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By ESPN Staff

Premier League diving 'under control' - Refs' chief

Referees' chief Keith Hackett claims diving is no longer a 'major problem' in the Premier League.

Hackett, the general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Board, believes a poster campaign launched last season has resulted in managers and players helping get the problem 'under control'.

'Of course it is a controversial issue but it's under control and at present I don't see it as a major problem in our game and credit must go to the managers and players for that,' said Hackett, who cited official analysis on his organisation's website, which showed only two instances of referees being duped across 100 top-flight games this season.

'Ultimately, trying to con the referee is deliberate cheating and that has no part in football in this country.'

However, yellow card statistics indicate instances of `simulation' have more than doubled this term.

Eighteen players have been cautioned for the offence this season compared to eight in 2006-07.

Hackett insisted it was near impossible to eradicated the problem completely.

He said in the Guardian: 'The speed of action in the Premier League has increased by around 40% over the last four years alone, which means that it is very difficult for match officials to distinguish between a genuine foul and a cynical attempt to deceive the referee.

'But for this reason, it's vital that assistant referees let the referee know their interpretation of a situation rather than leave them to reach a decision based solely on what he has seen.'