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The dark art of diving

It is the worst form of gamesmanship in modern football and yet no matter how many campaigns and rules are enforced, the acts of diving will never go away. It is like a horrible disease.

Traditionally diving was known as an act that occurred in other European leagues and not in British Football. The stereotypes included that of Italian football and Spanish football. However the harsh reality is English football is full of divers and it isn’t just continental players that are looking to con the ref.

The latest round of Premier league fixtures alone showed four incidents of British players conning the ref. The first culprit was Adam Johnson who last Saturday won a penalty by flicking his leg onto a Fulham defender forcing him to trip. Danny Welbeck committed a similar act last Sunday against Chelsea when he moved his leg towards the Chelsea defender to cause him to trip, the referee assumed the Chelsea defender was guilty and awarded a penalty.

The other two incidents were unsuccessful conning acts, Andy Carroll tried to convince the ref that Michael Dawson had fouled him when through on goal in the Monday Premiership clash. Gareth Bale similarly attempted to get Dan Agger booked for a trip, although replays show Bale was no where near Agger as he faked the fall.

It is an utter shame that this shocking act is still in Football, however you could remonstrate about the dark arts of diving and how they should be banned until you are blue in the face and nothing will have changed. Diving can give a player a bad name especially if the con they commit is successful and can change a game by the resulting penalty being a match winner.

The actions of Gareth Bale on Monday was a big surprise as no one would have expected him to commit such an act, it wasn’t as though he was being out paced either as I have yet to see anyone out pace him, maybe Usain Bolt would have him in his back pocket if he ever decided in a career change.

Players can break the habit of diving as proved by Chelsea’s Didier Drogba. When Drogba first joined the Premiership he had a habit to go down too easily and on occasions looked to con the referee. However lately Drogba whether it is down to maturity rarely attempts to con the referee and never goes down easily when he loses the ball in a tackle.

It’s a shame that football fans in England can no longer see how the Italian and Spanish player are always diving, as their own players have now joined the dark side of diving to change games. Diving is a form of match fixing, players need to stay on their feet, it’s bad enough that players can no longer go in hard to win the ball.

The effect of diving doesn’t just ruin the elite level of football as these men are role models for those at grassroots level. If they see this act then it will transfer into Saturday and Sunday league football and then diving will never be conquered.

Admittedly the game will never go back to how it was in the times that your Grandad would say “things were different in our day” because the game has evolved, injuries occur more as the game is played at a faster pace and players are physically fitter and stronger. However harsher punishment needs to be enforced to look to combat diving before it becomes uncontrollable, if this means more suspensions because of a higher volume of yellow and red cards then so be it.

Daniel Clark @ClarkyD92

Football Friends bring you the latest Football News and opinion from football fans around the world.