COMMENT: Divers – there is just no place for them in the A-League

The A-League and Football Federation Australia have made it clear that diving and simulation has no part in the game.

Yesterday’s decisions to impose two-match bans on players who easily went to ground in the penalty area in A-League matches on the weekend indicates that the competition has taken a strong stance on those who conjure acts to try and con the referee.

The first instance occurred in Saturday’s Sydney FC versus Central Coast Mariners fixture when the score was 1-0 the way of the Sky Blues.

Central Coast’s Argentine import Patricio Perez made the most of his clash with Sydney keeper Liam Reddy who had advanced to the top of the six-yard box in an attempt to cover the ball before any attacking player got to it. Perez saw the hands of the gloveman and went to ground, prompting referee Matthew Breeze to award a penalty and show a straight red card to Reddy.

Perez stepped up to the spot and converted – the goal eventually denying Sydney maximum points. Yesterday, Reddy’s red card was rescinded.

In the second instance, Perth Glory debutant Michael Baird was given the same fate as Perez when he was found guilty of simulating in the 92nd minute of his side’s 2-2 draw with Melbourne Heart.

The 27-year old striker felt what can only be described as minimal contact from Heart first-gamer Kliment Taseski and went down conning referee Kurt Ams, who was also on debut, to make a decision that cost the new A-League club their first win.

The independent Match Review Panel reviewed both incidents and imposed suspensions on both Perez and Baird which shows that any player who wants to make something out of nothing in an attempt to dupe the officials will be punished accordingly.

The major problem, however, is that the penalties awarded denied two teams vital victories and even though there were punishments dished out, the two teams that stayed away from committing the ‘crimes’ were also penalised.