Following Luis Suarez‘ controversial dive that led to a penalty for Liverpool during their 2-2 draw with Aston Villa on Saturday, the idea that contact warrants a penalty needs to be cleared up.
It is clear that Premier League fans believe Suarez went down far too easily and effectively dove. BBC’s Match Of The Day poll showed that 69 percent of fans thought it was a dive. But for some reason, the majority of pundits, ex-players and journalists believe Suarez went down justifiably and deserved to draw the penalty.
The main reason seems to that there was contact, so therefore Suarez has the right to throw himself to the floor and for the referee to issue a penalty. The idea that you have to help yourself fall to the ground to win fouls is slightly understandable, but this doesn’t mean Suarez didn’t dive.
It’s a contact sport. You can’t seriously be telling me that the brush of the knee that Villa keeper Brad Guzan gave Suarez was enough to make him fall on his face in a heap. You cannot give a penalty for every contact made — that’s not what a foul is. Guzan clearly moved his arms away from Suarez so that no contact between Suarez and Guzan was made other than the trailing leg, which lightly touched Guzan’s knee.
That’s not a penalty. It wouldn’t be a foul anywhere else on the pitch, so why is a tap on the foot now seen as sufficient reason to throw yourself to the ground? Fouls are penalties. There was no reckless force, so I also disagree with the criticism directed towards Guzan’s choice to come out.
He actually did a good job to avoid making significant contact, which would have made it a foul. But for me and so many other EPL fans, the situation is clear. The contact was so minimal, and it is incredibly obvious that Suarez himself is the reason why he fell to the floor.
I’m sure this will annoy some Liverpool fans, but contact doesn’t automatically warrant a penalty. I don’t see where this idea has come from, and it’s aggravating that those who work in the media strongly defend the act of players throwing themselves to the ground when they get a touch that does not hinder the position they were in. It was a dive and it shouldn’t have been a penalty. The defense for him is embarrassing.