Diving. As soon as you see a player take a spectacular tumble in the box, all eyes move to the referee in the hope that he has realised it was an un-provoked assault. Yet, more often than not the wrong decision is made and what was a dive soon becomes a penalty.
Just how many times have we seen it this season?
By starting off the great scrutiny of diving, the very first person anyone would mention is a certain Liverpool striker, Luis Suarez. His tendency to theatrically go down in the box has caused much uproar in recent times. What's worse is the fact that on some occasions, the Uruguayan has actually been fouled but such is his reputation that referees decide to turn a blind eye.
Robert Huth should have actually been sent off as he stamped on Suarez's chest. But the matter of fact remains that Liverpool's number 9 took an exaggerated fall in the box. This has happened time and time again over the years, with the likes of Ashley Young and more recently Danny Welbeck.
Such is the frailty of a goalkeeper coming out to collect at an opposing player's feet that the slightest touch of their hand will result in said player falling over. In this case Ali Al-Habsi's rash decision to run at Welbeck has seen him penalised for a foul in the box. Replays show there is no actual contact but what does the referee decide? Penalty.
Wigan fans may sit at home angered by the decision and maybe some Red Devils fans may feel it wasn't correct but would you have done the same thing? Every game, the referee gets blamed for making the wrong call or even not handing out enough yellow cards but everyone at home sees replays, the man in the middle only gets one look. And fans seem to forget that.
The most recurrent perpetrator of modern-day diving has to be Gareth Bale. Not only this season but also in the last campaign when he went over under no contact against Arsenal to win a penalty. The Welshman has kept up his antics in the new season as well when he almost blatantly attempted to get Aston Villa's Brad Guzan sent off.
Without receiving any punishment for the dive, the 23-year-old still threatens to repeat it again. As long as he is getting away with these and referees refuse to inform him of his wrongdoing, Bale will feel it is part of the game. Unfortunately, in the recent World Cup Qualifier between Scotland and Wales, the left-footed winger once again went down too easily in the box.
The resulting penalty was scored and another spectacular effort from Bale ended Scottish hopes and gave Wales three vital points. But just how much did they deserve that crucial penalty?
Just like in European competitions, the regulating administrators have decided to add an extra official to stand next to the goal for goal-line incidents. Moreover, they should be analysing these diving issues to ensure the referee does make the correct decision. Diving seems to be a growing problem within the football world and regrettably, not much has been done about it.
Some fans believe yellow cards should be issued on a regular basis but can a player really end up getting sent off as a direct result of a dive? If so, this could be the wake-up call players such as Suarez and Bale need to make football more like a sport and less like a theatre show. The sooner matches are studied and reviewed, the better it will be for English football.
Maybe that day won’t come soon enough.797685