Following earlier coverage on Sports Shorts about the introduction of the offence of “Successful Deception of a Match Referee” and details of the first charge, subsequently upheld by way of a two match ban, against Carlisle United’s Shaun Miller, the Premier League has its first ‘diving’ charge.
The recipient is Everton’s Oumar Niasse. An FA statement read:
“It is alleged [Niasse] committed an act of simulation which led to a penalty being awarded in the fifth minute of the game.”
Niasse went down under a challenge from Scott Dann in the Crystal Palace box in the 5th minute of the match leading to teammate Leighton Baines scoring an equaliser (to James McArthur’s goal after 51 seconds, the fastest Premier League goal this season) from the penalty spot.
The match ended in a 2-2 draw with Niasse himself, who was also booked in the 36th minute, scoring the equaliser in stoppage time at the end of the first half.
As previously reported, incidents which suggest a match official has been deceived by an act of simulation are referred to a panel consisting of one ex-match official, one ex-manager and one ex-player.
On Match of the Day on Saturday night two ex-players, Phil Neville and Alan Shearer, agreed that Niasse had dived. Neville said: “It was a dive. It was 100% a dive. There’s a bit of contact but he goes down trying to win the penalty. It’s a soft penalty.” Former England captain Alan Shearer agreed: “I think it is a clear dive and he should be punished.”
Former referee Dermot Gallagher was of a similar opinion suggesting that no foul was committed by Palace’s Dann whilst at the same time defending referee Anthony Taylor’s decision to award the spot kick.
Their fellow ex-professionals on the formal panel appear to have concurred with their unanimous agreement being required before the FA can bring a charge.
Niasse has until 6pm this evening (Tuesday) to decide whether to accept the two match suspension or appeal.
Whilst Crystal Palace fans will no doubt be pleased to see Niasse charged, they would, given their current predicament, without question prefer to have an extra two points come 13 May next year.
If Niasse’s charge is upheld and Palace were to miss out on survival by two or less points, will the consequences of this decision be revisited? Only time will tell.