Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes football’s rules are loaded in favour of divers.
Fergie said to Sky Sports:
“The problem has been there for quite a few years and it is obvious it has got worse,” said Ferguson. “The difficult thing is how do you stop it. The players diving have an advantage over the ones making a tackle. A lad going to make an honest tackle can receive a red card yet referees can only give the guy, who cheats to win a penalty or someone sent, off a yellow.“
Chelsea striker Didier Drogba was accused of diving at the weekend – prompting a fresh debate about the issue. United players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Ji-Sung Park and Ruud van Nistelrooy have also been accused of similar offences in the past.
“You could give someone two yellows I suppose but that is not going to have any impact. It is a discrepancy which is always going to cause controversy. The jostling emerged four or five years ago and it is getting worse all the time. It is taken from Italian football because when you see one of their games, it is like watching a wrestling match. You can’t get a free-kick or a corner kick without having an absolute melee. They are all doing it and it is an impossible task for a referee to sort it out. Even if you had six referees they would find it difficult.“
The Old Trafford boss is rarely a fan of referees but revealed he does have some sympathy for the officials trying to marshal the game. Chelsea wingers Shaun Wright-Phillips and Arjen Robben have also been accused of diving recently but Chelsea assistant manager Steve Clarke says stricter rules over tackling could be to blame.
Clarke said in the Sun:
“I think the problems with diving and cheating that everybody keeps talking about have developed because players are not allowed to make tackles. It’s less of a contact sport than before. So if there is contact, people are going down.”