We need to talk about diving at the World Cup

Benjamin Conkey Editor

By Benjamin Conkey, Benjamin Conkey is a Roar Editor

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205 Have your say

    The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) has made headlines for controversial moments at the World Cup but what really should be a focus is the blatant simulation taking place in almost every game.

    Unfortunately, it’s the reason Australians have never fully embraced the world game and it’s hard for football fans to justify why it happens and in such embarrassing fashion.

    Football is not alone in staging for free kicks and penalties.

    The AFL and NRL has been under the microscope for players putting a bit of mayo on to get a favourable call.

    The thing is though that AFL and NRL fans condemn even the slightest inclination of staging or simulation. Just ask Richmond’s Alex Rance on the backlash he’s received.

    Some of Rance’s apparent staging has absolutely nothing on what we’ve witnessed in the first week of the World Cup.

    France had a good crack at it against the Socceroos and Luis Suarez went down like he was shot at the end of Uruguay’s first group match.

    Brazil’s Neymar is another serial flop offender.

Then there’s Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo who demanded that the referee go to the VAR for a penalty against Morocco. Replays showed he was tackled by the air and commentator Martin Tyler couldn’t hide his disgust at the tournament’s leading goalscorer.

    His teammate Pepe then produced the worst simulation of the tournament so far after a tap on the back by a Morocco player. The way he fell down was the most embarrassing moment of the World Cup and yet his actions went unpunished.

    You can understand why referees are reluctant to give yellow cards for simulation for fear of getting it wrong, but something needs to be done.

    Surely, the VAR can have a word in the referee’s ear after a moment of simulation and tell the official to give said player a warning? If it happens again in the match then a yellow card must be issued.

    The other option is to have a review into these instances after the matches and suspend serial offenders.

    The rest of the on-field action has been fantastic but these simulation acts need to be stamped out of the game. It’s been going on for far too long.

We all remember Rivaldo’s effort in the 2002 World Cup. That moment right then was when FIFA should have acted.

    Instead, simulation has been allowed to fester.

    The other aspect I find interesting is that few players and coaches call out other teams for diving. It’s become so insidious that it’s just something that football puts up with.

    The worst part is that kids are watching their heroes carry on like this and copying it in junior football.

    If Ronaldo and Neymar do it then of course, the next generation will believe it’s the way to play the game.

    Thanks to the VAR, technically diving won’t decide a penalty at this tournament but it could still decide a game if the ref gives a free kick outside the box for mistaking simulation for a foul.

    Maybe a moment like this needs to happen for FIFA to act.

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    The Crowd Says (205)

    • June 21st 2018 @ 11:23am
      Bobbo7 said | June 21st 2018 @ 11:23am | ! Report

      Agree. If video shows clear simulation the player should get a 6 month ban from all competitions.

      Love really like football but I get so angry watching grown men thrashing around like fish out of water because someone brushed their shoulder. It is pathetic and really takes something away from the great sport.

      • Roar Rookie

        June 21st 2018 @ 6:05pm
        Pedro The Fisherman said | June 21st 2018 @ 6:05pm | ! Report

        Not sure about a 6 month ban but it is beyond me how a Yellow isn’t issued when it is a blatant dive (and we can all see it via VAR)???

        • Roar Rookie

          June 23rd 2018 @ 8:32am
          The Phantom Commissioner said | June 23rd 2018 @ 8:32am | ! Report

          I think points deduction for the team they play for is more fitting. If a player dives and the team wins a game of football because of it he will be lauded. If the team gets punished he wont he very popular in the stands or at training i can tell you.

    • June 21st 2018 @ 11:35am
      Damo said | June 21st 2018 @ 11:35am | ! Report

      FIFA should apply post match yellows to simulation. That’ll stop it pretty quickly. You could dive 4 times in a match and end up with a 2 match ban.

      • June 21st 2018 @ 12:54pm
        soapit said | June 21st 2018 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

        seems like a simple solution doesnt it. should have been dpne years ago

      • Roar Guru

        June 21st 2018 @ 2:41pm
        JamesH said | June 21st 2018 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

        Exactly, it wouldn’t interrupt the game but it would stamp out the worst simulation pretty quickly.

      • June 21st 2018 @ 6:09pm
        Mark said | June 21st 2018 @ 6:09pm | ! Report

        The worst simulation could be stamped out pretty quickly if FIFA and governing bodies had the courage to implement a system of retrospective punishment and stick with it. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. Most have put it in the too hard basket, and those that have tried to act have backed down in the face of appeals from guilty players.

        What I would also like to see is an offence of ‘gross simulation’ added, which would cover incidents where contact is fabricated or grossly exaggerated, with the intent of getting an opposing player sent off. It should be considered serious foul play and punishable by a red card.

    • June 21st 2018 @ 11:38am
      The Joy Of X said | June 21st 2018 @ 11:38am | ! Report

      Diving and feigning agony is not limited to the World Cup.

      It is widespread through all professional and amateur levels of soccer, world-wide. It is part of soccer culture, and widely “accepted” in soccer by the fans, though they will usually moan and complain for a short time after such incidents go against their team (As Australian fans bitterly complained after the Italian, Totti, crumpled in the 2006 game against Australia)

      The Australian players at World Cups, however, to their credit, don’t usually do it. I suspect they have more self respect -but also, don’t want to attract the ignominy it would attract in Australia.

      Only cards and post match suspensions can eradicate these absurd floppers. Especially with the VAR, it could easily be eliminated. I don’t understand why soccer authorities tolerate this flopping.

    • Roar Rookie

      June 21st 2018 @ 11:52am
      Mattician6x6 said | June 21st 2018 @ 11:52am | ! Report

      Pepe and cr were embarrassing last night

      • June 21st 2018 @ 12:12pm
        punter said | June 21st 2018 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

        I’d rather concentrate on CR’s goal, where he put his head to where boots were flying.

        • Roar Rookie

          June 21st 2018 @ 12:24pm
          Mattician6x6 said | June 21st 2018 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

          If the article was about that or Morocco butchered chances I’d have commented on it but as cr demanded the var on his intentional act to try and draw a foul it will be scrutinized.

          • Roar Guru

            June 21st 2018 @ 2:43pm
            JamesH said | June 21st 2018 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

            Yeah that was beyond the pale. “Hey ref, why don’t you have a look at my dive on the video replay?”

            • June 21st 2018 @ 3:22pm
              Kangas said | June 21st 2018 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

              Diving is just wrong

              I hate it
              Give them long suspensions

        • June 21st 2018 @ 3:42pm
          Kangas said | June 21st 2018 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

          How’s Russia punter

          I think we can win this game v Denmark .

    • June 21st 2018 @ 11:55am
      iron fist said | June 21st 2018 @ 11:55am | ! Report

      Sure Rivaldo over reacted, but the idiot didn’t have to kick the ball towards him in that manner either. Newton summed it up scientifically when he stated ‘for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.’ Although, when humans are involved, the reaction can be a bit over the top.

    • June 21st 2018 @ 11:55am
      Swampy said | June 21st 2018 @ 11:55am | ! Report

      Can we just move on from this. In every case you described the referee ignored the player’s flopping and no one was disadvantaged. It’s so entrenched in cultures in a way we Australians just do not understand.

      As far as Australians not committing to the game, there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Junior registrations showing massive numbers, ratings for the world cup off the scale, merchandise sales are through the roof.

      Time to accept the game for what it is and enjoy.

      • June 21st 2018 @ 12:02pm
        punter said | June 21st 2018 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

        Thank you, great reply. I personally do not like diving, but in some cultures this is accepted and I’ve accepted this is part of the game, even though I don’t like it. We just have to move on from it. In AFL and NRL you only dealing with one culture, hence the difference.

        • June 21st 2018 @ 12:07pm
          mad monk said | June 21st 2018 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

          Agree, non issue. The intent of VAR is to render diving ineffective. I have seen no evidence of any grand deception at this world cup.

          • June 21st 2018 @ 12:37pm
            Brian said | June 21st 2018 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

            exactly I don’t recall an incorrect penalty or red card due to it. More apparently tuned in to the France game then the AFL Grand Final so I’d hardly say Australians are not embracing football

            • June 21st 2018 @ 12:56pm
              LC said | June 21st 2018 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

              There’s nothing bigger in sport than the World Cup and Australians have proven that fact with 3.4 million tuning in at some point to SBS for the Socceroos clash against France on Saturday night. Despite four other major sporting codes all being played at the same time.

              How big will the ratings be when Australians embrace the game?

              • Roar Guru

                June 21st 2018 @ 3:19pm
                BA Sports said | June 21st 2018 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

                They are embracing an event, not the game otherwise the ratings would be the same everytime the Socceroos took to the field. It’s just like the Melbourne Cup.

              • June 21st 2018 @ 3:25pm
                Nemesis said | June 21st 2018 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

                The Event is being broadcast between 10pm & 6am on the East Coast of Australia. When the RL World Cup, RU World Cup, Cricket World Cup, Cricket Ashes are played in the middle of the night do Aussies embrace those events?

              • June 21st 2018 @ 3:41pm
                Kangas said | June 21st 2018 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

                Nemesis punter Chris

                Enjoy the game tonight, I’m optimistic about this game

                Arzani with the winner for Australia

              • June 21st 2018 @ 5:31pm
                chris said | June 21st 2018 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

                Thanks Kanga. Im thinking Cahill could be the man. Just a gut feeling. Getting very tense. Aussies outnumber the Danes at least : )

        • June 21st 2018 @ 1:06pm
          haymother said | June 21st 2018 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

          Its not a non-issue because it does/can decide games, especially with frees outside the box where VAR would not be used, and yellow/red cards. The non-issue is the Australian complaint that football suffers here as there is more diving than in other codes. There is no reason why FIFA or any other federation needs to give a shit about how our domestic code is travelling compared to rugby or AFL.
          Still, to say its a non-issue is to admit defeat. Generally fans don’t like it, they accept it because officials do nothing about it, and they love the game regardless. That does not mean that the game is perfect and that nothing can be done about clear cheating. Its an indictment on the game, and a blight on the game, that this attitude of ‘who cares’ from some fans exists. As one of the other posters comments, post game video review and a 2 or 3 match ban will stamp it out … without games being ruined by refs stuffing up 50/50 calls.
          More than anything diving is boring as it often slows the game down. It also allows corruption … officials just need that little bit of play acting for them to make a game changing ruling.
          TBH, saying diving does not matter is just a bit of defensiveness isn’t it, football fans gets sick of comparisons with other sports in this country. But surely you’d love to see it stamped out? And yes, I know why it happens in South and Latin America (poverty breeding survival at all costs instincts, official corruption is rife .. do whatever you can to get ahead, be smart.clever blah blah). I don’t care if they dive in their junior clubs, but once these guys get rich and enter the big leagues all the excuses can get stuffed as far as I am concerned.

        • June 21st 2018 @ 2:32pm
          Jarijari said | June 21st 2018 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

          Yeh, it’s a kulcha thing. Let’s just brush over that nasty aspect of the game. There we go, it’s all bee-ootiful again.

      • June 21st 2018 @ 1:03pm
        Fadida said | June 21st 2018 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

        I think the author believes because AFL and RL fans don’ embrace the game that the rest of the country doesn’t. All of the stats show he,’s clearly wrong.

        Diving is is cultural. Australians don’t really do it, neither do the English. Given that football is easily the biggest game in the world it’s clear that diving doesn’t stop the world embracing the game.

        • June 21st 2018 @ 1:19pm
          George said | June 21st 2018 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

          Rooney, Gerrard, Young = habitual divers.

          • June 21st 2018 @ 1:52pm
            Fadida said | June 21st 2018 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

            “don’t really don’t”. I didn’t say they never do it, but undoubtedly it’s not as frequent

          • Roar Rookie

            June 21st 2018 @ 3:50pm
            The Phantom Commissioner said | June 21st 2018 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

            So how come football wasn’t embraced here in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s? Diving in England was basically non existent yet the game faced even more vitriol from the usual suspects.

        • June 21st 2018 @ 1:20pm
          AGO74 said | June 21st 2018 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

          It’s an unnecessary part of the game, but alas it is present. For the most part it doesn’t have an effect on a game but yes unfortunately there will be some instances where it is successful. Like any sport, football has its imperfections. This is clearly one of them.

          It’s funny though even when there isn’t diving, people still latch onto something and say it happens – e.g. some still claim that Griezmann dived the other night against Australia. This is clearly wrong. Griezman is at full stretch/speed. If you’ve ever played a game of any sport where ankle tapping can occur either intentionally/unintentionally (e.g. soccer, league or oztag) you will most likely go sprawling in a massive heap and with no control even with what appears to be only the smallest of touches.

          Pleasingly for those reading this article who claim diving is the reason they can’t watch football, you’ll have no problem with diving in the A-League as it is stamped out usually by the own players coach/fans let alone referee etc. We’ve seen this happen with a few imports trying it on who have been sorted out pretty quickly. On this basis of no diving, we look forward to your watching the A-League!

          No disrespect Ben – but I find this article a good clickbait attempt to drive up comments/reads etc.

          • Roar Guru

            June 21st 2018 @ 2:58pm
            JamesH said | June 21st 2018 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

            We’ll never really know if Griezmann could have kept his feet because he made no effort to. He knew he had lost control of the ball and dropped as soon as he registered the contact from Risdon.

            I wouldn’t class it as a ‘dive’ however, because the contact was real enough.

      • June 21st 2018 @ 2:48pm
        chris said | June 21st 2018 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

        The author is one of those people who puts his hands to his ears and shouts la la la la when he hears or sees something he won’t accept. Australians have embraced football as it’s played in record numbers and has more supporters than any other sport. But keep believing that it’s not Benjamin and all will be ok for you.

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