When you talk about soccer to someone who is not a fan at some point they will point out how soccer players dive and pretend that they’ve been fouled. This is the first and only thing that some people know about soccer. This is a black eye on our sport and something must be done to punish it with the goal of stopping it.
This form of cheating has made it’s way into other sports like basketball where it is called, ‘flopping’. Fines are being handed out to players like Chris Bosh during last year’s playoffs. The first comment on the story says,
“This is what we get for trying [to] make soccer a more televised and popular sport in the US.
Soccer brought the playbook on flopping to America and it has spread rampantly through the
NBA and is starting to now even trickle into the NHL.”
Last year eight players in the NBA were fined for flopping, the most common fine was $5,000. This is no more than a slap on the wrist to a player earning millions of dollars a year but it’s more than FIFA has done to curb the amount of diving in leagues and tournaments through out the world.
The NFL reviews the tape of each game and regularly hands out fines and suspension a wide range of infraction most of which were not spotted by game day officials.
With other sports moving to punish players in an effort to change behavior, soccer is conspicuous by it’s unwillingness to act on video evidence after the game. When there is no punishment for an action there’s no motivation to change behavior. We’re going to continue to see diving in soccer until FIFA or individual organizations move to stop it. The only way to stop it is to punish the teams and individuals harshly enough that any advantage that they may gain from diving is not worth the certain punishment that will come after the tape is reviewed.
The latest incident to highlight the need for change is the dive by Costa Rican forward Joel Campbell ‘near’ US National Team defender Matt Besler.
Not only does FIFA refuse to punish players who have obviously tricked the referee and brought the game into disrepute but there is not even recourse for Besler to have his yellow card rescinded even though everyone that watches this video agrees that Besler did not foul Campbell and that he dived in an effort to tick the referees. Now Besler is suspended for the important game against Mexico and nothing happens to Campbell although everyone knows he cheated.
We are years behind other sports in the use of video analysis to aid officials in making the right decision so I suppose it is no surprise that we are years behind them in punishing cheating in our game.
Please share your thoughts on how to remove diving from soccer in the comments section below.
Have a great day,