One aspect of the panel for retrospective punishment of simulation that I am proud to be a part of this season is something I don’t think has had enough attention drawn to it.
Namely, why is the punishment so different for what is the same crime, depending on whether you are done for it on the day or not?
I know it’s a win/win ultimately, because you should end up getting done one way or another, but I think the fact that you only get a yellow during the match, compared to a two-match ban if referred to the panel, still might make it worth the gamble in the eyes of some players. I have actually queried this with the FA, because I’m puzzled at the discrepancy.
I’ll never forget an exchange I had with Manchester City’s David Silva, after one of his team-mates had dived to win a pen on the way to a 3-0 trouncing of Fulham, back in 2012 at the Etihad.
There he was, smiling at me for being so angry. “It’s part of the game,” I remember him saying. Well I begged to differ then and I beg to differ now. I had a right go at the player concerned and I feel every bit as justified doing that to this day!
Full marks must go to Chris Kavanagh for his positioning in catching out Rajiv van La Parra when he threw himself to the ground in the penalty area at Turf Moor at the weekend. I wish more plaudits could have gone Kavanagh’s way, because it takes a kind of skill to do it.
We don’t do anything like enough to highlight when referees get it spot-on, and when you stop and consider the consequences of the Dutch Huddersfield winger having got away with that dive, it would have been horrendous, and not just for Burnley and their fans being forced to swallow a home defeat, either.
It has struck me lately that the extent of the passion shown by Matt Lowton as he turned on van La Parra and gave him both barrels is something that seems to be uniting more and more players.
Think about it: if the number of cheats is in the minority, as I firmly believe to be the case, that leaves the majority…. and I know they despise what van La Parra and those who regularly get up to the same sort of thing was doing.
So I completely relate to the genuine disgust you feel when someone has just done that to you, and why shouldn’t you take it personally, when he could so easily have got you sent off?
While I can quite understand the passion that can also overtake a manager, I must say Tony Pulis, however good a job you think he’s done, is going too far when he talks about his side’s lack of penalty awards and who else should be punished for this and that. It’s not just him, by any means.
All of my experience tells me that nobody is biased on purpose, at least no referee I have ever come across, far and wide over many, many years. There is simply this inevitable element of human
nature to occasionally go with the bigger roar, the loudest appeal or the source of the most pressure.
It’s the way of the world, and it’s not deliberate, I could not be more sure of that. Tony, much as I admire what he gets out of his players, really has to accept it, move on from West Brom’s defeat to Arsenal and leave the excuses to others, I’m afraid.