Sean Dyche has made a desperate call for a fresh clampdown on diving for the sake of “millions of children” watching the game. Dyche was so incensed with what he saw as some “blatant dives” from Arsenal players at the Emirates this afternoon that he spoke at great length about his personal crusade against diving, and why he thinks he is a lone voice on this particular topic.
While Dyche did not want to name the Arsenal players involved, there were incidents with Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi in which the Burnley bench thought that Arsenal players had gone down too easily. These, along with Burnley’s continued failure to be awarded a penalty kick, prompted a passionate diatribe from Dyche about diving in football. Taking him all they specifics of this afternoon, to the broader responsibility of the Premier League, the Football Association and the PGMOL to address it.
“There were two dives”, Dyche said. “No-one seems to want to do anything about diving in the game apart from me. I am still amazed by it. Nothing will happen retrospectively. No-one seems to want to do anything about it, it just goes away. I'm absolutely amazed at where it's at at the moment. And nobody is bothered.”
Dyche was angry that what he sees as the tactic approval of diving is betraying “millions of children” who watch Premier League football and who will now think that diving is ok. “I’m a father, I’ve got a child who plays football and I see children copying professionals diving all over the place. That cannot be right.”
“Kids everywhere are watching, all copying it. No-one seems to care about it. Millions of children, millions of children. You wouldn't ruffle your kids' hair if they come home after school and cheated in a maths' test. They cheat at a game of football and it's okay. It's almost like 'Well done. We got away with that one.'”
Dyche blamed two specific foreign players, Jurgen Klinsmann at Tottenham in the 1990s and Didier Drogba at Chelsea in the 2000s, for introducing diving to English football, which quickly became normalised. “When you think about our lifetimes, the first two that was absolutely alarming in the view of the public – and they were fantastic players so let's clear that up for a start – were Jurgen Klinsmann and Didier Drogba. When they came over and started diving it was: 'We can't have this.' It was on Match of the Day every week. It was everywhere. It slowly morphed into our culture here. Now, it's every week and no-one hardly mentions it. They go: 'Oh, we don't want to see that, do we?' And then they move onto the next match and the next clip.”
This is why Dyche sees himself as fighting a lonely battle, the only man willing to speak the truth on this topic, the only light in the darkness. “I'm the only manager who talks about this. So let's take it out of the managers' hands because I'm the only one who talks about it.”
Ultimately Dyche thinks this is too big a topic for even individual referees to fix, it needs to be fixed at the very highest levels of the game, with bans that would see it “evaporate” out of the game. “The powers-that-be have to get their heads together,” Dyche said. “The Premier League, the FA, the PGMOL, they've all got to get their heads together because it's gone too far. It’s a bigger issue than individuals, it’s about the whole game. The whole game needs to have a look at itself. It was incredibly bad in the World Cup.”
“There's hundreds of millions of pounds at stake in this game and we have got all kinds of gadgets to view these things and hopefully VAR will make a difference, but I don't think it will make a radical difference. I'm talking about the morality of the game.”
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