Davies’ MLS Diving Fine Doesn’t Go Far Enough

It’s a blight on the modern game, but diving has been around for many more years than it has been fashionable to criticise it.

Many of us are two faced and I admit I’m one of them.

We condemn our opponents flops and scream from the rooftops that something has to be done to stop it, but if it’s our own guy taking the dive and winning a vital penalty or three points, then we trot out all the old excuses about it being part of the modern game and that if we don’t do it, then we’ll lose out because our opponents will.

If we all take a step back for a second though, I’m sure pretty much all of us would agree that diving is reprehensible.

We applaud Major League Soccer’s decision today to punish DC United’s Charlie Davies for his blatant dive in last weekend’s game against Real Salt Lake.

It was a brave move in the right direction from the League. It sends out a message, but one which doesn’t go far enough.

Most of you will have seen the dive by now, but if you haven’t, here it is in all it’s infamy:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckiBt1J0JaQ?rel=0&w=500&h=314]Not a lot you can say about that. Blatant cheating.

It would be wrong for us to be too hypocritical since Camilo has been at similar antics this season for the Whitecaps.

MLS Executive Vice President Nelson Rodriguez was clear in his message when announcing today’s decision:

“The MLS Disciplinary Committee ruled that Charlie Davies intentionally deceived the officials and gained an unfair advantage which directly impacted the match.

This type of behavior tarnishes the image of the League, is detrimental to the game and will not be tolerated.

Moving forward, all instances of behavior that serves to deceive and that directly impact the game will be subject to severe discipline, including a fine, suspension or both.”

Excellent to hear.

Not so excellent when you see the end result. I wouldn’t exactly class this as “severe punishment” for Davies.

The American international was hit with just a $1000 fine and no suspension. Not exactly something that’s going to hit the pocket hard of a player making a base salary of $184,620 and having a “Guaranteed Compensation” for 2011 of $244,870.

To break that down, that $1000 fine is just 0.4% what he is likely to make as a minimum this year. That’s like you or me wiping our ass with a $10 note.

If Davies was on the League minimum of $42,000, it would be 2.4%, which at least sounds more severe.

For fines like this to work, they need to be set to be a minimum percentage of the wages of the player involved. This percentage should then increase for repeat offenders.

An automatic one game suspension should also be tagged on to the fine, again increasing for repeat offenders.

Losing players from vital games will soon help Clubs stamp down on the behaviour but not as much as points deductions.

Davies’ dive earned his side a vital, and what was looking like an unlikely, point last week.

Real Salt Lake lost out on two points. A small fine for the cheat doesn’t help them in a situation like this.

DC United fans, players and management may not admit it publically, but paying $1000 for a League point is a pretty good deal. Not exactly a punishment for them, especially if it makes an important difference to standings at the end of the season.

If they were to lose points because of the incident, they’d soon feel they’d been severely dealt with.

MLS we do commend your stance. More power to you. If you’re going to dish out punishments though, just make sure that they are just that. A proper, fair, balanced and severe punishment.

Cheats should never prosper.

Authored by: Michael McColl

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