Having initially been charged with “Successfully Deceiving A Match Official” by an FA panel yesterday, Everton striker Oumar Niasse has had his appeal rejected and will now serve a two-match ban.
The Senegal international took a tumble in the fifth minute of the Toffees’ trip to Crystal Palace last weekend, taking advantage of some minimal contact from defender Scott Dann by falling theatrically to the turf and prompting referee Anthony Taylor to point to the spot with almost no hesitation.
Whilst hundreds of Everton fans have clung onto the fact that contact was made between the upper bodies of Niasse and Dann, the charge itself specifically refers to the the “successful deception” of Taylor, with the manner in which the striker falls clearly being enough for the panel to conclude that he looked to con the referee into giving the penalty.
Of course, as the first ever instance of this sanction being handed out to a Premier League player there is a degree of outrage from those with partisan interests but in truth, it does little to help us as the direct victims of Niasse’s act of deception.
He will now miss Everton’s games at Southampton and at home to West Ham, potentially handing the relegation-threatened Hammers a lifeline and doing us further damage.
Obviously, this opens a huge can of worms for those at the FA moving forward, with fans all set to use this precedent-setting decision as a yardstick for months to come. Yes, some will argue that they’ve made a rod for their own backs by charging Niasse but someone had to be the first victim of the system and despite being a tad biased, I can see why they’ve chosen to uphold the ban.
The clearest message coming out of this ruling is that theatrical falls are likely to come under the heaviest scrutiny; how that alters the decision making of the Premier League’s players remains to be seen.