Ashley Young – king of ‘divers’
The appalling, disgusting and despicable behaviour by some professional soccer players to gain that ultimate victory for their team seems to know no bounds.
The weekend behaviour by one particular player – Ashley Young of Manchester United – is a case in point.
His deliberate attempt to con the referee into giving him and his team a penalty leaves you wondering where all this is going.
Thankfully the referee, Jon Moss, who is a comparatively newcomer to officiating in the Premier League in England wasn’t fooled and dished out the appropriate yellow card for diving.
Earlier, in fact after only 9 minutes, Patrice Evra the United full-back tried his luck with the referee and he was also unsuccessful but didn’t get a yellow card. Inconsistency is the bane of all our lives.
However, not to be unnerved by his yellow card, Young tried his luck again and this time was successful. Not only did he get a penalty kick but also succeeded in getting the unfortunate offender red-carded for “denying a goal scoring opportunity”.
I’ve said many, many times in the past that I don’t criticise referees for what they are doing, I criticise them for what they are NOT doing.
I was singing the praises of referee Jon Moss for having the guts to book a player at Old Trafford, something other more esteemed match officials have shied away from in the past. The he comes along and awards a dubious penalty for, in my book, minimal contact. To compound the issue the initial contact was outside the box.
Then to make matters worse he is seen in verbal contact with his assistant (I use the word advisedly because the assistant was of no assistance in this case) who appeared to offer NO help even though he had a better view of what had happened.
Jon Moss went on to award a penalty to United and issue a red card in the process.
This is not the first time for Ashley to behave in this most unprofessional manner. Many times is the past he has tried his luck with success.
In another incident, referee Martin Atkinson “red-carded” (red and yellow cards are not issued to coaches/manager on the touch line) the Sunderland manager Paulo di Canio.
De Canio later admitted on television that he invited the referee to send him to the stands and the referee obliged.
The incident that provoked this situation was Atkinson’s refusal to allow a goal to Sunderland after he had blown up for a free kick to the home team literally as the ball was entering the Arsenal net. This would have made the score at the time 2 - 2.
For a man of Martin Atkinson’s ability and experience it was a very amateur response to a situation that he encounters many times in his refereeing career both at national and international level. The football cynics are having a field day.
There is a provision in the Fifa laws of the game for referees to allow a few seconds (similar to rugby) to see whether an advantage is realised before calling the play back to where the incident occurred and giving the free kick.
Although Di Canio was wrong and admitted it on television, the whole thing could have been avoided if the referee had delayed his decision for a few seconds.
Having said all that, the “cancer” that is deception through diving, feigning injury and at every turn trying to fool the referee is endemic in our game.
We as referees have the power to root it out. WHEN ARE WE GOING TO START?
Dr Errol Sweeney