‘VAR could clean up diving, but the powers that be don’t seem to be worried about it’ - Sean Dyche on what he feels remains a blight on the beautiful game

While there has been much debate over the merits of VAR, particularly since the restart, it comes as no surprise to see which area of officiating is of most concern to Sean Dyche.
Jack GrealishJack Grealish
Jack Grealish

Dyche has long fought a seemingly lone battle against the scourge of simulation in the game.

And with more focus on whether people’s armpits or toenails are offside, or whether penalties should or shouldn’t have been awarded, Dyche feels any efforts to kick diving out of the game have been abandoned.

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Back at the start of the 2017/18 season, the Football Association introduced a new measure to try and end to “the deception of the match official” by introducing a panel who had the scope to ban players for two games.

However, retrospective suspensions were few and far between.

That measure remains, but the last player to be punished appears to be former Burnley loan man Patrick Bamford, in May of 2019.

And simulation certainly hasn’t gone away - one only has to look at Jack Grealish’s somewhat elaborate flop to the ground against Crystal Palace last Sunday.

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He initially was awarded a penalty, which VAR cancelled out, but he wasn’t punished for deception.

Grealish is the most fouled player ever in a Premier League season, but didn’t help his cause at Villa Park.

And, asked about the current situation regarding VAR decisions, Dyche said: “The obvious one that’s more clear, and I find it interesting/frustrating is when people moan about offside. I can’t see it really, if it’s offside, it’s offside.

“I don’t see the debate on that, it’s black and white and it’s clear.

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“The idea of penalties is always going to be awkward, but no one has even mentioned simulation.

“That’s disappeared, no one even gets a card anymore, which is frustrating for me, I don’t know where that lives in the game.

“VAR could clean that out of the game very quickly, but no one wants to it’s seems.

“I think there’s bigger pictures VAR could be used for, for the good of the game, at the minute it’s just to officiate the game, which is obviously the key thing.

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“But some of the things I’ve seen with people falling over, as usual, is bizarre to me that VAR isn’t used more wisely to get that out of the game.

“I’m not talking about getting a touch and going down, I’m talking about absolutely clear people diving on the floor.

“That should be out of the game and disappear with VAR.”

Dyche hasn’t made his feelings known to the FA, but remains baffled by the lack of interest in dealing with something he feels is a blight on the game: “The powers that be don’t seem to worry about it, everyone seems to be OK about it.

“There was a time when it first got mentioned that simulation would be dealt with by the FA, they started banning people, or certainly yellow cards.

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“That seems to have gone out the window. I can’t remember the last time a player got booked for diving. There’s plenty of it going on by the way.

“It just alarms me when I see what a wonderful game it is, it could be cleared up very quickly. But it takes the powers that be to do that, not me, I’m a lone voice.”