116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Legalize Diving?

Who Ate All The Pies? has a pretty good set of quotes today from Wigan manager Paul Jewell, who, in an interview with Sky Sports News, has started advocating the legalization of diving in the wake of Saturday's Middlesbrough incident.

"The pubs open 24 hours a day and everybody was worried people would be drunk on the streets, well there are less drunks on the streets now than when they used to close at three o'clock. So we just allow it and stop everyone talking about it. One week you get away with it, the next week you wouldn't. So stop it in my opinion. People say it is cheating, but you ask any supporter and if one of our players goes down in the box and we need a penalty to stay in the league or win a cup. Do you know what they are going to say?"

This is an interesting opinion, and sure to be unpopular, but let's take some time to consider it. Would legalized diving take the pressure off of referees? If accountability is a two-way street, what protection would defenders have from facing yellow cards, following the embellishment of an attacker? Perhaps Jewell is right, however, and there really is nothing to see here. Taking away restrictions on diving could be interpreted as a sign of faith in the officials, who then might train a sharper eye towards recognizing play-acting; maybe officiating as a whole might improve.
The real question isn't whether or not diving should be legal, but whether or not it already is by default. Players go to ground all the time and get away with it, whether to earn free kicks, penalties, draw yellow cards on defenders or simply to catch a breather. The FA set a precedent earlier this year in choosing not to punish Didier Zokora after his dive against Portsmouth, and on pitches worldwide the idea of not going to ground is often considered a tactical miscue. I'd go so far as to say that most fans actually tolerate diving, so long as it's not carried out on a regular basis.
With all of that being said, of course diving should be punished. If defenders aren't allowed to hack away at attacking players, then strikers and wingers the world over shouldn't be allowed to act like they've been amputated by a challenge either. If anything, diving should be punished more often, and punitive measures such as video replay and retroactive yellow cards ought to be initiated. Such steps might not eliminate the practice altogether, but they may help make diving illegal, for a change.


Blogger JMP said...


I thought you were across-the-board against replay...

7:22 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home