Some players could be left to sweat after the Football Association voted in favour of introducing retrospective bans for players who dive or feign injury from next season.
From Rivaldo’s theatrical grasp of the wrong part of his anatomy, to Gordon Watson’s ludicrously delayed topple in the Leeds box, the game has seen it all.
Here we pick out some of the more extreme examples of simulation which would be ripe for punishment under the FA’s new rules:
RIVALDO (Brazil, 2002)
The Barcelona star collapsed clutching his face late in his country’s World Cup clash with Turkey in 2002 – despite Turkey’s Hakan Unsal having kicked the ball at his leg while he was waiting to take a corner. FIFA fined a resolutely non-contrite Rivaldo a trifling £5,180, but decided not to suspend him.
He said: “I’m not sorry about anything. Obviously the ball didn’t hit me in the face, but I was still the victim.”
SLAVEN BILIC (Croatia, 1998)
Bilic denied France hero Laurent Blanc the chance to play in his home World Cup final after his dramatic response to a bit of shirt-tugging in their last four clash. Late in the game, Bilic went down holding his face, prompting the Spanish referee to issue Blanc the only red card of his career.
Replays showed contact was dubious. Years later Bilic insisted: “It wasn’t like Mike Tyson, but I was struck. I panicked and collapsed.”
GORDON WATSON (Sheffield Wednesday, 1992)
Leeds were cruising to victory at Hillsborough when Chris Whyte went to sweep the ball away from Watson in the box and the Owls star hesitated, had a long think, then flipped to the ground, winning a penalty from which Wednesday would briefly reduce the deficit.
Watson was held up to ridicule, and admitted much later: “It’s the most disgraceful dive you’ll ever see. It was the fact I took a step before going down. I over-egged it.”
KYLE LAFFERTY (Rangers, 2009)
When Lafferty and Aberdeen’s Charlie Mulgrew squared up on the touchline during their Scottish Premier League clash in 2009, the Rangers man went down as if he had been Glasgow-kissed – not, as replays would clearly show – air-kissed.
Mulgrew was sent off, but such was the resulting furore that Lafferty was fined and reprimanded by his club, forced to issue a fulsome apology, and banned for two matches by the SFA.
SERGIO BUSQUETS (Barcelona, 2010)
Busquets got Inter Milan’s Thiago Motta sent off less than half an hour into their Champions League semi-final clash at the Nou Camp when he feigned injury after a so-called “clash” with the Italian. Replays showed Thiago’s fingers had barely tickled the Barcelona man’s chin.
An incensed Motta railed: “He always does it. I have seen it on TV and he is holding his face and then looking at the referee – it is terrible behaviour.”
*From Press Association
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