Tottenham’s Bale is by all means a very good player. But his inability to stay on his feet angers so many people, not just referees. Firsty we have to understand what is Bale doing wrong.
One example was Bale’s last booking as Tottenham played Sunderland. After watching Match of the day I saw the challenge from a few angles and I have to say there was contact but as stated in a previous article; it’s not contact that is the issue, it’s exaggeration of it.
In other cases of course a player could also be penalised for ‘attempting to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled’ it could even be ‘acting in a manner which shows a lack of respect for the game.’
As we can all imagine there are going to be times when the referee gets it wrong, we are only human (by and large) but what doesn’t help is when a player deliberately sets out to dive. (The recent Phil Neville incident was a good example. Only the previous week his manager David Moyes had slated Luis Suarez for doing the same thing).
We then saw in the same game that Bale was cautioned in, Jermain Defoe decided to throw himself to the floor despite no contact at all and this went unpunished – leaving a sour taste in Bale ‘s mouth. Villas Boas accusing Bale of being “persecuted”.
But perhaps Villas Boas might be better off spending his time instructing players such as Defoe not to engage in such theatrics in the first place?
Retrospective action could certainly clean up any missed dives. This would also simultaneously ease the burden for referees having to endlessly worry about this type of cheating and act as deterrent once players began getting caught in post match video analysis.
In all of this though there is or ought to be, an onus on the players not to cheat. We all talk about fair play and consistency by the refs but it doesn’t help when a player or teams regard cheating as simply sportsmanship.
I think it should be punishable with serious deductions from the Fair Play tables which some clubs occasionally rely upon to get them into European football. Other penalties ought to include both fines or when warranted, bans.
Referees have to take some responsibility. That means specific training on where best to be positioned to spot a dive and how best to deal with it. What people want is consistency and although this will never be achieved 100%, every effort must be made.
I would like to see Tottenham’s Bale try and stay on his feet more, this will ultimately lessen a bad reputation and make the game more enjoyable. I accept if there is heavy contact or he is tripped and then has no choice but to go to ground.
But what Bale needs to learn is that he needs to get the decision from the referee. Going down upon the mildest contact believing this is sufficient to get the decision automatically is naive. The Spurs man has been booked 3 times for simulation this season and you would like to think that he was slowly getting the message.