Mike Jones was correctly lamented for the worst decision of the Premier League season. He booked Sergio Aguero for simulation as the Argentine forward was hacked down just inside the 18-yard-box. Manchester City were denied a certain penalty and despite Aguero and co. earning 3 points against second place challengers Southampton at the end of the 90 minutes, many still feel aggrieved by the ‘horror’ decision.
Yet what followed that ‘horror’ decision was done in the manner consistently called for. The consistent manner, funnily enough.
MIke Jones was under the assumption, wrongly, yes, that Sergio Aguero dived in an attempt to earn a penalty and have a strong chance of taking the lead for Manchester City. So, he booked him. Outrage, yes I hear your screams. The decision was one of the worst I’ve seen in the past couple of years but I am glad that the situation has arisen.
Every Saturday and Sunday those on Twitter call for consistency in referees and justice for those who dive. Mike Jones gave that. Jones may have made the wrong decision but instead of simply awarding a foul for Aguero’s ‘dive’, he booked him as in line with the law of the game.
This is what is needed. Not backing down from your decision but bookings for simulation. These decisions should be exactly the same as a tackle or a tussle in the box, they sometimes go against you. Simulation needs to stop being viewed as only a booking when it is clear as day to everyone in the stadium, even Arsene Wenger who is likely to ‘not have seen it’. Simulation must be seen as an offence equal to all other offences and decisions must sometimes go against your team.
Of course, we will see a huge influx in bookings for common offenders as well as more unlikely victims of a new attitude required. But in 5 years time, we could look back on a day in 2014 where the referees decided, with backing from the supporters, that simulation must be clamped down on. In 5 years time, I could be writing about the excellent quality of refereeing in Southampton vs Manchester City despite the officials being able to let the game flow as strikers, the main offenders, attempted to stay on their feet through out the game.
There is reason, huge reason, to lament the performance of Mike Jones as City moved up to second in the league, but his decision to book for simulation is something that can be built upon to eradicate one of football’s most frustrating aspects which has slyly snuck its way into football culture across the leagues and nations.
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