GRAHAM POLL: FA should throw the book at Martin Olsson for his blatant cheating
The FA should charge Blackburn forward Martin Olsson for improper conduct after he admitted diving to win a penalty against Burnley on Sunday. Unsurprisingly they have indicated that is highly unlikely. Shame on them and shame on Olsson. Martin Olsson: I dived to win a penalty from a referee who nearly always awards them Going down: Martin Olsson takes a tumble against Burnley More from Graham Poll... GRAHAM POLL: Martin Olsson takes flight to book his place in my worst five dives of the season29/03/10 GRAHAM POLL: Why Malouda, Sturridge and Moyes will escape punishment... but Mancini faces a ban25/03/10 Graham Poll's Official Line: Liverpool pay the price for unsporting behaviour21/03/10 Graham Poll: Invisible assistants leave men in the middle exposed21/03/10 Graham Poll: German inefficiency robbed Chelsea of two penalties17/03/10 GRAHAM POLL: Warning to Gerrard... clean up or you're next England villain 16/03/10 GRAHAM POLL: Sol was lucky not to follow Boateng to an early bath15/03/10 GRAHAM POLL: Liam Ridgewell's 'goal' shows that it's time for bumbling Blatter to cross the line08/03/10 VIEW FULL ARCHIVEWhile we all know that players are prepared to dive and cheat to win games, the fact that Olsson claims that he did so in the knowledge that referee Mike Dean had awarded more penalties than his colleagues shows a level of premeditation that I naively did not suspect occurred in the Premier League. Thierry Henry has been castigated for his handball in the build-up to France's decisive goal against Republic of Ireland in the World Cup play-off but at least his initial movements were instinctive. He did not go on to the pitch thinking about handling the ball in just such a scenario. Olsson claims he did exactly that and further drags professional football into disrepute. I have heard that a former NFL referee has been employed in the US as a referee consultant for one of the big franchises - to help the team with tactical moves, give advice on how to avoid certain foul calls and perhaps to research the match officials to see what they tend to allow and what they penalise. This is neither new nor exclusive to American football. When David O'Leary was manager at Leeds they employed the services of former international referee Steve Lodge to help them with disciplinary matters, in particular avoiding unnecessary yellow and red cards. But they didn't send him scouting the referees they had coming up to see what they did or didn't like. Controversy: Thierry Henry cheated against Ireland with handball Of course, this shouldn't matter as all referees should apply each law consistently - but that is not the real world where humans are used as referees. Some are braver than others, some are better than others and some are more malleable than their colleagues. A concern is that other managers and players could see the actions of Olsson as professional preparation and will look at next weekend's referee in a different light. But the real worry is what affect this could have on Mike Dean as he prepares for a very tough assignment at Old Trafford on Saturday. Hopefully he will be able to block out any negative thoughts of players targeting him to gain a penalty and possibly three points as Olsson did at Turf Moor.
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