Key Premier League Refereeing Decisions: Gameweek 16

Referee Foy reacts after being hit in the face by a football during the English Premier League soccer match between Newcastle United and Swansea City at St James' Park in Newcastle

Diving has been and continues to be a problem in the modern game and it was again brought to the media’s attention this weekend after there were six diving incidents, all of which led to differing outcomes.

Chelsea’s 2-0 victory over Hull City was where the most debated incident occurred. Gary Cahill was already on a yellow card after a foul on Sone Aluko, which could easily have been a red. Cahill was fortunate that contact was made with his trailing leg, although it could be argued that it was still a dangerous tackle. The big debate came in the second half when Cahill dived in the penalty area when trying to beat two Hull players. It was a definite dive, there was no doubt about it. Chris Foy had already correctly booked Willian for the same offence after he looked for contact before falling to the ground and Diego Costa for a similar offence. So, Foy already made two correct decisions for players who were not on a yellow card, but he seemed to bottle it almost, for a player already on a yellow card. Where is the consistency? Steve Bruce was right to be angered by the decision, which could have changed the course of the game.

Phil Dowd awarded a penalty to Sunderland in their 1-1 draw with West Ham United. James Tomkins was penalised for a foul on Adam Johnson. There was minimal contact, if any and Johnson conned the referee by diving. He should have received a yellow card but instead, they scored from the resulting spot kick and took the lead. I personally think Dowd’s positioning was poor to make a decision from where he was. He was too far away and wasn’t in the best position to see a penalty or a dive, but it was quite clear on first viewing that it was an extravagant fall to the ground.

Sebastien Pogocnoli’s dive was even worse. He took a heavy touch, went past a Villa defender and just took the most outrageous dive I have seen in a long time. Mike Dean correctly produced the yellow card. Pocognoli even tapped Dean on the back, as if to say, “well done, you got me” which just shows how pathetic that dive was.

On the whole, diving needs to be clamped down on. The FA need to introduce bans for players who dive. It would soon stop, even if it is a one game ban that players would receive. The referees don’t help the current situation though. There are too many inconsistencies which mean that the players can try and win a penalty or a free kick near the box, knowing that they may get away with it.

Tom Huddlestone was already on a yellow card when he made an awful challenge on Felipe Luis. He stamped on his knee and knew hat he had done straight away. Chris Foy sent him off for a straight red card and rightly so. It could have been a serious injury.

The other red card from the weekend was for Kieran Richardson at The Hawthorns. He went into a challenge with Stephane Sessegnon with excessive force and therefore, had to be shown the red card.

Burnley came out on top winning 1-0 at home to Southampton, but had to survive a penalty for the away side after George Boyd fouled Ryan Bertrand inside the box. It was a clumsy foul and he’ll have to thank Tom Heaton for ensuring the scoreline remained 0-0, before Ashley Barnes scored a late winner to take The Clarets out of the bottom three.

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