Time to stamp out the cheats

Sure Joey Barton’s an idiot, but why is it suddenly ok for players to throw themselves to the ground theatrically any time someone lays a hand on them?

This Premier League season has been the season of the cheat.  Manchester United fans will assume that I’m talking about Manchester City buying the title, but I’m actually talking about a league full of players willing to do to great lengths to get other players sent off.

United’s own Ashley Young made a habit of it; crumbling in a heap with minimal or no contact at all in an attempt to gain an advantage for his side.

Norwich’s Bradley Johnson’s legs gave out, as if he just got on the end of an Evander Holyfield special against Joey Barton’s slap QPR earlier in the season.

And like the playground idiot who never learns, Barton was again guilty of providing two cheats with the opportunity for some turf time in QPR’s vital match against City over the weekend.

Barton should be proud.  Seriously.  He apparently possess so much strength that he could leave two street smart Argentineans seemingly in need of hospital treatment with the slightest bit of contact.

Barton reacted aggressively to Carlos Tevez’s provocation by swinging and elbow that barely made contact.  Down falls Tevez in a blatant attempt to make sure that Barton gets sent off.  Barton, with red mist descending, then knees Sergio Aguero in the back of the leg aggressively, but with hardly enough contact to cause Aguero to fall to the ground writhing in pain.

Sure, Joey Barton’s an idiot, but why is it suddenly ok for players to throw themselves to the ground theatrically any time someone lays a hand, or leg on them?

Credit to Vincent Kompany who kept his feet despite being tapped on the forehead by Barton shortly afterwards.

Possibly even credit to Barton, who didn’t tumble over after being hit by Tevez in the first place.

Recently, Chelsea’s John Terry nudged Barcelona’s serial diver Alexis Sanchez in the back of the leg.  A deserved sending off, but for all too obvious reasons no one feared for Sanchez’s playing career as we witnessed him writhing in agony.  Yes, Terry did a stupid thing, but Sanchez’s behaviour was appalling and without dignity.

A foul is a foul.  Serious foul play is serious foul play.  Referees should be able to judge for themselves without requiring the ‘assistance’ of cheating con-men who make a meal out of things in order to ensure that the opposing team is suitably punished.

It’s time for Premier league referees to step up and take control.  They need to show the players who is in charge of the game and they need to punish those who exaggerate in order to gain an advantage.

I’m not saying that violent or moronic behaviour like Barton’s should go unpunished.  It is not ok to act like this on the football pitch.  But diving, falling exaggerating cheating is not ok either.

The most worrying thing is that this behaviour has seemingly been accepted as normal, even reasonable perhaps.  It is most certainly not and the FA is kidding itself if it thinks that the fans think it’s ok.

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