‘Simulation’ to the FA, ‘Helping the referee’ to the players and ‘diving’ to the rest of us – Probably one of the most talked about aspects of football, and rightly so.
Only this weekend, Wright-Philips was hassled to the ground inside the penalty area, but no foal was awarded, and that was not a unique occurrence. A couple of seasons back, Didier Drogba was one of the greatest ‘divers’ – swan diving to every breath of wind, but there can be no better play actor than Cristiano Ronaldo. ‘Winker’ will never be forgotten for his part in Wayne Rooney’s sending off, and his consistent acts of simulation, not least because he is so good at it!
Diving is commonly thought to be the curse of the modern game, although realistically, this is not so. Jurgen Klinsmann was renowned for his, somewhat pathetic, dives, and he is not alone. And not only this, but it is only with the advent of TV replays that this has really come to attention. Sure they had TV in the 1960s, but the quality wasn’t good enough to make out an accidental trip from a deliberate foul. And that’s without even considering the benefits of diving to the modern game.
Yes, it may seem ridicules to suggest that Diving is good, but when a player collapses in the penalty area, do you not immediately jump to your feet? Is it not always the first thing that Pundits discuss after a game – whether or not he dived? Meanwhile, other fouls – the odd trip in the middle of the field will go by un-punished other than a free kick, and I see no real difference. To be caught diving will immediately bring about hatred from the press, whilst almost anything else will be forgotten – even revered, gaining you a reputation as a ‘tough man’ – who will scare defenders.
OK, it is probably pushing it to suggest that diving is good for the game, although the extra level of suspense is undeniable. However, The FA and FIFA do very little about it. In rugby, video refereeing has been standard procedure for a while. In tennis, Hawk Eye technology is, and it is being increasingly adapted into cricket, so why is football being left behind? Surely it is easy to, when a player goes down in the box, to stop play, and ascertain whether it was: A: a foul; B: a dive; or C: nothing. Surely, it can’t be too hard to implement this into the game, with very little difficulty. Other technologies could also be implemented into the game – something similar to Hawk eye could be used for offside, all goals can be checked for any ‘illegal’ acts – the game could be cleaned up – but it isn’t, and it’s obvious why.
Take out the human error, and you end up with a game like rugby – the best side always wins, there is no luck, and nothing is random. There is no suspense when a player goes down in the box, or when someone beats the offside trap. The game would no longer be football, and would be dull to watch. FIFA can’t implement video refereeing for fear of killing off more than just the diving, but the whole game.
Which brings me on to why Ronaldo is king of entertainment?
If diving, fouling, and the aggressive nature of the game is what keeps it flowing, is removed, the game would die, and there is no player more quick, skilful, aggressive, and willing to bend the rules to his advantage than Ronaldo, who, to put it bluntly, will turn a boring game of football into a spectacle worth of the money poured into it.
On Saturday, I discussed whether football was about the game or the entertainment. Ronaldo will entertain, but won’t always follow the rules of the game. Which would you rather? A well disciplined game of football, where everything is done to precision, or the aggressive game we have today. I know what I would go for any day.
Written by pompeycarpet.
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