The Crystal Palace midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi, who was at the centre of the Ashley Young diving controversy at the weekend, has joined Manchester United’s manager, David Moyes, in calling on the Football Association to punish simulation retrospectively.
The South African international was dismissed on Saturday after referee Jon Moss ruled he had denied Young a clear goalscoring opportunity. Young had also been booked for diving earlier in the match after he stuck his leg into Dikgacoi and was publicly admonished by Moyes, with the United manager stating on Monday that he would welcome the introduction of video evidence to clamp down on the practice.
Speaking to The Independent, Dikgacoi welcomed that stance and admitted that Moss had been put in an impossible position. “I agree there should be a chance to take some action [afterwards],” he said. “This has created a bad vibe after the game because it is making things difficult for the referee. I think he knew that if he had said Young dived then it would have meant a second yellow card and he would have been sent off. It was a hard position for him to be put in.
“I saw him [Young] afterwards but I wasn’t going to go and say anything,” Dikgacoi added. “He was going down too easily during the game and I think everyone knew it. It’s a shame because it was a big day for us going to Old Trafford and now everyone will only remember that incident.”
Moyes traditionally adopted a hard line against divers while at Everton and his admission at the press conference ahead of Tuesday evening’s Champions League meeting with Bayer Leverkusen that he had already spoken privately with Young shows how seriously he views the issue. “I have said for many years we should have retrospective video action against diving,” he said. “That would help referees no end. My views haven’t changed from when I was at Everton. However, we can make up all the punishments we like but the current rules are there and they are the ones the referees have to abide by. The referee did what he had to do and gave him [Young] what punishment he could.”
The Palace chairman, Steve Parish, also argued that the punishment for diving should be a red card. “If preventing a goalscoring chance is a red, then trying to create one by cheating should be a straight red also,” he said. “Ashley Young has a yellow card and three points. We have no points and one less player to pick from for the next game.”
United have always taken a hard line on simulation. Sir Alex Ferguson criticised Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo and Young for diving while Moyes’ approach has been similar. However, Jaap Stam said in his autobiography that Ferguson encouraged his attackers to go down if they received any kind of touch in the area.
United’s Rio Ferdinand added on Monday that it would be pointless the FA taking action against diving if that was not matched across Europe. “It has to be across the board,” he said. “If we are being told we can’t dive in our league, we will be coming up against players in other countries who simulate. We don’t want people to feel they can con the referee.”