How much of an issue is diving in football?

After Chelsea’s Ramires won his team a late penalty in somewhat dubious circumstances to snatch a last-gasp equaliser against West Brom on Saturday, Platform’s Shanil Nayee is calling for a tougher stance on diving. 

Luis Suarez, Gareth Bale, Ashley Young, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Fernando Torres and El Hadji Diouf. They all have something in common, and it isn’t their incredible skill – surely you would have figured that out by the presence of Diouf. It is the undeniable talent they all hold to dive. Whether it is to win a last minute penalty or get a member of the opposing team sent off, diving has slowly become an issue that I believe isn’t being properly addressed.

Falling over, going down too easily, play-acting or diving. Call it what you want but personally it is my biggest hate in the beautiful game to see a player roll around on the floor for two hours, clutch his face and then get up to score the winning goal – probably because he has gained an advantage illegally! I remember not long ago having an argument with my friend because his justification for a player diving was that they are simply doing whatever they can to win the game. This fuelled my hatred further. Surely if you need to dive to win a match then it is just another way of saying that you are too poor a player to win via quality?

I think it has gotten so out of hand over the past few years and in my opinion we can look at the prime example of Ashley Young. Not young in age anymore but he still acts like a 12 year-old boy when he feels the slightest tug of the shirt. You would think that when you are at a prestigious club like Manchester United you would want to uphold their status, not tarnish it. Now I don’t want to bias and yes, the same can be mentioned about Suarez. To be 100% clear he is even worse, considering the biting and racism. Moving back to Young, he really must sort out his play because both Moyes and Ferguson have spoken to him. You would think the first time would have been enough but clearly not, with his dive against Real Sociedad furthering his bad reputation.

Didier Drogba shook off his diving reputation to become a universally loved footballer

Now most of the players that I listed above are very skilful, no not Diouf the others! Therefore when they do fall over ‘theatrically’ I think that it deserves harsh punishment – a red card. Yes I really do think this should become a sinful act so much so that the player is sent off. If the consequence is not worth the attempt it will lead to it happening less, despite the fact it shouldn’t be happening, in any case. Maybe even introduce replays to confirm or deny what has or hasn’t happened. If they can fund technology to judge whether the ball has crossed the line (damn you Sepp Blatter) they can surely afford to do something about diving.

Players have been known to change. Didier Drogba was once universally hated for being an amazing footballer and even better diver but after much criticism he changed, and helped Chelsea win many trophies. Suarez has seemed to clean up his act a little – I guess everybody has their limits. It all makes me smile because since the day that I have played footy at my local courts I have been injured, kicked in the face, taken one to the nuts which is unpleasant to say the least and played on with glee. Knowing that I loved playing the game meant that the slightest hit wasn’t going to stop me, it certainly wasn’t going to force me to do the Spanish-esque roll around.

My idol is Jamie Carragher and one thing that he taught me over the years is that if you are not giving 200% you shouldn’t be on the pitch. Don’t shy away from the ball when the opposition shoots. Play like your heart depends on it and if you do get hit or tackled then get back up and do it again. Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger right? Let’s stamp out diving and play good old fashion football.

Shanil Nayee

@SKNayee

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