LONDON – West Ham's Manuel Lanzini has been charged over diving to win a penalty against Stoke City, the second Premier League player to be targeted under new rules aimed at stamping out cheating.
The 24-year-old Argentine went down when challenged by Erik Pieters and West Ham captain Mark Noble converted from the spot to give the visitors a 1-0 lead on Saturday.
Lanzini has until 1800 GMT on Tuesday to respond to the charge, which is officially known as the “successful deception of a match official” -- in this case referee Graham Scott.
“I am a bit surprised because of the incident in the game,” said West Ham manager David Moyes. “The referee was 10 yards from the ball with nothing blocking his vision. It is clear to see the defender makes an attempt to go for the ball and doesn't get it. From my point of view, they are going against the referee, whoever the panel were.”
Lanzini is now set to be suspended for West Ham's League Cup quarter-final against Arsenal on Tuesday, as well their crucial basement battle with Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday.
Moyes said West Ham were considering whether to appeal.
Any appeal would be heard by a separate, independent disciplinary commission and there is no risk of Lanzini's ban being increased if the charge is upheld.
Introduced this season, a simulation charge only comes when there is clear evidence a player has fooled an official into winning a penalty or getting an opponent sent off.
Last month, Everton striker Oumar Niasse was banned for diving to win a penalty in his side's 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.
In Monday's Daily Mail newspaper, ex-referee Graham Poll wrote that he thought Lanzini would avoid a charge, describing it as “a bit of a dive but not an outrageous” one.
The penalty decision infuriated Stoke manager Mark Hughes, who is under intense pressure following the 3-0 home defeat to West Ham, which leaves his side a single point above the Premier League relegation spots.