United defender wants action taken against diving
According to Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand, retrospective punishment may be the only way to stamp out the scourge of diving.
Following his team-mate Ashley Young’s falls last weekend against Crystal Palace, the spotlight has once again been turned on the uglier side of the game.
According to Sky Sports, the England defender acknowledges that diving has unfortunately become part of the game, and that stamping it out just at Premier League level is not sufficient.
“It’s got to happen across Europe and the world, not just in our league,” said Ferdinand. “You go into the Champions League and you have been told in the Premier League you are not meant to dive, then you get players from other countries who simulate.”
United boss David Moyes, known for his anti-diving stance, has made it clear that he will not tolerate such play and reiterated his position, promising to discipline his player.
“I’ve always said I don’t like diving,” Moyes said in The Guardian. “Ash has put his leg into the lad’s leg.
“The boy definitely puts his leg out and, rightly so, he deserved to get booked. I don’t want my players diving.”
As is becoming the custom, blaming the foreign influence on the English game is a convenient cop out. Ashley Young is English, and many other domestic players have been guilty of diving.
The fact of the matter is that gaining an advantage, fair or not, is the nature of the game worldwide.
With so much on the line financially and personally for players, managers and the clubs, the ‘win at all costs’ mentality has pervaded the game.
Diving is merely one of the symptoms of a greater sickness.
Maradona’s ‘hand of God’ in World Cup 86’, Jurgen Klinsmann’s dive vs Argentina in World Cup 90’, Rivaldo’s flop vs Turkey World Cup 2002, Thierry Henry’s handball vs Ireland 2006 World Cup qualifiers…. The list goes on.
The governing bodies of football across the globe have shown a persistent unwillingness to undermine the authority of the referee on the pitch.
Granted, the referee has split seconds to make the correct decision, normally aided by only one other set of eyes in the linesman.
The evidence suggests, especially from the aforementioned incidents, that cheating is profitable; thus it is tolerated, ignored and ultimately accepted.
It is hardly surprising, in a world where politicians and bankers consistently bend the rules with impunity.
Football is an aspect of and reflection of our society in general.
Forget the Speedos
Despite Rio Ferdinand and David Moyes’ criticism of diving, neither one offered to concede the goal difference or the three points gained versus Crystal Palace.
No manager would concede a victory based on the moral high ground; there is too much at stake. If that were the case, we would have to re-write football history.
Retrospective action has not stopped cynical challenges. The yellow card policy for simulation has not stopped diving.
Surely with the rules of the game being so clearly defined, it is primarily the responsibility of a club to enforce any punitive action against its employees.
It is the peer group that necessarily stimulates change. Yellow cards and red cards, coupled with retrospective intervention, are only part of the solution.
The culture of cheating is the proverbial elephant in the room. Ashley Young is just the latest scapegoat to save the blushes of those who perennially stand to profit from the uglier side of the game.