When Norwich City hosted Stoke City in a lower-table English Premier League clash Saturday, the match could have taken on many themes—presumably anything from physicality to robot dances to scrappy football.
But after Norwich won 1-0, the topic of the day was diving.
It all stemmed from Norwich's winner—an excellently taken header by Bradley Johnson.
The goal itself—Johnson rose to meet a free kick and at full stretch flicked the ball into the top corner of the net with the back of his head—bore little controversy.
The controversy came from the circumstances leading up to the free kick. Referee Andre Marriner awarded it after ruling that Andy Wilkinson had fouled Norwich's Robert Snodgrass. Wilkinson went into the book, but replays showed little contact on the play.
Earlier in the match, Stoke's Charlie Adam had been booked for what Marriner judged a dive in midfield. Stoke manager Tony Pulis raged about both decisions.
Said Pulis (per The Independent):
I just think the whole diving situation should be taken out of the hands of referees entirely. We are piling pressure on the referees and I think it should be a retrospective thing now, with a panel sitting on a Monday to look at incidents that the referee wants them to look at again.
The referee should only make a decision if he is 110 per cent sure that a player has cheated. Otherwise a panel should decide.
Pulis' idea is an interesting one, but it raises a question. Imagine if a player had received a yellow card during the normal run of play and then retroactively received another for diving. Should he receive a red card as well for his second yellow?
Another question: How would the panel determine when a player has dived?
Highlights from the Norwich-Stoke match can be seen here. The Adam incident is around the 1:10 mark, and the Snodgrass incident follows around 2:00. See for yourself and then decide who's right.
Then imagine dishing out yellow cards based on the video evidence. It's a difficult task, no?
Simulation continues to be a hot topic in football right now, but the authorities can't come up with a consensus idea to combat it. So what do you say, readers?
Vote in the poll and let us know what you think in the comments below.