive?" He muttered. "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."

That is exactly the FA's intention with the review panel having the power to rescind yellow cards for players who were incorrectly penalised for having dived.

But Big Sam is in a minority in opposing the law. An online poll on BBC Sport revealed that 92 per cent of respondents were in favour of the ban, while Leicester City defender Robert Huth tweeted: "Great News, add pretending to be injured and crying when you lose and we are really getting somewhere!"

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