I was simply shocked and aghast this last weekend at the blatant cheating by Ashley Young who plays for Manchester United.
The tone was set in the 9th minute when a colleague of the aforementioned Mr. Young, French international and United full back Patrice Evra deliberately dove in the opposition’s penalty area in an attempt to fool the referee Jon Moss into giving a penalty. No penalty was given nor was a caution administered.
Later, and not much later, the first of Ashley Young’s dives came.
It happened in the 19th minute and so blatant was the dive that even the commentators, who are quite “coy” when describing the shenanigans of certain players, appeared to be lost for words.
Young raced into the opposition penalty box and when confronted by a defender actually dragged his foot forward to make contact with the opposing player’s leg.
This time the referee decided enough was enough and cautioned (yellow card) Young (see below).
As if that wasn’t enough, Mr. Young tried his luck again just before half time and this time his act WAS successful resulting in a penalty being given and the “offender” receiving a red card for DOGSO (see below).
Now, I’m not in the business of criticizing referees. In fact, I don’t criticize them for what they do but rather criticize them for what they DON’T do. This time I have no option but to state the facts. If that sounds like criticism then so be it.
Firstly, the incident happened outside the penalty area and therefore a penalty should not have been awarded.
Secondly, the referee, who was some distance away from the incident wasn’t sure himself and tried to get some kind of confirmation from his assistant.
When none was forthcoming he belatedly pointed to the spot and issued a red card to the offender.
The resultant penalty was scored and United were one up just before half time.
This kind of player behavior is disgusting, deplorable and despicable.
I hope the league will have the balls to act on this issue without delay.
About the author: Dr Errol Sweeney (PhD) BBA Dip.PM, aka “The Hanging Judge,” is a former L.o.I and SA Premier League Referee, World Cup Referee & Assistant Referee Coach & Mentor. He coached/mentored a referee to 2 World Cups, Olympic Games, Confederations Cup, 2 U/17 FIFA World Cups and 4 African Nations Cups. He also writes on his own blog at SuperSport.