It seems to me that modern football is suffering from the kind of unsportsmanly behavior of diving which became all the more common, perhaps with the recent success of southern European teams/nations.

For those who might not be familiar with the concept, diving is the act of fooling the referee into a wrong call, either by pretending as if the tackle is much harder than it really was (in which case the opponent might be punished with a card) or to get a free kick/penalty kick where there is no apparent foul. Not only does it result in unfair calls, but also in many cases it slows the game down due to all the unnecessary free kick calls. In many cases it is normal to see players rolling on the grass seemingly screaming in agony for a second, and up on their feet arguing with an opponent in the next...

With more and more efforts going into campaigns against factors that spoil the game (such as racism) I would like to know if any steps are taken against this type of behavior aimed to interfere with the objective call of the referee? As far as I know, the referee can punish a player with a yellow card if the player is attempting to cheat the referee into giving a penalty but more often than not unnecessary cards and fouls are given as seen by instant replays from different angles. Are there any active measures to decrease this type of behavior or the pitch?


1 Answer 1


Referees and FIFA are now trying to prevent diving with more frequent punishments as part of their ongoing target to stop all kinds of simulation in football. The game's rules now state 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. The rule changes are in response to an increasing trend of diving and simulation.

FIFA , in order to improve detection, Increased the number of officials on the field – near the goals, where most dives occur – what make it easier to detect diving.

Second, in order to increase the costs associated with diving. Progressive football leagues like the Australian A-League and the American MLS are using post-match video analysis to assign retrospective punishment to cheating players.

In these countries, there’s strong competition from more physical footballing codes (such as rugby, or American football) for the sporting public’s attention, and there’s little patience for play-acting.

MLS in the United States, for the 2011 season, began implementing fines and suspensions for simulation in football through its Disciplinary Committee, which has the right to review plays after the match. On June 24, 2011, MLS penalized D.C. United forward Charlie Davies with a US$1,000 fine as the Disciplinary Committee ruled he: "intentionally deceived the officials and gained an unfair advantage which directly impacted the match" in a simulation that occurred in the 83rd minute of the match against Real Salt Lake on June 18, 2011.

On July 29, 2011, the Disciplinary Committee suspended Real Salt Lake forward Álvaro Saborío one game and fined him US$1,000 for a simulation in a game against the San Jose Earthquakes on July 23, 2011. Officials noted the simulation resulted in Earthquakes defender Bobby Burling being sent off on the simulation, and the warning from MLS that fines and suspensions will increase for simulation being detected by the Disciplinary Committee.

Another unique scenario was with Juventus winger Milos Krasic who has been banned for two games by the Italian football league for diving.
Krasic won a controversial penalty in goalless draw at Bologna after falling inside the area.
Video replays, however, showed Bologna defender Daniele Portanova did not touch the player.
A statement from the league read:

"The TV replay showed that there was no contact between the two players and that the player's dive was the cause for the referee to make a mistake."

But until these methods are adopted universally, you’ll just have to keep shouting at the television.

Wikipedia on Diving
Why footballers dive; how it could be stopped.
Milos Krasic incident related to diving.

  • It's very interesting to see that there are some aspects in football where European leagues can learn something from MLS. Actually it's stated by many football experts that the diving factor of football is one of the main reasons why it's only 4-5th most popular sport in NA.
    – gdrt
    Mar 30, 2017 at 9:17

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