FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce, Britain’s FIFA representative, has insisted that the English Football Association should have the right to punish players who dive amid the latest major incident involving none other than dive-artist Luis Suarez.
Stoke City manager Tony Pulis would surely be one of Boyce’s advocates on this hot-topic issue after the Potters boss called for Suarez to be punished for his latest act of simulation at Anfield last week.
“I have seen several incidents recently, and I watched the latest Suarez incident two or three times, and to me it is nothing less than a form of cheating,” said Boyce.
“It is becoming a little bit of a cancer within the game and I believe if it is clear to everyone that it is simulation then that person is trying to cheat and they should be severely punished for that.
“It can be dealt with retrospectively by disciplinary committees, and it is done so in some associations, and I believe that is the correct thing to do.
“It can at times be very, very difficult for referees to judge whether something is a foul or a fair tackle and if players are diving then it makes their job even harder.”
Suarez, a repeat offender, is one of the most infamous ‘divers’ in world football, and rightfully so.
With that said, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has repeatedly hailed Suarez following incidents of simulation this season. Surely Rodgers would share a different viewpoint if he was on the other side of the touchline.
Now then, what is the solution to rid the English Premier League, and world football in general, of diving?
Well, the best solution, arguably, would be to set up a policy that mimics the English Football Association’s system regarding ‘violent conduct’.
For example, repeat offenders, like Suarez, would receive heavier bans, while first-time offenders would receive either a warning or a one-match ban.
The English FA handed Joey Barton a 12-match ban for violent conduct against Manchester City forward Sergio Agüero last season, leading Queens Park Rangers to loan out the notorious bad boy to Ligue 1 outfit Olympique de Marseille for the 2012-13 season.
Given his bad reputation, Suarez would receive a lengthy ban, much like Barton, for any act of simulation or violent conduct.
This would give him a big incentive to stay on his feet, and essentially avoid punishment from the English Football Association.
Another possible solution to the problem of simulation would be to fine every player who tries to con the referee, but let’s be honest, that will probably not do the job. A two-match ban should do the trick.