Belfast Telegraph

Unsworth warns of 'dangerous precedent' following Niasse diving ban

David Unsworth warned of "a dangerous precedent" on the day Everton striker Oumar Niasse was hit with a two-match ban for diving.

Niasse became the first Premier League player to receive a retrospective suspension for simulation under the new law that kicked in this season.

He was charged by the Football Association after winning a controversial penalty in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace.

The FA announced on Wednesday that Niasse's challenge to the charge had been unsuccessful, with the offence of 'successful deception of a match official' found proven following an independent regulatory commission hearing.

Everton reacted by stating: "Although we are disappointed by the decision of the independent regulatory commission to reject Oumar's denial of the charge, the club and the player accept the outcome of today's hearing.

"We will make further comment when we have fully reviewed the observations contained in the report."

The penalty in the league contest at Selhurst Park was awarded by referee Anthony Taylor when Niasse went down in the Palace box and it was deemed that he had been fouled by Eagles defender Scott Dann, who reacted angrily to the decision.

Everton caretaker boss Unsworth was asked about the possibility of a suspension shortly before the FA delivered its verdict.

He said: "We don't want contact taken out the game. Slowly but surely, piece by piece, it has started to come out of the game.

"I am all for protecting players and nobody wants to see bad tackles.

"But we do have to have experts who know what a foul is. It's a dangerous place and a dangerous precedent that could be set if decisions are given against you which are debatable."

Leighton Baines converted the spot-kick to cancel out James McArthur's opener for the hosts, and Niasse later netted a second equaliser.

Dann said after the game that Niasse had "conned the referee".

Former defender Unsworth added on Wednesday: "I think anywhere on the field it's a foul. He (Niasse) was shocked and I was shocked (by the charge). We're all bitterly disappointed.

"I think it's a great rule but it doesn't change my stance on if there's contact anywhere on the pitch - slight or not, contact is contact."

Incidents which suggest a match official has been deceived by an act of simulation are referred to a panel consisting of one ex-match official, one ex-manager and one ex-player.

They each review footage independently, and only in circumstances where the panel are unanimous will the FA issue a charge.

The ban means Niasse will miss the league games at Southampton on Sunday and at home against West Ham three days later.

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