Are players solely to blame for the issue of diving in football?

Written by Brad Jones

A question that many people would regard as ludicrous, but is diving something that has been subconsciously inherited into the game by everyone involved, not just the players?

The diving dilemma is one of many nuances within football that simply should not have a place in the sport but still manages to have a significant impact on so many matches, particularly at the top level.

With today’s game typically being a display of high-octane, high quality action for the most part, teams seek victory any possible cost which, in some cases, means breaching or bending of the rules.

However, in this instance, simulation is something that could have been so easily prevented from being a factor that has tarnished the reputation of the beautiful game over the last decade.

The phrases “if you feel a touch in the box, go down” and “he/she should’ve gone down there” are both used regularly in relation to players playing for a free kick or penalty which has led to a number of players developing an anticipatory instinct that contact will be made by an opposing player in certain situations, which in turn has made diving a pivotal part of football.

It is impossible to defend the players that have committed this form of cheating, and I am not condoning it in any way, however, it is clear as to where the incentive to dive has come from and why it has become such a common issue.

Young players especially have grown up learning and integrating this into their style of play almost accidentally, when players are taught to go down under any contact in the opposition area, it was almost inevitable that eventually there would be instances where someone anticipates contact which never arrives and therefore commit simulation.

As a result, diving has become increasingly ordinary to the point where it is the mental attitude of certain players in certain circumstances to preemptively make the decision to go down under a challenge whether contact is made or not.

featured image credit Croydon Advertiser