Footballers cheating by diving should be more heavily punished than just a yellow card.
That’s the view of Alfredo Challenger, the top referee in the Cayman Islands who is now head of the referees’ department in the Caribbean Football Union.
The debate rages on after Manchester United’s Ashley Young was booked for trying to get a penalty against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Wayne Rooney went through a spell of doing it and was so castigated that he stopped. Liverpool’s Luis Suarez gained a reputation for diving, too, last season and Didier Drogba, who did it initially when he first joined Chelsea, has shown that tendency again at Galatasaray.
Even Gareth Bale was heavily criticized last season at Spurs a couple of times for the same thing.
Young did get a penalty after Kagisho Dikgacoi brought him down soon after. Dikgacoi was red-carded, with Palace furious at the decision and arguing the offense took place outside the area.
Robin van Persie’s controversial penalty helped United beat 10-man Palace, 2-0, and give new boss David Moyes his first league win in charge at Old Trafford. To his credit, Moyes declared after the match that he does not want his players diving.
Challenger disputes whether it was a penalty at all and maybe Young – who has become notorious for diving – should have been sent off for committing the offense twice.
“Ashley Young was diving on a regular basis last season,” Challenger said. “This is not new to him. I think it is time Moyes did the right thing and stopped him.
“In fact, we have so much footage of Young diving that we feature him in material for our referee courses.
“Against Palace, not only did he get the player sent off, but he got the referee confused and he had to consult his assistant.
“There was some sort of contact but not to the extent that deserved a penalty.”
Challenger is worried that aspiring footballers here copy their heroes. He has seen diving in youth games in Cayman and wants it stamped out.
“I’ve seen in Latin and Central American countries coaches actually teaching their players how to dive. I don’t want to see it in the Caribbean.”
There were a few incidents of diving at the recent CONCACAF Under-15 tournament in Grand Cayman. The chief offenders were the Honduras and El Salvador players.
“If the cheats get away with it they are walking off with smiles on their faces,” Challenger said. “Not only is it cheating, innocent players also get sent off.”