Ashley Young is one of the most notorious divers in the Premier League, launching himself with such abandon and frequency that fans have set his antics to the Superman theme. David Moyes is one of the practices's most outspoken critics, having fined his own players for it in the past. So when Moyes came to Manchester United this summer, and inherited Young, something had to give.
Young had a remarkable Saturday afternoon against Crystal Palace. In the 19th minute, he hurled himself across the box, trying to draw a penalty kick. He only earned himself a yellow card.
But then, just 25 minutes, Young again appeared to take a tumble. This time he was rewarded for it. The referee sent off Palace's Kagisho Dikgacoi and awarded United a penalty.
Yesterday, Moyes said he had spoken with Young about diving, but admitted "I can never be sure it won’t happen again." He called for the FA to institute video review of suspected flops, with penalties—either fines or match bans—handed out for obvious violators.
"I’ve said for many years we should have retrospective action for diving. That would help referees no end."
The Premier League finally instituted goal-line technology this season, so it's not completely resistant to change. But any system where dives are reviewed, even one as toothless as the NBA's, is a long way off. Rio Ferdinand expressed his support for retroactive punishment, but only if the rest of Europe gets onboard as well. With UEFA dinosaur-president Michel Platini vehemently opposed to even goal-line tech, we're not holding our breath. And don't expect players to stop diving of their own accord: Ashley Young's two pratfalls earned his team a yellow, but also a penalty kick and a man advantage. Not a bad trade-off.