Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Watching Sportscene on Sunday evening, one of the weekend debates was obviously about Rangers' Sone Aluko and his apparent dive to win, what turned out to be, a match winning penalty against Dunfermline at Ibrox.

Pundits in the studio and punters online have all had their say on the matter.

To us it looked like Aluko knew exactly what he was doing. He had nowhere to go, he went down theatrically, he won a penalty by embellishment.

Most angles show no contact, one shows the possible slightest of knocks that looked nowhere near enough to send a grown man crashing to the deck the way it did.

The immediate question was whether the SFA would punish Aluko for diving. Today, we got our answer.

The SFA are proposing a two match ban for simulation, and the matter will be heard by a tribunal on Thursday.

Now this is all well and good (and it really is), but the end result of these hearings simply do not go far enough if we are really serious about stamping this blight out of football.

The introduction of video evidence has been a great innovation to the Scottish game and punishes cheats. At least most of the time.

The punishments don't always hold up when clubs end up appealing them, ala Hibs and Gary O'Connor, when a similar incident led to a two match ban first being proposed, then quashed on appeal.

Clearly post-match punishments also serve as no deterrent to players, who are prepared to take the gamble if it earns their clubs vital points. In a lot of ways, you can’t blame them.

Realistically most fans don't care if they win a game due to a dive or an act of cheating. I'd be lying if I said I would. I want the win.

On the other hand, if my team were to lose due to such actions, I would be livid. We're hypocrites. Most of us are if we’re being honest.

When the punishments are handed out later though, they need to be way more far reaching.

Banning a player for a game or two and/or fining the guy, means very little these days. It has to be the clubs themselves that are punished.

Rangers won the game, and all three points, due to Aluko's actions. Those points could be decisive in the Championship race at the end of the season or even the relegation dogfight.

Punishing Rangers, or any club, for their players diving by docking them three points (no matter what the outcome of the game) is way more likely to see these antics curtailed pretty quickly.

Ultimately, I would rather we had video evidence than nothing at all. The alternative is what we had before, with all such players getting off with nothing more than their reputations being tarnished.

If we're ever to stamp this blight out of our game though, then the punishments need to be way more far-reaching.

And I can think of no better way to start that off than by punishing the SPL leaders.

There's the clear message.

No matter who you are or how big a club you are, you WILL be punished in a manner which hurts you.


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