Just when you thought Everton’s season couldn’t get any more surreal, it did. After drawing a penalty in the 5th minute against Crystal Palace on Sunday, Oumar Niasse has been formally charged with diving by the FA.
The Senegalese striker becomes the first player to be charged under the FA’s new power to retroactively charge players viewed as having blatantly dived in an attempt to draw a penalty.
Or more formally:
Everton’s Oumar Niasse has been charged for ‘Successful Deception of a Match Official’ following the game against Crystal Palace on 18 November 2017.
"It is alleged he committed an act of simulation which led to a penalty being awarded in the 5th minute of the game."
As for how the charge was decided, the FA added:
"Incidents which suggest a match official has been deceived by an act of simulation are referred to a panel consisting of one ex-match official, one ex-manager and one ex-player.
To make the decision, apparently the three members don’t watch the film together:
"Each panel member will be asked to review all available video footage independently of one another to determine whether they consider it was an offence of ‘Successful Deception of a Match Official’.
Finally, all three panel members need to agree for the charges to move forward:
"Only in circumstances where the panel are unanimous would The FA issue a charge."
The striker has until 6 PM BST tonight to appeal the decision.
Niasse being charged with first offense for diving in the particular case has the chance to open a pandora’s box as the striker was running at full speed and obviously contacted by a defender.
Unlike other examples of players feigning contact at all in order to draw a penalty, Niasse WAS contacted, meaning the panel seem to be heading towards establishing a “contact meter” by which they will determine when it was allowable for a player to fall.
This effort, of course, will ultimately prove to be an utter failure as “big name” players like Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling continue to push the boundaries of good taste.
Once a charge is brought against a player on a squad with an actual manager, the backlash will ultimately neuter the panel’s future efforts to curb diving and the panel will find itself much like the 6-second rule for goalies: on the books, but not really enforced.
Until then though, Niasse will hopefuly navigate the newly formed waters of the diving panel successfully and Everton won’t be without their leading scorer for any matches.