Diving. It’s something growing up I used to think was limited to weak-kneed Iberians… and Harry Kewell. Then as Leeds hobbled around like a light-headed crash victim in shock for the past seven years, it was a sort of miniature revelation when I watched a recording of one of our cup matches against a top Premier League team (might’ve been Tottenham) and the commentator was shocked that Jermaine Beckford had stayed on his feet to shoot wide after a tiny bit of contact.

Suddenly it clicked: over the past few years I’d got steadily used to less and less diving. There was still a bit of girly tumbling, and Luci got penalised weekly for backing into players (to the point where I think he’s unfairly ignored by refs today when he’s fouled). But it was all under control. Unlike in the Premier League, it wasn’t the kind of football where an acceptable game-plan would involve the manager saying:

‘oof it up to the strikers and when one of our flick-ons actually works, get into the box and make it look like Skrtel stabbed you – just like in training remember!

I’ve been enjoying Neil Warnock’s column in The Independent lately. I’d read a few articles before but having it on the Leeds feed on NewsNow makes it a lot easier to stumble onto. This week’s article features your standard manager’s fair: “I never realised how big a club Leeds was…”; “The atmosphere really whetted the appetite…”; “I’ve got to know Claire, the cleaning lady…”. All good, positive stuff.

More interesting to me was the revelation that Warnock and Moyes both share my hobbyhorse of diving. Warnock wrote:

It was interesting hearing Davie Moyes talking about retrospective punishment for divers. I’ve been arguing for that for years. I do believe if it is proved beyond doubt a player dived he should be banned for six games – not fined, fining a player is no longer a deterrent. Cheats are so good at diving now, poor refs haven’t a cat in hell’s chance of spotting it.

There’s definitely a good case for this, when “proven beyond [reasonable] doubt” is stressed. It’s something I’ve privately moaned about for a few years now as well, and I bet I’m not alone! It’s been building up a head of steam lately, too, with an unlikely candidate for the Olympic Divers’ team like Gareth Bale igniting debate on footballing messageboards across the country. Bale’s dive late last month against Arsenal prompted the inveterate attention-seeker Graham Poll to write in the Daily Mail:

Replays showed that Bale had not been fouled but I would not blame Dean for being fooled; rather look at the conduct of Bale and plead that the FA introduce retrospective punishment for diving.

This would not need a change to laws of the game, nor permission from the IFAB or FIFA as it is up to each governing body to determine their own disciplinary code.

It’s something that’s blown up even more recently, with Luis Suarez doing his best impression of a giant rat being shot after possibly brushing the Arsenal keeper’s ankle. I’ve always said that if a penalty is unjustly rewarded the majority of times it will be missed. I’d love to see statistics on that because I’ve rarely seen an unjustly awarded penalty go in after being given – unless we’re the victims! Kuyt’s spot-kick was no different, and Liverpool went on to lose.

No doubt, Sepp Blatter would say it is part of the game: to be royally screwed over by injustice every time you come close to achieving, unless you have a remarkable rapport with referees like Alex Ferguson or enough money to buy a small country like Manchester City and Chelsea. As Leeds fans, we know more than most that feeling of injustice. I happen to like a subtle roughing up of the opposition, and I welcome added drama on the pitch. But like off-sides, I just think diving ruins what would otherwise usually be a good game of football.

  • Anon

    Only retards think Bale wasn’t fouled against Arsenal. He had two players trying to take him out in rugby tackles

    • number1inyorkshire

      ANON  you having a laugh Harry “TAX DODGER ” Redknapp

    • TommyHarmer

      First useless defenders cope with Bale by kicking the s**t out of him and then they counter the criticism by claiming he dives. He probably gets fouled more often than Best used to, and he clearly doesn’t like it. Against Liverpool he was booked when he was fooled into anticipating a thigh high lunge by Agger who shaped as though to do so, and attempted to hurdle it, and if you look at the slow-mos against the Arse and Stevenage at little more carefully, he is being clunked both times. But jump on the bandwagon if you must …. there can’t be anything very interesting happening around Leeds, especially in footballing terms, apart from the odd two-footed tackle from your suicide squad …….

      • number1inyorkshire

         @TommyHarmer not much happening in totting ham either apart from loosing 3 on the trot and loosing your champions league place soon .ahh well somert to look forward to ..
         

        • TimPM

           @number1inyorkshire  @TommyHarmer ‘Arry’s a legendary manager though – wheel and deal in questionable ways to get a decent team together. Then sit looking like a miserable blob in the dugout as things go the wrong way.
           
          Exactly what we need for England manager!

      • Tyler75

         @TommyHarmer Agreed – Bale gets lumps kicked out of him most games because he’s virtually impossible to stop. Not dissimilar to the treatment meeted out to Gradel last season at Leeds 

  • henrymouni

    The influx of foreign players may have increased the diving and screaming in a loud voice as they fly through the air.
    You can add the confusion for the ref when both sets of players appeal for corners and throw ins, when they know they are cheating!
    It is termed ‘professional’ like the professional foul!
    Lucciano was excellent against ‘boro, and he must be murder to mark.
    I don’t blame forward for exaggerating a foul, as defenders get away with murder.

    • number1inyorkshire

       @henrymouni foreign players. yes those cheating welsh lol

  • number1inyorkshire

    there are other stuff aswell as diving which drives me mad .
    deliberate foul or professional fouls as those on the inside like to call it should be a red card every day .
    shirt pulling drives me mad, if  its shirt pulling its a foul give a pen if its in the area .
    simulating injuries .simulation wtf  cheating i like to call it to get a player booked or sent off  Bradley johnson had a go this year with one mr Barton .
    going over to the ref if your not involved to get players sent off ,ronaldo did it to rooney he does it to everyone now what a ????..
    giving a penalty to even the other team getting one, if its a pen fair enough but if it aint stick the whistle in your pocket ref not your mouth ..
    Even worse not giving penalties because a team already has had one ,there can be 50 pens a game if there are that many fouls in the box that need them ,there is no limit .
    And the old chestnut if thats outside the box its a free kick ,well if thats the case inside the box its a penalty so give it you shit ref .
    But any way diving does drive me mad …

  • Dazzler17

    I’m a Sydney Leeds supporter and can confirm that the A League already
    retrospectively punishes players for on or two game bans for diving.
    it’s working pretty well as a deterrent so far.