LONDON: Everton’s Oumar Niasse has made unwanted history on becoming the first Premier League player banned for cheating by the new ‘diving panel’ set up this season by the Football Association.
The Senegal international has been banned for two games after failing in his appeal against the accusation of “successful deception of a match official” after winning a controversial penalty in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace. Leighton Baines converted the penalty and Niasse went on to score the equaliser.
Palace players and officials and most observers thought Niasse had suffered, at most, only minimal contact from defender Scott Dann.
That was enough for FIFA referee Anthony Taylor but former FIFA referee Mark Clattenburg disagreed, saying: “I’ve watched it from three angles and this is clear simulation. Niasse’s action —throwing himself backwards — is not consistent with contact from the defender.”
The game already had a system whereby players could be disciplined for a red card offence which had gone unseen by the referee. In May the FA approved a further step so that players could be charged after a game for simulation. All three members of the panel must review an incident independently. A charge can be issued only if all three are in agreement.
Carlisle forward Shaun Miller was the first to be banned for two games in October. Bristol City defender Bailey Wright was suspended for two games earlier this month after being found guilty of simulation. He went down in an off-the-ball incident with Fulham’s Aboubakar Kamara, whose red card for the clash was later rescinded.
Manchester City forward Bernardo Silva and Watford’s Richarlison both avoided charges earlier this season.
Niasse denied cheating. He said: “When I felt the contact, I knew then he had pushed me. That is all I did. Everything I can do to help my team, I am going to do it. The contact was on my body and I was in the box so that is it, that is all I have to do, go on the floor.”
Everton, yet to replace Ronald Koeman, are one of two managerless Premier clubs. The other is West Bromwich who sacked Tony Pulis after the 4-0 home beating by Chelsea.