Santi Cazorla is a great big diver. And so is Gareth Bale. Luis Suarez has dived to win penalties. So has Wayne Rooney. Steven Gerrard once dived to try and win a penalty against Andorra. ANDORRA! Ashley Young hurls himself over defenders like they’re poisonous to the touch.
At every club, players of every nationality are dropping to the ground like marionettes with cut strings. So if you’re already typing, “Oh yeah, but what about...” into the comments box, you’re wasting your time. Everyone does it.
There’s no point blaming the official. If a sofa full of pundits can’t make their minds up on an incident after eight slow motion replays from all angles, then what chance does a referee have in real-time?
You can’t really blame the players either. The line between victory and defeat is so fine and the rewards and repercussions of a result are so great, who wouldn’t attempt to play the system. If a defender is hanging out a foot, why not slide over the top of it, arms outstretched with a forlorn look upon your face? How much do you want to play in the Champions League?
It’s the system that needs to change and it really isn’t that complicated a problem to solve. You can’t do anything about diving during the game, so why not do something after the game?
The Premier League have a ‘dubious goal panel’ who meet on an ad hoc basis to determine whether or not goals are own goals or vice versa. The identity of the panel is kept secret, but it’s widely known to include former players and former managers. Why not just pay them a little more, brew them a little more tea, open another pack of biscuits and keep them in the office to look at the weekend’s dubious dives?
I always thought that West Bromwich Albion’s manager Steve Clarke was a quiet, understated chap, but when he appeared in front of the written press after his team’s defeat at The Emirates, he was fuming. He was rumbling so ominously that, had he been a mountain, the local wildlife would have been fleeing his surrounding forests.
Diving infuriates people. Even if there is a growing, yet begrudging acceptance that ‘it’s part of the modern game,’ it still seems to anger most fans more than a nasty tackle. So why not take action?
There are some alleged ‘dives’ that even TV replays can’t be sure of, but that’s fine. There are some alleged crimes that the judicial system can’t resolve either. If you can’t prove beyond reasonable doubt that the referee has been conned, rule ‘not proven’ and move on. If you can, impose an immediate one match ban. If he’s done it twice in the same game, impose an immediate two match ban. Let’s give the managers a chance to make a legitimate complaint and then provide them with adjudication. If we accept this kind of verdict for goals, why not accept it for dives?
You can moan about Cazorla all you like, as you can for Bale, Suarez and all the rest of them. At some point though, it might be worth doing something about it.
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