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The Diving Disease

Diving is in the news with the Gary Cahill swallow dive that would only have been clearer if he had been wearing speedos. Diving is not simulation, it not feigning, it's diving, it's the cheating we don't want to see from any player, our own or opposition players, but are the authorities actually doing anything to stop it?

The answer has to be a resounding no because they are paying lip service to it. As Gary Neville points out in the video below, if you stay on your feet you are highly unlikely to get a penalty, if you go down you might.

Let's dispel this daft myth we hear from some experts, why would he go down if there wasn't contact, he had a scoring chance. A penalty is more likely to end in a goal and get a player sent off so there is much more to be gained by hitting the deck than staying on his feet and having a shot, they the player may not even be confident about.

Referees decide the result of games by their red card choices, we see that time and time again  but when it comes to a home player diving who is already on a yellow, then they suddenly keep their card in their pocket. A total lack of consistency and the measures Howard Webb outlines aren't really addressing the problem.

I would think shirt pulling has decreased for corners this season but you still rarely get a penalty for it so for a defender you are more than likely going to get away scott free with it. A player staying on his feet again is highly unlikely to receive a penalty so what is his incentive to stay on his feet? He doesn't have one, the benefits of falling over are too great so we have players now falling over all the time.

There was a comment from Luis Van Gaal early in the season that summed the situation up for me, after Ashley Young I think it was went over. The Manchester United manager said roughly, he touched him so it's a penalty. What had happened was one foot had touched another but with such minimal contact that there was no way a grown man should fall over. Young went over deliberately to try to win a penalty, that was clear. Harry Kane has been doing a little too much of it in recent games.

Commentators, ans Alan Hansen used to do it all the time, see contact and therefore say penalty, we have to get away from that. The public, players, media all need to be re-educated that contact does not necessarily mean a penalty. A foul means a penalty, contact doesn't but until penalties are given for players who try to stay on their feet, players will always fall over.

With European football though referees have to be able to referee the game the same the world over and not have different interpretations in different countries, that means any direction has to come from UEFA and we don't want Michel Platini getting his hands on the rules, he is the one who wanted this game with less tackling.


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