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Premier League Referees Playing With Fire By Awarding Yellows For Diving

epl referees Premier League Referees Playing With Fire By Awarding Yellows For Diving

The referees in the Premier League now seem intent on trying to stamp diving out of the game based on the matches this weekend. The obvious examples were Fernando Torres and Antonio Valencia both being shown a yellow card for alleged dives in the Chelsea-Manchester United match, but Swansea’s Angel Rangel was also shown a card of the same color in the match against Manchester City.

I’m all for referees trying to stamp out diving, but simulation should only be punished with a yellow card when it’s a blatant dive (a la Ashley Young against Aston Villa last season). In the case of Torres, Valencia and Rangel, none of the three footballers should have received a yellow card for what the referee deemed a dive. In these three examples, referees Mark Clattenburg and Martin Atkinson went completely overboard with their decisions.

I don’t believe Torres dived. Jonny Evans kicked his shin, and Torres fell forward. With Valencia, it looked like he fell after making contact with John Obi Mikel. And in the case of Rangel, he got body-checked by the Manchester City defender when running toward the penalty box.

If it’s a debatable dive, I don’t believe the referees should be awarding a yellow card. Otherwise, if they do, the number of yellow cards referees will be awarding each match will quickly escalate. The game moves so quickly that the chance of referees correctly punishing simulation are few and far between. Unless, of course, it’s an absolutely blatant dive.

Let’s hope the Professional Game Match Officials Board quickly communicates to their referees (especially Clattenberg and Atkinson) that they need to simmer down.

Two more points I want to raise regarding referee decisions this weekend focus on offside decisions and tackling. First, with the contentious offside calls this weekend – especially in the Everton-Liverpool and Chelsea-Manchester United matches — I don’t blame the referees. Only with slo-mo replays from different angles were we, the viewers, able to pinpoint the poor decisions made by referees in both matches. Seen with the naked eye, it’s almost impossible to get decisions correct unless referees have access to the same video replay technology that we, the TV viewers, do.

Second, Jonjo Shelvey this past week discussed how soccer has turned into a non-contact sport, and he’s absolutely correct. Most tackles, even if they’re 50/50, seem to punished with a free kick these days. In the Manchester City-Swansea game on Saturday, referee Martin Atkinson seemed insistent on blowing his whistle at almost every mere point of contact between players, which completely slowed down the ebb and flow of the game and made it, at points, frustrating to watch. That’s just one example out of dozens of matches. But the point is that the game has changed so much just in the last few years as referees (often pressured by managers) are trying to crack down on aggressive contact.

In the example of this weekend’s matches, you could go through most of the cards that were issued and find that they were harshly given based on how the game used to be refereed. Referees are far more likely to flash a yellow card these days than to simply award just a free kick.

To me, referees are becoming too involved in matches and are, in my opinion, overstepping their boundary. They should consistently let the game play on more, awarding fewer yellow and red cards, and playing a lesser role. When a yellow card or red card is truly necessary, then they need to award it.

But instead, we have the main talking point from the Chelsea-Manchester United match being Mark Clattenberg and the decisions he got right and wrong, instead of the game itself. The ref ruined was a very open and exciting match to watch.

This entry was posted in Chelsea, Leagues: EPL, Manchester City, Manchester United, Swansea City. Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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51 Responses to Premier League Referees Playing With Fire By Awarding Yellows For Diving

  1. musty hadi says:

    Its just simple,, the referees are favoring man utd.. Das all

    • Big Turch says:

      Thank you mark clattenburg! If every game were reffed like this, players would use all their balance and strength to stay on their feet, and americans might actually love this game. Diving must be stopped!

  2. ola says:

    This refree is not a qualified refree.. He made too much wrong decisions which supposely spoilt the night for chelsea.

  3. Andrei says:

    I think that both offside calls were relatively simple after all we are talking about supposedly well trained EPL officials. Suarez call wasn’t even remotely close. Hernandez was clearly coming from behind the goal line so it was easy to see that he was the last player. This is a handbook situation. And had he stayed behind the goal line to avoid offside and then come back to score it would have been a bookable offense. Even in lower leagues officials are instructed to watch for situations like that.

  4. bluemoon70 says:

    I don’t know but it just seems that simulation cards should almost be a separate category. Like in basketball you have personal fouls and technical fouls. I have an issue with a player getting a second yellow for simulation when his first card was not for a simulation offense as in Torres case. Just seems harsh to get red carded for simulation when, technically, it was his first warning for that particular offense.

  5. Abdul says:

    Infact,chelsea played 9 against 12 players,the refree was also part of man/u squard. Last seasson webb, i think man/u belongs to one cacous. They re RED DEVIL for sure.

  6. Why? says:

    The young one ala villa was given as a penalty surely the ref won’t book as he’s been cheated. They should look after the fact and hand a two match ban. The ref who have been mistaken cannot possibly give Chelsea back the ten men can he so he should be safe in the knowledge that punish me will be dish out later

  7. Dust says:

    The Torres yellow was absolutely correct, first of all the contact was minimal, a graze, no way a player of that build and power, a professional athlete, no way he would be brought down by that. Second he went down holding his shin and fained injury.

    This WAS a deliberate attempt to get a player sent off. So if following the law and clattenberg had believed the fain, with Evans being the last man between him and the keeper denying Torres a goal scoring opportunity he would have had to send him off like he did ivanovoc.

    So, it’s ok for a player to get another sent off but not for a ref to deem that unacceptable and give a yellow card for it?

    Absolute rubbish.. Clattenberg had no choice.

    Infact if anything the amount of deliberate hack tackles committed by Ramirez should have seen him off too!

    Everyone moans about diving so when the league decides to take action to try and stamp it out everyone moans about that…. It is a joke.

    The players that try to deceive refs should be to blame and yes that includes bale IF he is trying to deceive the ref.

    Players have a responsibility, they are strong athletes that are trained how to remain upright through a tackle with balance.

    What an over reaction…. The refs do get decisions wrong, like the offside goals this weekends games but when it comes to diving and deceiving officials I have to defend them. Get this diving rubbish out of the game a few more high profile no nonsense decisions like that and perhaps players will think twice.

    Also Torres abuse of the 4th official was completely uncalled for and shows the petulant pampered nature of these players at times.

    Infact the greif that refs take every game from players is unacceptable.

    • Sacto Blues says:

      I’m not absolutely sure but isn’t play dead when Evans fouls Torres regardless if Torres is rolling around the ground ? I mean if Torres had a snapped ankle wouldn’t Clattenberg look like a c*nt giving Torres a red card ( a 2nd yellow ) ?

    • trickybrkn says:

      Sorry, it wasn’t that black and white, and as a referee you don’t second yellow card for it for sure. Clattenburg has had a horrid season so far… it seems every match he officiates he loses control of, or interjects himself. He did the WHU QPR match a few weeks back, and issued 9 yellow cards to West Ham… most for ticky tack fouls or time wasting. He got it first from Hughes for some missed calls, then carded everything. He lost control of the game, every player on the pitch was frustrated by the referee. He is a very frustrating referee and I hope they keep him as a line judge for a fewmonths to collect himself.

  8. The referees of English always mafias

  9. BA14 says:

    Their is no way Clattenburg could tell if Torres dove or not. He was directly behind him the play. Just awful officiating. You can’t call what you don’t see.

    • dust says:

      You are wrong, look at this clip, from the refs angle behind it looks like torres dives, you can only see the graze and slight touch from the side view, so from Clattenburg’s view it look like a dive, Plus its the fained injury/impact part, the over exaggeration of contact that gets the second yellow.

      http://youtu.be/RLvHCVqHe5U

      • Andrei says:

        I agree it was a tough judgement call for the ref and that is why things like this are better left for post game FA review. However technically speaking there was contact so it was a foul. The ref got that call wrong. From the side view Torres was clipped and went down because of the contact. He didn’t make any ‘diving moves’ nor he started going down before the contact.

        • dust says:

          contact by itself does not mean its a foul, and he absolutely did simulate. and again, he did fain injury.

          • Vadim says:

            I should play more often, then you will know not to judge other’s injuries. Every collision or “glaze” can end your career regardless of your build, particularly playing 3 games in 10 days.

            Diving is ugly, but yellow cards for diving are wrong half of the time as far as I can see. They need to penalize for obvious dives based on after game video reviews.

          • Why? says:

            Contact is just a factor though isn’t it? It’s all well and good you showing a rule to any one here but the defender wildly swings his foot across Torres missing the ball. That in itself is enough to give the foul without contact. The contact you rely it seems in every post is irrelevant the player missed the ball and swept the attacker, clear as day foul!

      • BA14 says:

        That’s the angle I am referring to, you can’t tell unless you have x-ray vision.

  10. GoodFriday says:

    Is obvious that the Ref favour Man U against Chelsea because Torres card is not right and beside Man U third goal is offside.

    • kuks says:

      If ref had favoured United, Torres shouldnt even be on the pitch- he should have received a red card for his tackle on Cleverly much earlier. Instead he just got a yellow.

      And what about all those handballs terry did when Jose was the manager- all those missed calls then. It comes around one way or the other.

  11. Popoola kola says:

    Man U are always favoured,the Torres second yellow is a flop,Man U third goal is fake.Well,they will soon fade away like Cameroun who always get favoured becos of Issa Hayatu

  12. dust says:

    Chelsea making a complaint about the ref’s language, is a joke. Bitter Bitter Bitter.

    This is a poor move on behalf of Chelsea, I hope all officials at their games also dole out punishment for abusive language they get given by chelsea players.

    after the terry incident there was so much talk that the content of the anton terry exchange irrespective of the racist remarks with all pundits saying it was unacceptable, and then at the same time said cussing was part of the game. blah blah blah..

    Refs are constantly under a barrage of abuse form players after decisions, if clattenburg told a chelsea player to F*** off in response to abusive language then what the problem? should they just be doormats?

    This is sour grapes on their behalf. Perhaps they will start responding to abuse from players like the rugby refs do yellow and red cards

    • Sacto Blues says:

      So racist slurs against Chelsea players is ok but not against anyone else ? if this was Spurs you would be up in arms. Where’s your righteous anger? where’s Fogette our moral compass ?

  13. Mufc77 says:

    I thought agent Mark had a rather good game myself, other than the missed call in not sending of the ladyboy earlier for his horrible tackle on cleverly he made all the right calls

  14. Dust says:

    I also don’t remember the ref having anything to do united scoring 2 goals in 15 minutes at the beginning of the game at the bridge. What about hazard not heading the ball for an easy goal… How many missed chances were there? How many times have Chelsea got the rub? How many Chelsea goals have been scored that were offside?

    • Andrei says:

      What you are doing is just rationalizing the bad calls the referees made in the second half…

      • The Gaffer says:

        …Plus he’s a Tottenham Hotspur supporter talking about Chelsea. No offense, but that would be like me writing about Cardiff City. I can’t be objective about one of my most hated rivals.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

        • dust says:

          i have zero reason to support Manchester United over chelsea what so ever, especially considering some of the calls Man Utd have gotten at OT against us over the years…zero reason what so ever.

          As for rationalizing, which is defined as the following

          Rationalize “attempt to explain or justify (one’s own or another’s behavior or attitude) with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate: she couldn’t rationalize her urge to return to the cottage.”

          My anti cheating and diving attitude and seeing the game as a neutral or referee is exactly what is needed when Man Utd fans and chelsea fans are to involved emotionally. as they are irrationally trying to justify clattenburg or blame the entire loss on him which is rubbish.

          Is what Im saying incorrect? the ref had no negative influence on the game from a Chelsea perspective, like I saif if anything Torres should have been sent off inthe first half for his 45 minute challenge.

          If I was blinkered and unable to be objective then I would say Freezal should stay no1 and he is teh best we have, that BAE is fabulous and the best LB option and that defoe is a scorring god. But I don’t. quite the opposite.

          I can be defensive of aspects of Spurs and its manager, but I also said that Harry should go way before anyone else, Its all been posted on this site for people to read.

          like I said, when it comes to cheating and diving I am fine with a tough stance including on Spurs players, not that they are perfect by any means in other aspects. Its too easy and doesnt require much thought to blame the refs for the bad result today, there were AMPLE chances for chelsea to win the game that they missed

          • dust says:

            *clattenburg had zero negative effect in the 1st half in-fact he kept Torres on the field.

          • Andrei says:

            First, what separated two teams today was the goal Hernandez scored as you admitted yourself from offside. Denying that this call ultimately influenced the result by saying that “there were AMPLE chances for Chelsea to win the game that they missed” is rationalizing.
            Secondly, using argument that “many Chelsea goals have been scored that were offside” is rationalizing. Whatever officiating calls that benefited Chelsea in the past have no bearing in deciding if referees were right or wrong in today’s game.
            Thirdly, if you are convinced that sending Torres off was the correct call you don’t need “if anything Torres should have been sent off in he first half for his 45 minute challenge” argument to justify it. Again, it is rationalizing.

          • dust says:

            Andrei,

            I made the “Torres should have been sent of in the first half” comment to address the rubbish being said that clattenbeg was anti chelsea, which is completely false.

            Stan Collymore is on Talksport right now saying the exact same thing i posted last night. using his experience as a player who was hacked at but still scored.

            As I said the in the post, the goal should NOT have stood, it was offside, but the amount of chances chelsea had that they didn’t put away would have won it. the ref is being used as a scapegoat for a poor first half performance that put them on the back foot.

            With knee jerk & biased opinions that try to justify the cheating of Torres and suarez, making a rukas over what was the right decision by clettenburg means that refs will not want to make those calls, so players will continue to cheat and go down for minimal contact,

            I played and I now coach, and A foul IS not just contact, read the rules, play the game but in no way shape or form should Torres have gone down. he overhit the ball and couldn’t get to it in time.

            But I guess you would also think that Torres challenge in the first half wasn’t a red, chelsea do not wrong, even tho they have played with 9 men more times than all but 1 team.

            if you watch or have access to sky sports you can see it in HD and it IS a dive. I guess we will have to agree to disagree, but feel free to continue with blinkers on.

  15. Dust says:

    I didn’t see the first half of man utd v cfc as I was watching the spurs game. Torres could easily been sent of for that challenge on cleverly in the 45 minute. Ridiculously dangerous challenge. No one from Chelsea questioning that challenge or decision.

  16. Guy says:

    Can’t agree with you on this one, Gaffer. A few more yellows for diving and I think we would see an amazing resurgence of balance and strength in many players, so there would actually be fewer yellows, not more.

    As for the Torres dive, in Clattenburg’s eyes it obviously wasn’t “debatable”. And therein lies the whole problem.

    Ref sees one thing, we see another and even all of us with the benefit of slo-mo don’t agree. So, it has to be left up to the refs in real time. Sometimes they will err, but do we want diving stamped out or not? Either they start showing more cards for diving or we have to shut up and accept it as “gamesmanship”…and it continues to be the black eye that makes soccer a laughingstock to many.

  17. mark says:

    Clattenburg has bigger problems as he has been accused of derogatory comments towards two Chelsea players. We may never see him officiate again.

    • dust says:

      IF it is true then he will be dealt with, lets just hope that chelsea would ask for just a 4 game ban.

    • Mufc77 says:

      Was it derogatory language or just some sort of swearing? Did he swear directly at a Chelsea player or use a swear word in another way.

      Maybe he was just asking Ramirez and Mata if they just swore at him just like JT was asking Anton Ferdinand if he thought he had called him a “black @&$%”.

      Either way I’m sure agent clattenbursgs colleagues will do the right thing in Chelsea up coming game and issue some red cards on his behalf for every Chelsea player who they hear swearing on the pitch. Not a good idea to piss off the refs if you ask me

    • Wilbur Watson says:

      Of course he will referee again. Chelsea are a bunch of whiners and one can be pretty sure that this is a storm in a teacup

  18. dust says:

    its not like Torres is above rebuke, it is just as plausible for me to say that Torres deliberately tried to get Evans sent of in that incident to even the sides up after ivanovic was sent off as it is for anyone not the ref on the day to say it wasn’t debatable that it was a foul.

  19. PaulF says:

    @Gaffer
    While The referee today got a few decisions wrong with the UTD-Chelsea match, that should stop referees from penalizing fouls with Yellow cards.
    The whole point of letting players “play” more is asinine. Did you know that More red cards and yellow cards are given out in the SPANISH LIGA than the Premier League?? And LA LIGA’s football is better than that of premier leagues.

  20. RJ says:

    Players need to be allowed to go to ground to avoid injury. The cards should be handed out when a player stays down trying to simulate an injury.

  21. Wilbur Watson says:

    If you have ever played football you will know that unless you are absolutely clattered by a defender or you are clipped from behind so your legs tangle, you do not fall immediately but instead after several stumbling steps. If the goal is to stop players diving it should be a yellow card for any player who falls without attempting to keep their balance. Viewed in that light Torres’ fall was a clear case of embellishment particularly as he had clear lost control of the ball

  22. IanCransonsKnees says:

    None of them try to stay on their feet anymore which makes it twice as difficult for the ref. They’re fanned if they do canned if they don’t. Personally I hope they stick to it and the cheating pricks keep getting sent off. I’d expect no less if one of the players I supported did it. The furore comes though because it’s the fawned over top 4 who are the proponents most guilty of it but shouldn’t need to given their advantages in terms of skill.

  23. Why? says:

    They (refs) already know that a dive must be a booking, but it must clearly be a dive they must be sure. Clatenburg could not of been 100% as the ball went straight through the defender and their was actually contact with the attacker therefore he couldnt have been sure what he had seen. It is totally irrelevant how much contact as nobody can judge what is enough to cause a player to stumble at pace. The fact that the contact was minimal makes no difference at all it was a foul for Chelsea. The funny thing is the real dives that are committed have been let go Scott free take Young or Suarez last year both got away with them they even got free kicks or penalties for them repeatedly in different games!

    Referees know which players do this a lot, so you’ think they’d be more sceptical with those players. If they are found to dive and to have given their team an advantage by doing so they should be banned so to disadvantage their team after the fact, the do it with tackles already. if they want to stop it they must do this. Certain teams have more of these than others but funny enough it’s those teams that benefit month after month with these decisions more than the others, so it does seem worth it to cheat well if you are certain teams. Their own managers even protect them to the hilt. All that will happen in those games is refs will take the easy option with certain teams while punishing others. This cannot continue as it is getting so bad that people are more than noticing it easily. Video evidence should be used full stop it does not ruin the game at all but bad mistakes like yesterday really do. These thing do not even themselves out either that’s a load of bollax

    People go down easily always have but this cheating is another story. I really think that some clear events of cheating from last year that went unpunished and gave teams wins or the edge which showed that cheating really does pay . We all know there are refs that always seem to make mistakes for certain teams repeatedly . It shouldn’t be that way but the power of some seems to run deep with refs being kept away from teams if the manager doesn’t like how he refs their game.
    Cheating only pays for some thats currently is and has been for some time a fact, there should be no hierarchy levels for teams but there is, another fact.

    Any way rant over, a good result for City with this supposed awful defence looking better by the week they now have the joint third best defence in the league, how quick things change, now they just need the Strikers to get a bit more form and…. Boooom!

    • IanCransonsKnees says:

      And this it what the masses are being hoodwinked into believing. It’s a pussy’s game nowadays.

      • Why? says:

        Ian It’s not really to do with contact though is it? Thats just another nail. it’s surely it more to do with the wild swing without the ball being there. The defender was late clearly at any speed, Torres was to fast.

    • Why? says:

      So let me get this straight, you are allowed to swing your leg completely after the ball has gone past you and catch the player who played the ball past you and for some reasson you get a yellow, this of course isn’t a foul is it??? Get real!

      Oh and where in the rules does it say that being caught after a very late challenge should be a yellow to the receiver? I post the Rule and you can point it out eh?

      Cautionable offences

      A player is cautioned and shown the yellow card if he commits any of the following seven offences:

      unsporting behaviour
      dissent by word or action
      persistent infringement of the Laws of the Game
      delaying the restart of play
      failure to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick, free kick or throw-in
      entering or re-entering the field of play without the referee’s permission
      deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee’s permission

      Well go figure it doesn’t.

      Trust you! Any player that late into a challenge is a giving a free kick, he didn’t go for the ball as it wasn’t there his late challenge which you know it was is a FOUL and a yellow for reckless play. If he didn’t swing his leg across Torres you’d have a point but he did.

    • Why? says:

      I just seen ‘contact is not a foul’ reckless contact certainly is you cannot swing a leg through a player catch the player how ever soft with the ball 6 ft away and expect him to be booked surely, think about what you’re saying man!

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