Diving, as controversial as it is in this country, overseas diving has been very present in the game. For years we’ve been saying in this country how proud we are that English players and home grown players don’t dive. But in 2014 diving is now very much part of the English game and part of players games.
How long have we been saying for a defensive player to go down and gain a freekick is good tactics or goes unnoticed, or when an attacker outside the box cleverly attracts a fowl to gain an attacking advantage.
Firstly I’m not promoting diving but we do have to be honest and see that diving and going down to gain an advantage is a tactic around the field, so to see a winger to try and attract a leg or anticipate a tackle, is so outrageous and to damn it, even though it happens all over the field, a lot of the time. An example is Wayne Rooney, against Hull City in December, when United were under the cosh after having Valencia sent off. Rooney went down easily from a tackle by Tom Huddlestone and the pre meditated act gained Rooney the free-kick and took pressure off the defence. Should referees take note and be more alert to this kind of action? Referees have enough to worry about but if diving is to be taken and seen as a big an issue as the media make it and pundits express, then the FA need to be strict and consistent.
Ideas and concepts have been thrown all over the place, such as a sin bin, red cards, and fines. Another has been to look at replays either live or later after the game. All are legitimate suggestions which could all help referees but it could also lead to decisions having to be made several times in a game. Another negative would be if referees got it wrong, teams and games could suffer. Especially when we’ve seen with the United’s youngster, Adnan Januzaj who has been caught out diving on one occasion but in his last 5 cards, 3 have been judged for diving. This sort of stat could potentially give some players an unfairly bad reputation.
Footballers also need to realise how unbelievably stupid they look, and how the credentials of a footballer are dented. Even worse when going down in an already good position, such as Oscar did versus Southampton, when he had an open net and decided to go towards the keeper to gain an unfair advantage and ended up looking like a complete fool.
Sadly we have to realise that diving has become part of our beloved game and until the FA and Premier League start to take action, it’s going to continue to rule the game.