I read where FIFA has dedicated itself to eliminating anti-discrimination from the sport it administers. Couldn’t they be serving the game better for all by eliminating cheating? The displays of cynical diving when an opposing player’s foot comes in contact (or even NOT making contact) is disgraceful but officials both on and off the field choose to accept the practice. It has been suggested that teams actually practise the ‘art’. We know extensive research has been done by Dr Paul Morris on the mechanics of falls and has identified a range of actions that are conscious ‘dive’ elements as opposed to instinctive defensive elements that occur when a player is actually brought down.
– Holding up both arms in the air, with open palms, chest thrust out, legs bent at the knees in what Morris describes as an ‘archer’s bow’ position.
– Clutching a body part which has clearly not been struck.
– Taking an extra roll when they hit the ground.
– Taking fully controlled strides after a tackle, before falling.
It was also suggested that football referees would be schooled in the findings so they could use that knowledge to clean the game up. Clearly most of those who got their tickets to perform in South Africa didn’t attend any of these courses!!!
It was GREAT to see a player booked in one of the early pool matches NOT for bringing a player down but for taking a ‘dive’. I hoped that this was a sign of things to come but, no. The further the tournament went, and seemingly the ‘bigger’ the team and the higher paid the players were the more prevalent the practice was. And the dramatic display of agony! Anyone would think that the poor player on the ground, rolling around and grimacing and grasping shin/knee/ankle, had suffered something tantamount to a collision with a front end loader or a rampaging cape buffalo! Slow-mo replays then showed the truth. THE CONTACT WAS MINIMAL, IF CONTACT OCCURRED AT ALL, AND THERE WAS NO WAY THE PLAYER WOULD EITHER HAVE BEEN BROUGHT DOWN OR INJURED. (Of course within seconds of the penalty being awarded for the performance the player is back on his feet running around with absolutely no evidence of injury.)
This practice does the game no good at all but FIFA are clearly of a mind to accept that it is a perfectly acceptable part of the game. Just another display of the arrogance and self-serving mindset of too many of world sport’s governing bodies.
Don’t get me started on the IOC, ICC, IRFU!