At least one Premier League football club has been learning simulation, the Chaplain for Sport has revealed.
Mgr Vladimir Felzmann confirmed at least one club in England’s top flight, which he refused to name, has been teaching its youth team how to dive or feign injury without getting caught.
“Recently I heard from a Premier club chaplain that when he asked the 16 year old boys at the academy coming in for lunch what they had been doing that morning the answer ‘simulation’ sent shivers down his spine,” he said.
“A whole morning learning the magic of cheating without being caught! The vast majority of those lads will not end up playing professional football,” he added.
“The thought that they will be taking these cheating skills into commerce and business…sends shivers down my spine.”
Mgr Felzmann’s comments followed a Football Association (FA) vote in favour of retrospective bans for diving.
The new offence of ‘successful deception of a match official’ is based on a law already used in Scotland and was approved at the FA’s annual general meeting at Wembley on Thursday 18th May.
Incidents will be reviewed by a panel comprised of an ex-manager, ex-player and an ex-referee, and they watch the footage independently. If they are unanimous in believing a player deceived a match official, the sanction will be a two-match ban. This process is similar to the one already used for red-card offences which were missed at the time but caught on camera.
‘Although attempts to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled is a cautionable offence for unsporting behaviour, the fact that the act of simulation has succeeded in deceiving a match official and, therefore, led to a penalty and/or dismissal, justifies a more severe penalty which would act as a deterrent,’ the FA said in a statement. If a player admits to deceiving an official, or is found to have done so, any yellow or red card given to an opposing player, as a result can be rescinded.
Mgr Felzmann, who is also the CEO of the John Paul II Foundation for Sport, said that simulation will probably be dropped from the unnamed club’s academy curriculum.
“Players who have spent years playing in countries where there is no retrospective bans for players who dive will need to be clearly taught by their Coaching Team that cheating in the UK is not on,” he said. “I wonder whether there will be fewer penalties awarded come the end of next season.”
This weekend’s fixtures:
Saturday 27th May
FA Cup Final
Arsenal v Chelsea – 5.30pm
Picture: France coach Raymond Domenech accuses Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo of diving. (Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport).