The FA have decided that no action will be taken against Jack Grealish after complaints of ‘simulation’ were received in the wake of Aston Villa’s 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion in the Championship play-off semi-final first leg (mouthful!) on Saturday afternoon.
Jack Grealish was cut down by a Kieran Gibbs challenge in the box to award Villa a winning penalty (dispatched by Tammy Abraham). Although the contact was minimal, it was still enough contact for a foul (as going to your feet and reaching for the ball in the box is a dumb and brash decision in every single occasion). The incident was referred by the FA to an independent panel along with other incidents in the West Midlands derby - and funnily enough, the panel found the referee’s decisions to be correct.
Had Grealish been found guilty - he’d have received a two-match ban and would have missed Villa’s play-off campaign in it’s potential entirety.
He wasn’t found guilty - and why? Because nothing happened. It’s a non-issue and a non story. Jack Grealish was fouled - however lightly - but he was fouled. He was taken away from his run by a fouling tackle. It’s extremely simple - and it’d have been dumb to try and ride the challenge.
The problem is, still photos of Gibb’s slide-in on Grealish aren’t exactly flattering - as they are all taken as Jack is falling and flailing in the aftermath of the challenge. In the stills, there is clearly no contact because the stills are taken after contact. In a sense, it’s like taking a picture of the moon and saying the sun doesn’t exist.
Jack Grealish isn’t a diver - and if he is, he’s the best simulator that has ever existed. He’s not been booked over the past two seasons for simulation racking up an exceptional number of fouls against him. Even on one of the sole occasions that he was carded for diving (four whole years ago!), the referee was wrong! However, this narrative that Jack Grealish is a diver isn’t going to stop. He wins fouls because people can’t stop him - and they are unhappy with that.
At any rate, he won’t face punishment for something that didn’t happen, even if people want to believe that the something that didn’t happen did actually happen - because it didn’t happen.