Ferguson links diving to overseas players

Sir Alex Ferguson. Photo: PA

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson claims the Premier League foreign legion are to blame for the growing incidents of diving.

It cannot be classed purely as an overseas blight, given Tottenham's Gareth Bale - who will face United at White Hart Lane tomorrow - and Red Devils target Wilfried Zaha have both been accused of simulation in recent weeks.

However, Ferguson is in no doubt the growing number of overseas recruits into the English game have made the practice more widespread.

"There is a connection to the foreign players coming into our game, I don't think there is any doubt about that," he said.

Ferguson was speaking in the wake of the latest controversy to envelop Luis Suarez, who has admitted diving at Stoke earlier this season in an effort to win a penalty.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has already voiced his displeasure about Suarez's conduct and vowed the Reds will take action against the Uruguay forward, who only last week was said to be mired in controversy by Ferguson.

The United boss has revealed the issue of diving was brought up at the two-day League Managers Association conference at St George's Park earlier in the week.

And, in confirming he was forced to lecture Cristiano Ronaldo about the matter during his early days at Old Trafford, Ferguson feels it is down to the clubs rather than the Football Association to impose their own discipline.

"Do the sanctions come from the club or the FA?" said Ferguson.

"The FA have a problem because is it legal? How can they prove a lad has purposely dived?

"It is very difficult. The FA have always said that. Does it go to the clubs? At the end of the day it probably does.

"We did it with Cristiano. He was only a young boy when he came to us and it took him a couple of years to understand. But after that he was fine."