Diving in the football pitch, especially inside the penalty box has become familiar nowadays. It has been serving as the moment of absolute embarrassment when some players publicly state that their managers have been enforcing them to dive. Even in the last week, the former Manchester united defender, Jaap Stam has said Alex Ferguson would ask us to dive inside the penalty box in order to earn penalties, in his biography. Now, a question will arise whether the managers more than players spoiling the nature of the beautiful game?
It was Tony Pulis, the Stoke boss who captured the headlines last week for his comments regarding the dives on Uruguay striker, Luis Suarez. During the closing stages of the second half of the game at Anfield against Stoke City, Suarez fell down in between three Stoke City players, Huth, Whitehead and Wilson in order to bring advantage for his team. But the television replays clearly showed that there were no contacts between any of the three Potters and the fellow Liverpool striker. In the post match interview, Tony Pulis highlighted his regrets over the South American and he has sent news to FA to take severe actions on Suarez and 3-match ban is the worthiest punishment for the 25-year old striker.
It was not the first time Suarez was rendering his quality in the penalty box. The similar thing happened at Stadium of lights when Liverpool took Sunderland, a month ago. Sunderland went ahead off Liverpool in the 25th minute through Steven Fletcher’s strike. In order to bring benefits to his team, Suarez made a lumpen dive in the penalty box in the second half. While cutting the ball to right after driblling it to left, the striker was brought down in the front of Sunderland defender, Gardner and initially, I thought it was a slip. But Television replays showed it was a powerful dive from the little man and it was of worth for the yellow card shown on him.
Thinking of these humiliating dives from the most noticeable figures, referees deny penalty for the respective fellows even when it seems to be a clear foul. I can bring Luis Suarez, once again for this argument as an example. In the 20th minute of the game at Carrow Road when Liverpool played Norwich City, 2 weeks ago, Barnett made a clear foul on Suarez to bring the striker down inside the penalty box. But the penalty was denied by the M. Jones, the referee. Did the referee deny penalty only because the player brought down was Luis Suarez?
When Wigan travelled to Old Trafford to play Manchester United, it was Danny Welbeck who took the centre stage with a brilliant dive inside the box. Oman goal keeper, Al-Absi was shown the yellow card for bringing down the England striker despite of not making a contact with him. However, Chicharito who stepped up to take the penalty missed it. The replica of this incident happened when Manchester United played Liverpool at Anfield. The perfectly executed dive from Valencia had offered a penalty for the visiting team. Despite of Halsey being in the accurate position to view it, it was given as the penalty. Thus, by considering the statement of Stam and by these live examples, is it worth stating Manchester United players have been spoiling the spirit of beautiful game?
The quality of diving in premier league was not limited only with Liverpool and Manchester United, but it is also associated with many other clubs. It was Bale who produced plenty of dives in premier league, this season and the International match on last Friday was not the exception. Bale was shown the yellow card for his dive inside the penalty box in the 53rd minute in the game in which Wales hosted Scotland.
While speaking about diving, this article will go meaningless if I exclude former Chelsea star, Didier Drogba. When Napoli travelled to Stamford Bridge for the return leg of last season champions league round of 16, the match entered the extra time as the aggregate was 4-4 at the end of normal time. In the 119th minute of the game, Drogba brought himself down and he was taking the role of a perfect actor. At a certain moment, Ivory Coast Striker extended the gap in between his thumb finger and fore finger of his left hand to take a look on referee. When he noticed that referee was moving towards him, he started to act nothing like anything. Does these kinds of players spoiling the quality of spirited game?
We can’t exclude La Liga and Serie A too if we make a debate about the art of diving. When Real Madrid played Getafe earlier this season, Di Maria was brought down near the centre line of the pitch. When Argentine midfielder was trying himself to get down, it was Xabi Alonso who ran towards him to ask him to continue the act.
Why a player dives? Obviously it is for the benefit of his team. If a player plays for the benefit of team, certainly it should be called as spirit. In other words, the player is showing his loyalty to his club. Is this to be considered wrong? Why the player shouldn’t work for the benefit of team? So is it right to say the art of diving improve the quality and spirit of football?
But when we turn the pages of history, we can find only the players who showed loyalty to the beautiful game. Showing loyalty to the club is entirely different from showing loyalty to the team. Those players who simply dive for the benefits of the club, spoils the nature of the beautiful game. If we want to preserve the original nature and quality of the beautiful game, we should work together in formulating laws in order to punish the divers severely as it is indispensable.