English FA cracks down on ‘diving’ cheats as reforms start to filter through

The FA

May 19 – Players who dive or feign injury could face two-match suspensions from the start of next season under a new English Football Association crackdown.

A new offence of “successful deception of a match official”, passed by the governing body at its annual general meeting on Thursday, is already used in Scotland and will involve incidents being reviewed by a panel comprising a former manager, an ex-player and former referee.

The governing body will have the power to charge players whom it believes have cheated to win a penalty or get an opponent sent off.  Only in those circumstances will it be possible to take retrospective action.

“Although attempts to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled is a cautionable offence for unsporting behaviour, the fact that the act of simulation has succeeded in deceiving a match official and, therefore, led to a penalty and/or dismissal, justifies a more severe penalty which would act as a deterrent,” an FA statement said.

Whilst the reaction was mainly positive, former England manager Sam Allardyce, who lasted only 67 days in the job before resigning as a result of a newspaper sting and is now with Crystal Palace, described the decision as “utter rubbish”.

Other key reforms approved include cutting the FA board from 12 members to 10, with three seats reserved for women from 2018, and the introduction of term limits.

“Good corporate governance is essential for any successful organisation and these new reforms have the interests of football at their core. They will benefit all of English football,” said FA chairman Greg Clarke.

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