Wednesday Jan 03, 2018. 15:00
Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has come to the defence of Ivory Coast international Wilfried Zaha, claiming there is an “agenda” against the player in regards to his alleged diving.
The Elephants winger came in for criticism this past weekend after he earned a debatable penalty in Palace’s 0-0 draw with Manchester City.
"There's an agenda against Wilfried Zaha. I don't know why or where it comes from, but it is outrageous to accuse him of being a diver. It’s total nonsense,” Parish told the Daily Mail.
Zaha was investigated by the FA for the incident but has escaped any sanction, backing up Parish’s point of view. However, several pundits in the UK media have criticised the player for ‘going down too easily’.
Parish added: "I'm not sure some of the pundits pointing the finger at Wilf even know the rules. What are they watching?
"The penalty we were awarded against Manchester City on Sunday was nailed on. Wilf can't carry on running. He can't stay up. He's in front of Sterling who pulls his arm and falls on him. Look at the picture. How is that not a penalty?
"It's nonsense to claim he dived. If he could have stayed on his feet, he would have done. Trust me, Wilf is a genuine kid, a genuine player who just loves to play. He is an extraordinary talent.
"He's quick, talented and difficult to stop. But some pundits are determined to cause Wilf problems - maybe Palace, too - and they are costing us penalties.
"No one can say Wilf is a cheat. The reality is he's fouled all the time but he doesn't get 50 per cent of the decisions. It beggars belief that I even have to defend him against these claims.
"I'm not calling for him to be protected, I just want him to receive the same treatment as every other player."