Leeds United: Ban the divers - Grayson

Simon Grayson admitted today that he would favour the introduction of automatic bans for players caught diving following Theo Walcott's theatrics at the Emirates Stadium earlier this month.

Grayson said he was in favour of using statutory one-match suspensions as punishment for proven simulation after Walcott escaped without censure for his dive in Leeds United's FA Cup third-round tie at Arsenal.

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Walcott courted controversy be attempting to deceive referee

Phil Dowd into awarding a penalty as Arsenal chased a 1-0 deficit on January 8, and the winger apologised for his dive in an interview given shortly after full-time.

Dowd failed to caution Walcott during the game, and FIFA regulations prevented the Football Association from punishing his dive retrospectively.

The governing body also ruled that his post-match comments were not in breach of FA rules.

United's players are likely to come face-to-face with Walcott again during tonight's third-round replay at Elland Road, and Grayson called for clear legislation to be introduced to tackle the problem of simulation.

Grayson said: "I suppose he's been honest enough to admit what he did but diving's something I don't agree with.

"In general my rule on diving would be that anyone caught doing it should be banned for the next game. That would soon stop people trying

to influence decisions.

"But I don't know what the FA could have done (to Walcott) because you can't just look at individual cases. It would need to be a set ruling from the FA or from FIFA. There are a lot of grey areas in the rules. But (a suspension) should be a given."

Walcott spoke out again this week to defend his decision to admit diving, saying he had "no regrets" about owning up to his offence.

His unnecessary collapse beneath a challenge by Leeds defender Alex Bruce preceded another challenge on Walcott by Ben Parker which gifted Arsenal a legitimate penalty in the very last minute of an eventful clash in north London.

Grayson did not speak to Walcott personally at the Emirates Stadium but said the England international deserved credit for admitting to his offence.

Grayson said: "You don't see too many players coming out and being as honest as that. He should be applauded for doing that and I'm sure he'll have learned his lesson about diving because he didn't do it very well."

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