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Cut Out Diving & Ghost Goals

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On Sunday, two big incidents occurred in the televised games. The first being Ashley Young’s blatant dive versus Aston Villa with the second being Chelsea’s ‘ghost goal’ against Spurs in the FA Cup Semi-final. Both these incidents will no doubt prove to be big-talking points for different reasons.

First up after six minutes of Manchester United’s 4-0 romp over Aston Villa, Young went down theatrically under a challenge from his ex-club colleague Ciaran Clark. Whilst Young must be credited with the skill he used in making his way into the box, he clearly went down easily looking for a penalty.

Of course we don’t like to see players dive at any level of the game and as much as the media wouldn’t like us to believe English players do dive and it’s not just foreign players who do it and con the ref and the opposition.

Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Theo Walcott have all dived in the past and taken flack from it and now Young will and rightfully so. As a winger and one who is brilliant at twisting to dodge past defenders, he will be used to being fouled but he will now perhaps gain the reputation of being a ‘diver’ and that can work against him when he is fouled.

Even Sir Alex Ferguson admitted in his televised interviews after the game that Young had ‘gone down easily.’ That’s something that he wouldn’t ideally have wanted to say and there’s no doubt that he would have had a quiet word with our winger after the game to cut out that aspect of his game.

Admitting that your player has dived isn’t something a manager wants to do, fans don’t like to admit to it and it shall be interesting to see how Young performs at the Euros as no doubt officials and England’s group opponents will be aware of his reputation for diving.

It’s now up to Young to get back to doing what he does best and that’s going back to running the channels, putting in crosses and scoring goals. It’s as simple as that.

As for Chelsea’s ‘ghost goal’ which put them 2-0 up against Spurs in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, it was a dreadful decision made by referee Martin Atkinston to award the goal.

As an official if you are going to make a decisive call in a big-match you have to be 100% sure. Yes some pictures show that the ball might have just been over the line whilst others due to ‘depth of field’ appear to show that the ball wasn’t over the line.

To award a goal on those circumstances, referee Martin Atkinson should have been 100% sure that the ball had crossed the line despite Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s best efforts to keep the ball out, at least that’s the ‘plan’ anyway.

Officials have to be absolutely certain when making critical goal-mouth decisions, mind you they should be certain when making all decisions, but that’s beyond the point. Either way it was a big call and changed the dynamic of the game.

Spurs only really looked dominant briefly in the first half when Rafael Van der Vaart had a header off the line with the Dutchman also seeing a cross hit the post when Emmaneul Adebayour ought to have headed it in, so in some respects it’s not as if the goal robbed Harry Redknapp’s of a win as Chelsea were the better side.

However the goal clearly gave Chelsea added-insurance and ultimately when Spurs were going for broke to get an equaliser late-on after Gareth Bale had scored, Roberto Di Matteo’s side were able to break clear and emphatically wrap up the game.

Referees like players are we must remember only human and mistakes will continue to be made by both. Video technology is needed and has been for the last decade. Hopefully it can be integrated by the FA sooner rather than later. The question that will then be asked is ‘what incidents do we use video-technology for’ and that will only open another can of worms.

By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87