Diouf's 'penalty' prompts calls for action over diving

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Players and managers were urged yesterday to help referees stamp out diving in football. The call follows Monday night's incident in which the Bolton Wanderers striker El Hadji Diouf appeared to dive over the Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper, Brad Friedel, to earn a penalty. The incident led to the only goal of the Premiership match at Ewood Park.

Players and managers were urged yesterday to help referees stamp out diving in football. The call follows Monday night's incident in which the Bolton Wanderers striker El Hadji Diouf appeared to dive over the Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper, Brad Friedel, to earn a penalty. The incident led to the only goal of the Premiership match at Ewood Park.

Frank Clark, the vice-chairman of the League Managers Association, believes managers should always instruct their players to follow the rules of the game. "The manager has a responsibility, as do the Professional Footballers' Association. Both groups have come out and have spoken about the problem, but it's very difficult because they cannot do anything when the players are on the pitch," Clark said yesterday.

"Every manager wants his players to act in the right way; in the days of Brian Clough or even in my days as a manager it wasn't an issue. It happened perhaps once every 10 seasons.

"The manager has to accept responsibility. I'm sure they speak to players and try to do something about it, but there will still be incidents on the pitch they cannot do anything about."

The Bolton manager, Sam Allardyce, refused to condemn Diouf after Monday night's victory - pointing to decisions where his team had not been awarded a penalty. He asked: "Who doesn't do it?"

Allardyce went on: "It's something he [Diouf] has obviously been doing all his life, like many players do."

There were suggestions last night that the Football Association would not be taking action against the Senegal international, despite his manager implying that Diouf exaggerated any contact.

Gordon Taylor, the PFA chief executive, believes the onus is on players to set an example and cut out diving. "All members have a duty to show respect to the referee, not to make his job more difficult and not to exaggerate contact or no contact at all in order to get the opposition booked or sent off," Taylor said.

Blackburn's new £3m signing, Robbie Savage, who made his debut against Bolton, said the onus should be on the referee to make the right decision. "All the boys said it wasn't a penalty and that Brad was nowhere near him. But penalties get given and some you get, some you don't. You've just got to hope they even themselves out over the course of the season," Savage said.

"A lot of players will go down in the box if there's any contact so I'm not blaming him for that. But if the referee has a good view then he has a decision to make. He either gives the penalty or sends you off for diving and he obviously decided to give the penalty in this instance."

Elsewhere, Millwall officials said yesterday that they had "received no [other] allegations" of racist abuse after Paul Ince had accused Lions fans of taunting his Wolverhampton team-mate Seol Ki-Hyeon.

Ince said "disgraceful" taunts were aimed at the South Korea international during Wolves' 2-1 win at The Den on Saturday. But Millwall have found nothing so offensive after studying videos of the match. A club spokesman said: "We have made preliminary enquiries and have not found evidence of racist abuse directed at Seol.

"However, if Paul Ince has specific information relating to anything he saw or heard we will, of course, treat this seriously and investigate further. We have, though, received no allegations from anyone else relating to racist abuse directed at Seol or any other player."

Seol scored a last-minute winner for Glenn Hoddle's side, and Ince had said: "It was ironic for Seol to get us the winner as some of their fans were a disgrace and some of the things they were shouting at him throughout the game I just couldn't repeat. We have worked so hard to eradicate this sort of thing from our game and to hear that, especially at Millwall who have done more than most clubs to stamp it out, is very disappointing. It was a real reminder of the bad days and I don't want to see that again."

Millwall confirmed that anyone discovered to have been using racial abuse at The Den would be banned instantly.

The club have worked hard to stamp out racism, and the programme for the match with Wolves instructed supporters not to use racist language and to report any they hear to police.

Late last year Millwall were charged by the FA in connection with racist abuse alleged to have been directed at the Liverpool defender Djimi Traoré in a Carling Cup match between the teams - a charge against which they have appealed.

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