Everton striker Oumar Niasse could well become the first player to be retrospectively banned for diving by the new FA panel, following the penalty he won at Selhurst Park last Saturday afternoon.
The Senegal international took a theatrical tumble in the box after brushing the shirt of Palace defender Scott Dann just inside the line of the 18-yard-box. Whilst referee Anthony Taylor had absolutely no hesitation in pointing to the spot, the Palace players, fans and coaches were all left bemused by he decision, as were Niasse’s Everton teammates, given the fact that none of them appeared to appeal for a spot-kick to be awarded.
Newly introduced this season, a three-man panel will now look to see if they can find undeniable evidence that the Toffees frontman “dived” following the tiny amount of contact from Dann, with a guilty verdict set to see him banned for their next two fixtures.
Under the letter of the law there is contact on the shirt of the striker which, according to him, was all that he needed to hit the deck. Despite that, the exaggerated manner in which he falls to the turf (think of a cowboy in the midst of a shootout on the set of a particularly low budget Western) should surely be looked upon as concrete proof that he’s attempted to con the officials.
Whilst Dann himself said as much during his post-match interview, Niasse admitted that he “heard” the contact rather than feeling it before going on to state that he “had to go down”. In truth, the real blame for the penalty should be placed at the feet of Anthony Taylor for being soft enough to give it but in these circumstances, it’s always impossible to punish the referee.
Quite how a retrospective ban would help us moving forward is anyone’s guess but I suppose it’s progress in some sense.
I’m sure we’ll find out the panel’s verdict over the next 24 hours.