Saturday 23 February 2019

Ref's view: Salah is risking his reputation

There was no doubt that Salah dived after Mamadou Sakho flicked out a leg in the box. Photo: Reuters
There was no doubt that Salah dived after Mamadou Sakho flicked out a leg in the box. Photo: Reuters

Mohamed Salah is one of the best players in the Premier League - a wonderfully gifted goalscorer whose efforts could well end his club's long wait for a title.

But there is a less-savoury side to his game which is in danger of spoiling his reputation: the tendency to drop to the ground at the slightest of contacts in the penalty area.

There have been some close calls in recent weeks, with Salah earning penalties against Newcastle and Brighton, but against Crystal Palace on Saturday there was no doubt that he dived after Mamadou Sakho flicked out a leg in the box.

Regardless of whether there was a tiny bit of contact, one of the factors in determining an act of simulation is the exaggeration in the reaction, and nobody would dispute that Salah's fall - and the delay that preceded it - was out of proportion to whatever contact there might have been.

He should certainly have been booked for simulation, and I'm disappointed that referee Jon Moss failed to take action.

One of the important tasks a referee has is to raise the awareness of this type of offence.

This is done at the meetings of referees where video clips are analysed and ways of improving detection and punishment determined.

It is hard to believe that Salah's habit of tumbling over would not have come up at these meetings given the frequency with which it has been happening.

One of the aspects of Moss's performance that disappointed me most was the fact he made no attempt to improve the viewing angle, and get a better sight of Salah once he had the ball.

Referees are letting themselves down by not punishing a player who is building a reputation as a diver.

Keith Hackett is a former referee

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