David Moyes is APPALLED by the direction modern football is heading and says players, fans and managers no longer recognise it.
The West Ham boss got a boost ahead of tonight’s FA Cup tie with Manchester United when Thomas Soucek won his appeal for wrongful dismissal.
But Moyes reckons the fact Soucek was sent off at all for a clearly accidental elbow on Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic, who fell on the floor, sums up football’s problems.
He believes that despite VAR, cheats and divers are going unpunished while football’s nitpicky lawmakers tinker with rules nobody understands anymore.
Moyes, who has taken charge of over 500 Premier League matches, said: “I think at the moment we're appalled by the levels creeping into the game.
“People who have been in football a long time feel they are in an industry where they don’t know the answers to anything. Experienced players too.
“Because we can’t criticise the rules or officials then you don’t get to hear our true emotions and feelings.”
Moyes has no problem with referee Mike Dean, who showed Soucek a red card only after being sent for a pitchside review by VAR Lee Mason.
But he has a big issue with players diving to win fouls in an age when every incident is forensically checked on replays.
Back in November Moyes accused Liverpool’s Mo Salah of diving to win a penalty against the Hammers – and he believes a clampdown is needed.
Moyes said: “Players need to take responsibility. But the only way we're going to stop it is by officials saying: ‘Sorry, we’re not going to allow you to con us.’
“I think we would admire that. We are getting the softest things. They are making the referees make decisions.
“Once players see they are not going to be rewarded, they start to say to themselves: ‘I’d better stay on my feet here, I’d better stop screaming.’
“In the Premier League, we’ve got a brand which people enjoy and part of that is they allow tackles. Football is played the right way with the right intensity.
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“Sadly I see a set of officials going to a level which is way below which all of the general public see as acceptable in this country.”
Moyes is on the League Managers Association committee which he claims is in “regular dialogue” with referees’ chief Mike Riley.
But asked how open to change referees are, Moyes said: “I don’t think they are that open. I don’t think they are very open at all.
“At the start of the season we have a meeting and Mike Riley tells us we got 95 per cent of our decisions correct. We always used to go: ‘No chance.’”
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