How much longer can cheats be allowed to prosper?
Football has accelerated away from advances in refereeing technology.
This has left us with the mess we have now.
Players are repeatedly conning the referee and continually getting away with it.
It must be stopped.
When you watch games from the seventies and eighties what immediately strikes you is how skinny and physically smaller players were than they are today.
Today's modern footballer works hard in the gym to build up muscle so they can't be pushed off the ball so easily and it shows.
Players like Drogba and Skrtel are "big units" to use the parlance and they move quickly with it. The modern day game is becoming a blur of action.
It's little surprise that referees are finding it difficult to keep up with play and spot infringements of the rules because referees and their remit has not changed with the times.
In the Europa cup they have experimented with placing extra referees behind the byline but this has only served to show ineffective this method of policing the game is.
They constantly fail to intervene demurring all decisions to the referee in the middle of the pitch and it doesn't really seem to have achieved anything at all.
No, what is need here is far more drastic action to help referees stay on top of the game and that is the after match review panel.
Now. I know what you are going to say:
"How can you have a review panel for every single game played on a Saturday?"
Well of course the answer is that you can't.
However the Premiership is the showcase for our game and everyone takes their cue from the top games. By applying retrospective bans to top players for trying to win by cheating you send out a clear signal that diving won't be tolerated.
Diving has always existed but it has become more and more prevalent over the past few years and because the game is played at such a speed it's becoming more and more difficult for the referee to spot.
It's not just the losing team that is being unfairly conned either. The paying public are being fleeced because they are not getting what they deserve – a game free of cheating.
And let's be brutal about this. It is cheating plain and simple. Players who dive are cheats.
It is not sportsmanship. It is not clever and it definitely has no place in our game. Cheats should be brought to account.
In the recent Newcastle V Liverpool game Andy Carroll went down like a sack of spuds when attempting to round the keeper. He pushed the ball too far and realised that the defender steaming in was going to get their first and so he keeled over.
Rightfully earning a booking.
It could have been much worse though. Because the goalkeeper could have been deemed to have brought Carroll down and been sent off. A penalty would have been awarded. Newcastle would have had to have played with ten men for two thirds of the game.
A booking is not punishment enough to fit the crime.
When Ashley Young took a tumble in the United V QPR game television replays showed that there was minimal if any contact.
United gained a penalty, QPR lost a player and the fans were conned out of a fair contest.
A review panel would surely put an end to this madness because it is only going to get worse.
Footballs failure to embrace technology is leaving the sport wide open to this type of abuse.
More referees are not the answer. In the second example the assistant referee failed to spot an offside in the first place.
I accept that referees do a very difficult job in trying circumstances and I'm happy that they make impartial decisions but we are asking them to stop bullets with their teeth here and they need more help.
A Monday morning appeal panel convened with speed – something the FA are not noted for – would put an end to the worst cases by dishing out retrospective bans and rescinding cards that have been given out in error.
Of course it won't change the result of the game but over time the cheats would find less opportunity to ply their trade and that has to be a good thing.