Cristiano Ronaldo. Didier Drogba. Robin van Persie. What do they all have in common? The trio are both prolific strikers with fantastic reputations, and can belong in the top tier of world class strikers. They have also all been under the microscope in recent times for going down too easily, and conning the referee into awarding crucial free kicks or penalties.
Not to say they’re the only one. Diving has progressed to such a stage where the lines between exaggeration and going down under no contact have been blurred more and more. I feel that diving is a disease that is quickly spreading through the soccer community, and has to be eradicated as soon as possible. FIFA have established their stance against diving, establishing the rule that “Any simulating action anywhere on the field, which is intended to deceive the referee, must be sanctioned as “unsporting behaviour” which is misconduct punishable by a yellow card.” However, it is becoming increasingly difficult for referees to spot cases of diving, and with no instant replays he has to make a spli-second decision.
Most recently, David Ngog allegedly took a dive to earn Liverpool a penalty in their 2-2 draw with Brimingham. Ex-Liverpool player Ian St John was scathing in his criticism of Ngog, saying: “I hate this so called simulation, which we know as cheating. I’ve always been Didier Drogba’s severest critic. I can’t excuse Ngog just because he’s a Liverpool player. It was an embarrassment to the player and to the club. I have to say there’s more of it now than there was in my day. Maybe it’s because the game is faster and defenders don’t stay on their feet as they used to. We were always told ‘don’t go to ground’ and Carsley didn’t need to slide in like he did. But that still doesn’t excuse Ngog.”
Quotes like this from ex-professionals show the extent to which soccer has evolved, and the prevalence of cheats in the modern game. It seems as though there is a new diving case every week, and if it isn’t cut out soon, it could have detrimental effects on the game that we all know and love.