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FA vote to bring in retrospective bans for players who deceive refs


By Matt Slater

The Football Association have approved a proposal which will see retrospective bans handed out to players who dive or feign injury in English football from next season.

The new offence of 'successful deception of a match official' is based on a law used in Scotland and was approved at the FA's annual general meeting yesterday.

The Scottish FA took four years to convince Fifa to allow them to introduce the system amid the world governing body's reluctance to overturn referee's decisions. Their disciplinary Rule 201 states: "No player shall cause a match official to make an incorrect decision and/or support an error of judgment on the part of a match official by an act of simulation which results in that player's team being awarded a penalty kick and/or an opponent being dismissed and/or any other substantial advantage."

For example, when Ross County striker Alex Schalk threw himself to the ground under no contact whatsoever to win his side a late penalty against Celtic last month, everyone who saw the footage knew what was coming.

Schalk's actions helped County claim an unlikely point from a 2-2 draw but their relegation rivals could take some consolation in the fact that the Scottish Football Association would issue him with a two-match ban.

Another two players have been punished this season, including Hearts winger Jamie Walker. The retrospective approach works both ways though. Walker is among the players to have had yellow cards for simulation overturned following an appeal.

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