There is no doubt amongst football fans that diving is something we would love to see eliminated from the game. Even if someone from your own team gets away with ‘simulation’ to gain a match winning penalty, it is something that makes us squirm in our seats.
When the rules were changed and yellow-cards were introduced for diving, it was a step forward, but it brought its own pitfalls too. You had players being correctly booked, but also quite a few being unfairly booked (such as Mario Balotelli in a recent game vs Chelsea).
There’s an argument made that diving is one of the fouls that should be dealt with retroactively. There are calls in England for the FA to create a disciplinary panel who can look through a set of games and see if there was any diving, and in retrospect administer a yellow card. Equally they could absolve the innocent of any harshly received yellows.
One of the amusing aspects of diving in the Premier League is that there is still an old-fashioned belief that diving is a foreign disease, brought in by Mediterranean footballers of dubious moral qualities. Now there are so many foreign footballers in England, the poor local lads have no choice but to fling themselves to the ground if only to level the playing field.
Those who still adhere to the foreigners = diving rules, would do well to look at what player has received the most yellow cards in 2012 for diving: Gareth Bale – a strong, quick and British winger. While everyone’s favourite villan: Luis Suarez seems to get most of the headlines (and none of the penalties), Bale is arguably a worse transgressor. Recently, both players have picked up a few unlucky simulation bookings, presumably because their reputation precedes them.
The real shame is that many of the worst divers (Bale, Suarez, Chicarito, Ashley Young) are very gifted players. When Liverpool played Spurs last Wednesday, Bale and Suarez were miles above anyone else on the pitch. It could be argued that diving is a reaction from years of having your ankles kicked.
There seems to be no chance of anything as radical as a disciplinary panel coming in any time soon – but the distate for diving is getting more and more pronounced. As a Spurs fan I am really hoping Bale gets some sense and some self-respect back.
Mark Cruise is a soccer writer for Rantsports. Follow him on Twitter: @chiefhairyman