Referee: Divers ruining beautiful game

Footballers who dive to gain an unfair advantage should be given heavier punishments than just a yellow card. 

That’s the view of Dwayne Ebanks, one of the Cayman Islands’ most experienced referees who wants to see diving – which is blighting the game – eradicated.  

The topic rose in the wake of Manchester United manager David Moyes calling for retrospective action to help punish players who dive.  

United’s Ashley Young was booked for tumbling over in his side’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday.  

A furious Palace chairman Steve Parish said players who dive should be shown straight red cards.  

Ebanks said: “I don’t think a straight red card is the solution to diving but players need to be penalized more, not just a caution.  

“Penalize the club, maybe financially or the player should serve a one-match suspension. Harsher penalties definitely need to be introduced.  

“We’ve got to get the message across. It’s harming the game and the football fraternity must do something about it.” 

Ebanks officiates mostly at the school and youth level, and he said he sees what effect the pros diving has on younger players. He is also concerned that with the World Cup finals in Brazil next year, the competition will be blighted by play acting and diving because the culture of cheating is prevalent.  

“It gives the kids the wrong impression,” he said. “If they see stars like Lionel Messi, Ashley Young and Wayne Rooney doing it, they are going to want to do it, too.  

“The refs need to get in the right position, too, to be able to make a better call.” 

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Official Dwayne Ebanks is concerned about young footballers emulating professionals who take dives during matches while trying to draw penalties for opposing players. – PHOTO: RON SHILLINGFORD

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Ashley Young’s dive has ignited the issue again. – PHOTO: AP
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