Cricket is about to introduce Red Cards for umpires in 2017 for excessive aggression or un-sportsmanlike conduct on the pitch.
However much it pains us to say, but Football might have to look towards its boring older brother, Cricket, and take a leaf out of its book by introducing video replays to sort out penalty controversies.
Three incidents in the last seven days have pushed everyone towards instant TV reviews, as used in Test matches and in rugby, because the lack of consistency is so glaring.
Last Saturday, Tottenham’s Dele Alli sparked a huge debate when he went down in the box to win a penalty against Swansea.
Then, in midweek, Celtic’s on-loan forward Patrick Roberts should have been awarded a penalty against his parent club when he was clearly hauled back by Manchester City’s Gael Clichy but none of the five officials was interested.
And in an almost identical incident the following night, Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater was penalised for dragging back Porto’s Andre Silva – who made sure the ref bought it by throwing himself to the ground.
One thing we take away from those incidents is that you only win penalties by falling over. It’s not right, but that is just the way it is.
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino says he will not take any lectures from England about players going down too easily, as the saying goes, because he was penalised in the 2002 World Cup when Michael Owen ended up on the deck and David Beckham consigned Argentina to defeat from the spot.
Looking at replays, nobody would think it was a penalty in a million years when Alli went down against Swansea – but in real time, referee Jon Moss only had a split-second to make his decision.
To eradicate diving altogether from the mentality of a player is a gargantuan task but implementing a few regulations and rules can help reduce the number of occurrences.
ONE: When referees award a penalty, which is a natural break in play, aggrieved managers can invoke an instant TV review, like in cricket. If the ref has got it wrong, play restarts with a goal kick.
TWO: If players are found to have cheated to try to win the penalty by diving over thin air or deliberately leaving a trailing leg to invoke contact from the defender, they should be booked for simulation or, in the worst cases, sent off with a ban to follow.
We don’t believe we can have TV replays for every incident all over the pitch – otherwise matches would last for three hours and fans would be stranded after missing the last train home.
But if we limit instant replays to penalties which are given – with the decision vindicated or revoked within 30 seconds – it could remove the sense of injustice which sometimes hangs over important games.
In the name of consistency, the time has come for the Football Association to take a stand and lead the way forward.