It’s often referred to as the dark arts of the beautiful game. Last weekend diving, or simulation, to use the technical term, reared its ugly head in the Premier League once again. Fans, players, and pundits alike always seem to get animated when someone goes down too easily to gain an advantage for their side. Yet if you are on the team or support the team that has gained the advantage, the “it’s part of the game” line is trotted out in defence of the player who has taken the dive.
Previously it was always the foreigners to get the blame for importing diving into the English game. Players such as Jurgen Klinsmann and more recently Luis Suarez, Cristano Ronaldo, and Paolo Di Canio have all been known to take a dive now and again. More recently, it’s been Diego Costa who has added his diving expertise to the Premier League for Chelsea.
It’s easy to point the finger of blame at the foreign players and blame them for a problem within the game, yet over the past few years there have been several British players all too willing to join in with the act of simulation, and use the win-at-all-cost mantra.
Ashley Young and Gareth Bale are the most prominent of the players who have gained a reputation for diving; Steven Gerrard is another. This weekend, as alluded to at the start of the article, it was again two British players who took a tumble in the box to gain advantages. Sunderland’s Adam Johnson went down under no contact to gain Sunderland a penalty and a point at home to West Ham. Meanwhile Steve Bruce was incensed as Gary Cahill took a clear dive against his Hull City side and wasn’t cautioned by referee Chris Foy, stopping the England centre-half from being sent off in disgrace.
So what can be done to stop the spread of diving? There are many options, but it would seem retrospective video replay action may be the best way to stop the players from cheating the referee, the fans and their fellow professionals. It would not be difficult for the Premier League to have a three-man panel to sit together on a Monday or Tuesday morning specifically to review the incidents of proposed simulation. Then the panel, who could possibly be made up of a referee, an ex-player and an independent third person, will look at the incidents and decide on suitable punishments. There is no point in fining players for such behaviour as they are already paid extravagant amounts and it wouldn’t be a strong enough punishment to make the player think twice about doing it.
The only feasible punishment is to ban divers for two games; two games is somewhere between a normal sending off offence and that of a three-game ban for violent conduct. Maybe the manager of said player will try to stop his player from doing it if they run the risk of being banned for important games during the season, and the player would maybe think twice about doing it, if he is more likely to be caught and reprimanded by the panel.
It’s definitely a supporter-wide annoyance inside the game; it’s time the governing bodies take a stand and stamp diving out for good.
Article for uMaxit