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FA to bring in retrospective bans

The English Football Association (the FA) is to introduce retrospective bans for players found guilty of diving or feigning injury from the start of next season (2017/2018), it has been revealed.

They made the announcement this week following what has been a season of deliberate and persistent misbehaviour by players’ right across the board. The shameful and wanton disregard for the Fifa Laws of the game by some players is nothing short of disgraceful.

From the very top superstars of the game to others at lower levels, the practice appears to be rampant. What’s even more shameful is that some of my ex-colleagues (referees) appeared to be complicit in either not being able to recognise this, to deliberately turning a “blind eye” to the practice.

In some ways I don’t really blame the players as the desire, nay the need, to win is paramount. Winning can bring enormous riches and benefits to a team so they are literally going to do whatever it takes to win. That’s where we come in.

It’s our job to put a stop to it and not allow them to get away with what can only be described as blatant and deliberate cheating.

Under the new proposal to ban players which was announced on Thursday last, only players who get an opposing player sent off for a second yellow card, or a “foul” that resulted in a player winning a penalty, will be targeted.

A panel will sit on a Monday morning after the weekend games and review instances where shenanigans took place and will decide through video evidence whether to impose retrospective action on the culprits.

Some managers are for it, and some are against.

Me personally? In not so sure it will work. Players, with the encouragement of their coaches and managers, will continue to indulge in what is a blight on “the beautiful game.”

I don’t want to sound negative. I suppose anything that will eradicate this “cancer” form our game is worth a try, so let’s be positive.

Sam Allardyce, the Crystal Palace manager, not one for holding back in giving his ten cents' worth, described the proposal as “rubbish.”

Others say it will work with one ex-player saying it will stop within six months. I think that’s being a little optimistic, but let’s see.

This is not new. It’s been in operation since 2011 in the Scottish Premier League. I have watched some Scottish games and the practice is still going on.

I think the referees need to be coached and mentored more and trained to a higher level to enable them to identify this nonsense.

I’m not so sure that certain referees in the English Premier League (EPL) are being totally honest with themselves or the teams either. There have been reports in the past quoting one or two ex-Premier League referees who stated that they were encouraged by their refereeing body not to award penalties.

They also said they were told to award a certain amount of corner kicks, throw-ins and yellow cards.

If that is true then this new system is doomed to failure from the start.

- I want the referees to be strong and uphold the Laws of the Game.

- I want the referees to be brave and to do their job without fear of favour to any team or player.

- I want the referees to ignore the crowd and the media and to do what is right on the day given the circumstances with which they are presented.

In other words, let’s bring back some honesty into the game. On the whole I’m an optimist. I hope I’m not proven wrong.

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