While it’s called the world game for a reason given its huge popularity right across the globe, football has always been marred by one ugly thing.
Diving. Simulation. Acting. Whatever you want to call it, there’s no doubt that watching players roll around on the ground when they’ve barely been touched is a blight on the sport that continues to harm its reputation and its ability to appeal to new fans.
While it may be never be possible to truly eradicate these Hollywood-worthy performances from the game, at least some authorities are finally starting to do something about them.
The English Football Association created a new rule during the off-season making it illegal to fake injury on the pitch, and it has recently claimed its first victim. It stated that if a player feigns injury resulting in an opposition player being incorrectly shown a red card for “violent conduct”, then the diver is able to be charged.
Sahr Kabba was playing for Welling United against Tranmere in England’s fifth division when Tranmere defender Ritchie Sutton was sent off for allegedly striking Kabba with his elbow. The problem was, Sutton never actually touched the Welling striker, and unfortunately for Kabba, there was video evidence to prove it.
Sutton’s original six-match ban was overturned and now it’s Kabba who’s looking at spending time on the sideline. The 26-year-old was charged with “allegedly exaggerating or feigning an injury which directly led to an opponent being dismissed”, and hit with a three-match ban.
Welling are going to appeal that decision, but bizarrely, coach Loui Fazakerley still supported the England FA’s move to stamp diving out of the game.
“I think because it is a new rule, they want a chance to implement it and show they are serious about it,” said Fazakerley.
“Players feigning injury is very unsportsmanlike. I think the FA are doing the right thing about trying to clamp down on it.”