Diving In Sport
The topic of diving in sport has again come into focus since the 2014 World Cup began on June 12th. Some analysts have said that diving in now entrenched in Football and no matter what you do to eradicate it from the sport it may never fully leave the game. In the past 24 hours we have seen Arjen Robben say he dived during the Netherlands vs Mexico last 16 tie. He also claimed he did not dive to win the crucial penalty that saw the Netherlands through to the quarter finals of the World Cup.
Since the World Cup started we have again seen a number of decisions made off the back of some questionable “Fouls”. Not everybody who goes to ground are guilty of diving but after hearing Arjen Robben last night say that yes he did in fact dive in the game. Does this mean that he could be sanctioned after admitting to diving during the game.
This may not happen, but it does open the argument for dealing with this in retrospect. Will FIFA have the “Balls” to deal with this if it happens again? It is refreshing in a strange way to hear a player admitting to diving in the game. We often hear players saying that they did not dive to win free kicks and penalties but after Arjen Robben last night admitted to doing this we know that it does happen quite often.
This could be detrimental to the rest of his career because he has now openly admitted to diving in a game. Will we now see most if not all referees taking a second or third look at every move that Robben makes in and around the box.
It will again open the debate for a third official behind either goal which as we know was trialled in European games this season. FIFA do not want to go down the route of a Television Match Official to help make decisions like this. But again we are talking about a suspected “Diving” case instead of talking about the game between the Netherlands and Mexico.
To come away from football and to move to another sport that has seen a rise in “Diving” cases, Rugby Union has seen a fair share of these incidents in the last 18 months or so, with Bismark Du Plessis and Bryan Habana guilty of “diving” to have an opponent sin binned in different games. Rugby Union seems to be better equipped to deal with these cases on the field than Football at the moment.
You have referees who will tell the player in no uncertain terms to get up and get on with the game. In Football the referee does not have the same authority as he or she has in Rugby Union. They are two different sports but the discipline levels are worlds apart. In Football you can touch the referee and say what you like, but it is very different in Rugby Union. From an early age you are taught to respect the match official and understand that what he or she says goes.
Diving is a massive problem in Football, is it purely down to the pressure that is on the players in every game to win or is it a deeper problem and will it ever leave the game. It is not just happening at elite level. It also happens at grass root level which is not good to hear. We in Ireland seem to think that the game at grass roots level is perfect and that this does not happen but unfortunately it does happen!!
One solution that could be brought in at elite level that would eradicate “Diving” is severe penalties be they financial or by long term suspension. Yes this is a black and white solution but what else can the powers that be do the help get rid of” diving” from the game that the world adores.
Cian Mc Gibney.