Be a man and stay on your feet! How to stop the divers?

Please note that this is not a post where I will ‘name and shame’ habitual divers and talk about how disgusted I am by diving.

I will also not be talking about diving in relation to cultural differences/what is culturally acceptable in different parts of the world or try and talk about how to stop diving in the game through educating the young who play football; although, looking into both of these issues and other issues in great detail and finding methods of getting through to young players and solutions to breaking cultural barriers, will help to decrease diving from occurring in football matches in the future and can have long term benefits, but we need to focus on the ‘here and now’.

If a player chooses to dive that is his choice, however this player should be punished for his actions and/or the ‘would be’ victim of a successful dive and his team should be given some sort of advantage and this is what this discussion post is about. 

‘Be a man and stay on your feet’

The famous ‘Archer’s bow’ in action.  This is probably the most obvious sign of simulation as this action is contradictory to normal reflex mechanisms e.g. putting you hands out in front of yourself in a fall to protect yourself.’

Simulation (diving) is an attempt by a player to gain an unfair advantage by diving to the ground and possibly faking an injury, while exaggerating the amount of contact made in a tackle by an opposing player (if there has been contact at all) to make it appear as a foul has been committed, in an effort to provide a goal scoring opportunity for himself and his team, by deceiving the referee in the hope of receiving free kicks (in dangerous areas) and penalty kicks as well as getting players booked and/or sent off.

The football rule book currently states that any attempts made by players to deceive a referee by pretending to have been fouled and/or feigning injury must be sanctioned as behaviour which is unsporting and equates as misconduct and is punishable by a yellow card (an official caution).

Numerous studies into diving have identified many traits which are recognised and can easily be seen when a player dives. These common traits are:

1) Lack of ballistic continuity, which is where the player diving moves across the pitch at a distance further than the distance that would normally be expected in relation to the momentum from the tackle.

2) Lack of contact consistency, which is where a player will ‘nurse’ any part of his body, apart from the actual part of his body where the impact from the tackle occurred.

3) A separation in the time between the impact (from the tackle) and the simulation.

4) A player taking up the ‘Archer’s bow’ pose which is where the head is tilted back, the chest is thrust forward, both arms are raised and both legs are bent at the knee to lift both feet off the ground to the rear.

Further studies and research have shown that simulation is more prevalent in leagues where simulation gets the highest rewards. With the current benefits of diving outweighing the costs of diving, the most effective way to decrease the level of simulation in football is to increase the punishment served to those who choose to participate in the act of simulation, as well as helping and aiding referees in their ability to detect simulation.

When it comes to diving I am just quite frankly sick of diving. I am so sick of it that it does not even make me angry or disgusted with the player who has dived. Instead I pity him. You should have respect for your fellow footballers and even if you do not (and there are quite a few) you should have respect for yourself. Diving means you do not.

I can talk about numerous incidents where a dive has screwed over a team and prevented them from getting a draw, a win or progressing in a tournament but I will not do so, as I would be here all day.

Let’s not dwell on the past but look forward and see how we can punish those who dive in football matches. So what punishments could be put in place for those who are found guilty of diving during a match, and after a match has finished?

I’ll start us off with some suggestions to get your juices flowing and then you guys can get involved.

Bans imposed for players who repeatedly dive.

Players who repeatedly dive get suspended. For instance a player caught diving twice in a season would get a one match ban, a player caught diving more than two times in a season would get a two match ban etc.

Teams who have a player or a number of players who repeatedly dive are deducted points.

Some sort of time out could be put in place for players caught diving in a game.

This would really motivate teams to make sure that their players do not dive and receive a punishment that is harsh enough to deter them from diving again.

Any player caught diving by the referee in a match would be given a yellow card and made to leave the pitch temporarily for a period of time e.g. 10 minutes, leaving his team to play with ten men for this period of time.

Teams could be given a challenge which they could use at any point in the match.

How this would work is that both teams are given one challenge which they can use at any time in a match. This would allow teams to question a referee’s decision on a foul (deemed by the team to be harsh or wrong) which results in a free kick or penalty kick for the opposing team or a booking (either yellow or red card) for one of their players. This would not really be a punishment for the offender but would render the offender’s action pointless. The offender could then also be given a yellow card for his actions.

This would not take too much time and cause too much of a disruption to a game. Experts and former referees have said that the option of an instant replay looking at a challenge or potential dive could be looked at several times and analysed by referees and officials in a matter of seconds, which is enough time for a decision to be made.

What rules and regulations would you put in place now to try and combat the problem of simulation?

Any ideas of punishments/or advantages for the team targeted by diving I thought of, and want you guys to think of, should be realistic, but should also be harsh enough to make potential offenders think twice before deciding to dive.

Additional thoughts relating to the topic of diving which I might not have discussed are also welcome.

Written by: AFC.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Be a man and stay on your feet! How to stop the divers?

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for a fine discussion post, AFC, and good to have you back writing a post for BK.

    Diving is indeed horrible and yet I can understand why it happens to some extent. The notion of winning is everything for top sportsmen makes it very tempting to cheat in order to get there. Can we really blame them for wanting to win badly and cheat a bit in the process?

    I like it that we are really hard on unsporting behaviour in England, though. Fans and pundits condemn it but more and better punishment is required, and your measures might all be effective. Rather than just the diver, I would also punish the club he plays for by deducting points retrospectively; and any points deducted should be given to the team that became the victim of diving (if that team lost points as a result of it). If and when this happens to a club, they will always ensure their players are strongly instructed never to dive going forward, as the risks are too high.

  2. AB says:

    Hi AFC. I totally share your frustration with this modern plague. I think the answer is post-match reviews and punitive bans for players ‘convicted’ of diving. Not my idea this one, but I do think it would fix matters quite quickly. I don’t think there is an in-game mechanism. But players know everything they do is captured on film, and usually from all angles. If they knew a dive would be scrutinised by a panel of ex-pros after the game, they would soon enough learn that it was not worth it. I would love to see this sorted; the prima donna nonsense of players today (especially the big strapping ones) is quite nauseating, as well as plain cheating and changing the rightful results of games.

  3. AB says:

    Hi TA. I think a 3 match ban for diving would be more than enough punishment for clubs. And they would soon enough be coming down on their own players for feigning injury etc. I would love to see this given a chance to strip out all the flimsy stuff – and they should be asked to watch a bit of rugby as part of their ‘treatment’ to shame them for being such tarts!

  4. AB says:

    Come on JB. The longer the sulk the harder it is to get back – its not worth it mate and will never make you feel any better. We all know you love this site; get back and on with it.

  5. AFC says:

    TA, always a pleasure to write for BK. 🙂

    As I said in my post there needs to be deterrents put in place by FIFA to stop players from diving.

    As much as I think diving is just stupid if players want to dive let them. But let’s just make sure they are punished when they do.

    Deducting points from teams will really make sure clubs do not condone diving. I am sure there are many clubs who go by the ‘well, done just make sure you do not get caught again’ notion when it comes to diving.

    When clubs realise that diving will affect their chance of staying in the league, qualifying for the CL, winning the EPL and potentially losing millions clubs will get serious and make sure their players do not dive.

  6. AFC says:

    Hi AB, thanks for your thoughts. 🙂

    It would be very hard to implement in game punishments like a time out so I can see why you would want the review method. I do think that is FIFA wanted to they could go down the Rugby, Cricket route and review footage at the time but your method seems the easiest to implement.

    Question to you: would you want the panel be made up of a combination of ex-players and ex-refs or just ex-players?

  7. AFC says:

    TA, back to your question. We cannot really blame them although there does seem to be some players who do not lower themselves to such a level. The problem is in an important match where players have to make a decision that could win the game in a split second they could easily be tempted to take the easy option and fall to the ground.

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed AB, a three match ban would go a long way. But it is also important to rebalance the damage done to the victim… the club who lost out as a result of cheating (a player sent off, penalty given which led to/contributed to loss of points, which, especially towards the end of the season, can be very costly…

    But I do believe this is all a lot harder to put into practice than we think it is. That is why it is good to discuss this today.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    All agreed AFC.

  10. AFC says:

    This seems a bit extreme but I would give the victim of a dive and his team a free kick in the same position where the dive happened but on the opposite end of the pitch. If a player dives on the edge of the victim’s box the victim should get a free kick on the edge on the edge of the offenders box.

    This will never happen though. 😀

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    I like it AFC! 🙂

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Gotta go guys, catch you in the morning. 🙂

  13. AFC says:

    Night TA. 🙂

  14. AB says:

    AFC. I would go for a mix – enough to avoid the risk (or perception perhaps) of team loyalty and bias entering the equation.

    TA – you are right of course, but the cure is to kill this of at source. It might not help the teams affected whilst it is bedding in, but once on place I think it would serve all teams equally – by simply putting stop to the practice. I doubt players think and judge the situation on a case by case basis – currently they just know that the ‘smart’ thing to do is to go down. Change the default mindset, and 99% of the practice will go with it.

    I know I am writing as though its easy to fix – I’m quite sure its not. I guess the politics and working with the clubs to agree an approach would be incredibly fraught. But it would be great if someone could really try and tackle it.

  15. AFC says:

    AB, stopping diving would also make it harder for people to carry out match fixing as well. Not sure to which degree but this could make FIFA want to act on diving.

  16. jozefos2013 says:

    I think FIFA need to be decisive on this one. Last I checked they didn’t have to work with clubs to implement their reforms to the laws of the game (I don’t remember many people being happy with the new pass back law when it first came in, for instance).

    AFC I agree that an eye for an eye would be brilliant, if this approach were adopted however, I might even go a step further and say automatic penalty kick to the wronged team. Speaking of this idea as a fait accompli though, do that and you can’t ban players retrospectively. I’ve said for a long time that if a player is shown to have dived, an automatic three game ban would soon stop players from diving, and I’m with AB on this one.

    Accepting that football has turned into a game for fairies who can’t take a bit of rough and tumble, perhaps lesser simulation (ie what Robben – the smug tosser – did on Tuesday, when there was a flicker of contact) could attract smaller (possibly worldwide) bans…then if you go down like you’ve been shot when a defender breathes on you in the penalty box and the ref falls for it, although you still get a penalty your team may still lose out in the medium (i.e. beyond this game) term.

    My hair-brained approach to lesser simulation is complicated by the whole avoiding injury thing though. I hated it when Cashley (and even Bobby on occasion if I remember correctly) would dive over a leg and end up on the floor, but he could legitimately argue that if he hadn’t taken evasive action he would have got injured. You couldn’t organise a hearing every time a player wanted to argue self-preservation.

    Cricket fans don’t want to see ball tampering – I happen to believe stopping lower order players from batting (or striking any runs they had already gained from the scorecard) would be better than docking the odd few runs, rugby fans don’t want to see fake blood (I thought the RFU’s sanctions were suitable in that case) and football fans don’t want to see diving, even from their own team – nobody here likes it when Arsenal players cheat: even though FIFA’s actions will not and probably could not solve the problem, they have to do something – they should at least be seen to do something – to acknowledge to the billions of football fans across the globe that diving is a blight on the modern game.

  17. Milo says:

    Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Arsene Wenger, are you listening??? Doubt it. This is the one thing that could potentially hinder my ability to love and defend football wholeheartedly. I think with players not being allowed to tackle from behind or with two feet, the risk of injury has been minimized. How much I cannot say with any certainty. The players that we have had that have been seriously injured from dirty tackles like Eduardo, Ramsey, Diaby etc, probably couldn’t avoid this because they either didn’t anticipate it, see the danger, or were trying to recover possession and might have ignored the risk. In short, you cannot avoid what you do not, or refuse to see. I don’t buy the avoiding injury scenario for a second.

    Wenger was spot on for exposing Robben for what he is, but I haven’t seen him lambaste one of his own players through the media or in private (which the media could get wind of anyway) for diving or feigning injury. You could point out that he reprimanded Theo Walcott for a diving incident, but if memory serves me correctly, that didn’t happen until after Theo had publicly admitted his mistake.

    You have to assume that the opposition will always dive or cheat, but if you want things to change for the better, sometimes you have to change what you have control over. Our club hierarchy could take the initiative and even make it public, and see what kind of reaction it receives. I am sick of seeing our “small technical players” go down at the slightest of contact or pressure.

    Maybe we should clean our closet first, before we worry about the rest of the World.

    I might be way off, and if we are clean, yet no one else is, then in the end we will never benefit on the field. I actually have no idea if two wrongs do not make a right. Still, I am sick of yelling at the television to “get up” and “stop whining”. It makes me feel ashamed of our players, our manager, and our club.

  18. Domhuail says:

    AFC….great discussion points! I am firmly convinced that a three pronged attack on this behaviour would work, as follows:

    1) The use of video replays before a referee decides what to do. In consultation with his/her assistant referee, he or she could decide If it was simulation and if so, what to do.

    2) Train the referees, their assistants and the managers and players more effectively in identifying and the consequences of simulation.

    3) Increase the punishment for simulation. It is currently a cautionable offense and an indirect free kick but i would recommend that it remain a cautionable offence but become a direct free kick and that a repetition in any future games would accumulate up to a 2-3 game suspension.

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes Milo, you are way off. Arsenal players seldom or never dive. There have been a few isolated incidents, merely demonstrating our players are human too. Did they do it again? No.

    Re Jack: he is protecting himself by emphasising the continuous assaults made on him. Every team knows that when Jack has the ball he can hurt them, or they can hurt us by turning him over, hence they go in hard on him. And he has not got the body to take these continuous blows and I reckon he has a low pain threshold. But feigning he does not.

  20. AFC says:

    Hi Joze, thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

    We could definitely punish those who blatantly dive adequately but there is a grey area which you mention in regard to players claiming they dived to avoid injury. In these situations I would leave the ref to make a decision if the player was in harm just like the ref can decide whether a handball is deliberate or not. Much harder I know but could be done.

    Although I hardly know the sanctions put in place in rugby and cricket I know that in Rugby and Cricket video footage can be looked at to aid the ref in making decisions.

    FIFA do have to something whether they want or not. FIFA are also not harsh enough on those found guilty of racial abuse or violent conduct.

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    The bigger issue here is why are the football bodies not improving their product by ironing out inconsistencies and bad practice through the use of technologies and better processes? Every company looks at this continuously.

    They seem to prefer a significant level of ambiguity in the game to putting the systems in place to make the game, and it’s outcomes, as fair as possible.

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning AFC 🙂 early wakie wakie for you! 🙂

  23. AFC says:

    Hi Milo, thanks for sharing your views. 🙂

    Sanctions put in place for all teams will make sure that players from teams (including ours) do not dive and be adequately punished if they do.

    If some players are getting away with diving why would they other players not want to dive?

    Same goes for teams really, why tell of your player for the world to see when other teams do not? Wenger telling off any of our players who dive via the media will not stop players from other teams diving. It will do more bad than good for us and the problem of diving will not go away.

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    AB 🙂

    I was talking for us all, most definitely including myself, when I said it is a lot harder to implement than we think. Human behaviour is hard to determine, influence and control and it all needs to be thought through carefully.

  25. AFC says:

    Hi Domhuail thanks for sharing your ideas and all agreed.

    Awarding a direct free kick to the team targeted by a dive could help. In game sanctions will also expose to a diver to everyone in the stadium as well.

  26. AFC says:

    Hi TA 🙂

    That is a very good question and I can only suggest that the people at the top do not want change unless absolutely necessary. It took them years to bring in goal line technology, which many people were against and it could take them years to improve the diving situation.

    It could be related to financial reasons but I doubt it.

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    It could be AFC, but they are stinking rich already. I reckon it is to do with power as in showing everyone who is boss. Frankly, it is pathetic.

  28. AFC says:

    TA, let’s link diving to crime for a moment.

    Crime will also occur only when the pros for the potential offender outweigh the cons. Harsher sentences for criminals who commit crimes will make potential offenders doubt if carrying out a specific crime is actually worth the punishment they could receive. Increased sentences is a deterrent but deterrents which are also visible to people in the place where they want to carry out crime e.g. CCTV also decrease crime rates.

    Footballers do not really care that they can be seen by hundreds of cameras in a stadium as they know these cameras will not be used to charge them of diving. What needs to happen is that the sentence for diving needs to be so harsh that it outweighs the potential benefits.

  29. AFC says:

    And cameras need to be called into action when it comes to suspected dives.

  30. AFC says:

    TA, could it be the corruption of power at the top. Maybe some people at the top are benefiting from the diving and cheating that happens in football. In the lower leagues cheating in relation to match fixing is very high as footballers can be paid money much higher than they would receive as pay and the organisers can make huge amounts of money. People at the top could be involved in this although I would like to think not.

    If they put harsher sanctions in place for those found guilty of diving less footballers would want to participate in diving and cheating leading to loss of money.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Let’s hope there is no such corruption of power, AFC. But power is an issue here.

  32. Gerry says:

    Good morning all, back briefly. At least I did not come away from Cheltenham with as much grief a lot of jockeys, and with much regret, some horses. A small profit and valuable research is in the bag..

    AFC – I like the sentiments behind the post, but unless technology is used to its maximum it will always go on.

    i also think you are wrong when you say stiffer penalties deter. The facts never support that …
    death penalty excluded, which again only works on that individual. The reason is simple, criminals, sports players of all types, if they are so inclined to cheat they will do so because they never think THEY will be the ones caught out.

    Let me give you an example in cricket. Ball tampering has been a grey are area for a long time, even after the TV cameras were present. It was only when close up action was caught on film, and a few high profile names were caught, that you never hear of it any more. At least not at top level.

    That is the key. The only real deterrent is the certainty of being caught. Football has a lot of catching up to do in this regard. In particular, big screen replays shown to all. If a player faces a double time ban for asking for a replay and found to be wrong, the whole questioning of a referee or his assistants would rapidly disappear. That would also apply to length out if ‘sin bins’ are introduced. This I would like to see for foul tackles that cause injuries, for example?

    The real grey areas are when players genuinely believe they are innocent. Quite often in appealing for corners and throw ins, at the minor end, and penalties an hand ball incidents at the other. In which case the referee should be allowed, as in Rugby League, to call up the big screen replay just to be sure the decision is fair. In this day of technology it hardly takes any longer than the heated protests?

  33. AFC says:

    Gerry, good to see you back. 🙂

    You might have a point regarding deterrents and harsher punishments not being as effective as the ‘certainty of bring caught’ measure. Problem is FIFA is less likely to implement such measures and harsher punishments and deterrents might be as far as FIFA are prepared to go and could come before the ‘certainty of being caught’ measures.

    I would really like to see replays used. An instant replay would allow refs to clearly see what has gone on. Technology can be used in a number of different incidents as you point out.

  34. AB says:

    Chelski lose to Villa – sheer joy!

  35. Dylan says:

    City looked tired, uninterested, and not unified this morning, now Chelsea lose to Villa. Can Arsenal win the title after all? 😉

  36. AB says:

    A win for us tomorrow and the odds will shift back significantly. But we will have to perform now against the very top sides, and do so with a lot of key player absences. Hope remains!

  37. Admir says:

    Hello, people! 🙂

    AFC, very deep article. Congratulations! My view on diving is simple – it’s cheating. I gave a half-mark-less rating to Santi due to his dive against WBA last season.

    Anyway, just one thing: Chelsea lost to Villa and had two of their players sent off. Their next league match is against us. In 2011 they lost 1:0 on their trip to Loftus Road and had two of their players sent off. Then, they played us and lost at home 5:3. 😉 I’m just sayin’…

  38. AFC says:

    Admir, thanks. 🙂

    Thanks for giving us hope Admir. History kind of normally repeats itself with things like this. Let’s hope we can beat Chelsea when we play them. 🙂

  39. Dylan says:

    Giroud reportedly being told to get a move back to France by his wife, just a short while after being seen with a big time agent. He seems to be on his way out. Costa as his replacement + a pacey striker in the summer? 😉

  40. AFC says:

    Dylan, when it comes to Arsenal and transfers- do not believe nothing until you see it. I can never see Wenger selling Giroud and if he did we would then need to buy two STs.

    Off to bed now. See you later. 🙂

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

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