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Is diving cheating or just clever trickery?
September 18, 2009, 10:10 am
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills | Tags: , , , ,

David ClarkeThe obsession over attacker’s diving in England seems to me to be getting out of hand.

In Europe it is considered part of an attacker’s skill, to go down when they are touched in the penalty area. When Arsenal’s Eduardo won the penalty that caused Uefa to overreact and ban him then subsequently overturn that ban the rest of Europe will have admired the way he did it.

What worries me is that if we brand this as cheating what do we call all the other parts of a soccer match where players claim things, like corners when you appeal even though you know the ball was last played of you or taking a throw-in yards from where the ball went out?

Think about free-kicks when players won’t go back 10 yards or the player taking the free-kick moves the ball forward. Surely we can’t call all these things cheating?

When I first started coaching I kept wondering why so many calls were going against my team. I realized once I refereed a few matches that if one team calls the ball theirs and the other doesn’t, you tend to give it to the more vocal team. It’s just human nature. So I like to see all my players call for the ball when they know it is theirs.

We played a game recently where the opposition hit a shot very close to our goal at an acute angle and he claimed it had gone in and come out through a hole in the back of the goal. The opposition claimed the goal very vocally, as did the opposition parents. The young referee after deliberating for an instance gave the goal. It was not until then that my team questioned the referee, by then too late.

The ball had in fact flashed past the post.

You have to get up and get on with the game, gamesmanship like this happens in all sports – but is it cheating?


4 Comments so far
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[…] Original post by soccercoachblog […]

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Couldn’t find the info I was looking for. Do you have a search box or a sitemap?

Comment by Cheap Spy Camera Finder

I couldn’t find a sitemap. Do you have one?

Comment by RV Cover Class A

Yes, we can brand all this as ‘cheating’.

That’s not to say that it won’t happen regardless, but to try and re-brand something that has always been cheating as ‘clever trickery’ is still dishonest.

If a dive is punishable by a caution, then it is clearly outside the rules of the game to dive. Therefore doing it is cheating. Claiming a throw-in when you know it came off you is unsporting behaviour which is also punishable by a yellow card, although you’ll never see that called, because it’s too difficult a judgement call.

If you coach players to do it, then fine, I’m not judging that. I teach my kids to claim for the ball because although it is cheating, it’s a minor thing that everybody does, and as in your example, you will lose out unfairly if you don’t do it. (And once the calls start coming from both camps, then it is down to the referee to trust his own judgement rather than rely on the reactions of players). And I coach them to go down if they are fouled, rather than make an undue effort to stay on their feet, but there is a distinction between that and outright diving.

I also teach my kids NOT to ask for yellow cards, or pretend to be hurt when they aren’t. I teach them to play the ball out if an opponent is injured, or to kick the ball back if the opposition return the favour. When I play, if I get a call I know I don’t deserve I will just pass the ball back to the other team. Admittedly the stakes are very low when I play, and I wonder if I’d react so honestly if I played professionally – I doubt it.

I’m sure you coach these things too, and feel the same. My point is that we should all be able to accept that we cheat, if that’s what we do. There’s no need to justify it. Accept that everyone does it, and that if you are caught you will be punished, but don’t admire ‘clever trickery’.

PS. I watched that Eduardo clip you put up, and still can’t tell if there was contact, if he dived first or what went on.

Hi Alex

An excellent response very well explained. I agree with your points.



Comment by Alex

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