Jay Rodriguez’s penalty box tumble has brought the issue of diving back into the spotlight. His dive at Villa Park on Saturday proved to be the difference between the two sides.
This season has seen a clampdown on the act, but with the penalty for the guilty only being a yellow card, many feel that this is not a deterrent.
Serial offenders Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez have already racked up a number of offences this season, showing that issuing a yellow card doesn’t stop it from happening.
But there have also been a number of occasions when players have wrongly been accused of diving and have been punished incorrectly.
Diving is a blight on the game, but as events on Saturday proved, it can be hard to spot. I was at the match and immediately thought that it was a penalty.
We must remember that referees only get one view of the incident to make their decision from. And some incidents do require several slow motion replays from various angles to determine whether it was a dive or not. So the referee’s job is a difficult one.
Another issue that we must consider is that diving is effectively cheating. Therefore a referee must be certain that a player has dived before they are given a yellow card and branded a cheat.
One way to deal with it is to introduce tough punishments that can be applied retrospectively.
Setting up a panel who can sit down on a Monday morning and preside over video evidence seems to be the method favoured by a number of Premier League managers.
As does the introduction of hefty fines and three-game bans for those found guilty.
But what is for certain is that the current system needs to change. Having a yellow card as the punishment is an issue, not just because the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, but also because yellow cards cannot be overturned in instances of a referee making a mistake.
This is another area that I think the FA need to look at. There have been plenty of examples of dodgy yellow card decisions that have lead to a sending off. Yet because there is no appeal process for a yellow card the player must wrongly serve a one-match ban.
Whilst Villa fans will have gone home on Saturday evening feeling hard done by, they should remember that Christian Benteke’s poor effort of a dive in the Southampton box went unnoticed.
But with a change to retrospective punishment the Belgian hit man would have incurred the same punishment as the Southampton striker.