The beautiful game is full of controversy, its one of the main reasons it is the most watched sport in the world. Lately half of the Premiership has been bought by Arab Sheiks blowing their countries future on men that your average Saudi has probably never heard of. Before that there was the tapping up scandal that the likes of 'Happy' Harry Redknapp managed to escape unscathed from. There are other countless scandals that I don't have space to mention. However none of these issues and debacles seem to raise Joe public's heckles more than 'DIVING'.
Before I suggest how the Footballing Authorities should deal with this stubborn virus that has infected the game, I want to suggest something else. A lot of people keep saying that the players should sort this out themselves and grow consciences. What no one ever seems to say is 'why do keepers and defenders keep falling for the same old tricks'. In Artur Boruc's case he slid out right at the feet of an onrushing attacker. Isn't it about time that rather than crying about the outcome of their actions, Boruc and other keepers have a look at their positioning and think; 'wouldn't it be better if I just stayed on my line or left more distance between me and the keeper'.
This alone will obviously not eradicate the problem though. As long as players can gain such a huge advantage for their team by diving, they will continue to do it. The reactionary responses from certain quarters has been rushed and not thought through. SFA (Scottish Football Association) chief Gordon Smith got in a huff and blurted to the 'Daily Record' that Eduardo should be banned after UEFA watched video evidence. This is what has subsequently happened. However as Arsene Wenger pointed out in today's press conference. "This has set a dangerous precedent". Basically what UEFA have done is make it possible for clubs to appeal against all big decisions that Referees make. This appeals process will still not mean that the game is replayed, so you could still dive in the Champions league final and win. Something better is needed.
Enter Michel Platini who has taken over Sebb Blatter's job of coming up with useless ideas. Platini has suggested in 'The Mirror' that a 5th official could be deployed behind the goal to make decision making better. However Platini's idea is flawed in that it would only work at "free kicks and corners". His words not mine. He then went on to say "For years players have cheated because the referees were not of a good enough quality". Not sure that will go down well with his colleagues. Platini has missed the point.
The problem is not referees. Making decisions on such fast moving events is almost impossible. So what we need is technology to help officials. I hate to agree with Alex Ferguson and Gordon Smith (when he had calmed down) but what we need more than ever is a tennis style challenge and review system. A team could get 2 challenges per half. If a challenge is overruled that challenge is lost. If it is upheld then the team keep their challenge. The fourth official could have a quick look on the replay and give his verdict. It would all take 10 seconds. If a player is adjudged to have dived he receives a yellow card.
Unfortunately there are traditionalists such as Platini and notably Football Focus's Garth (Waste of Space) Crooks who insist on trying to stop the inevitable introduction of technology.
If Rangers get knocked out of the champions league because of another dive that could have been spotted by a camera then Mr Platini and Co should cancel any planned visits to Scotland.