Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dive! Dive! Dive!

Houston, we have a problem.

Dive! Dive! Dive!

With Liverpool basically admitting they cheated their way to a 2-2 draw with Birmingham on Monday night, the Football Association in England is scrambling to basically cover the incident up.

From the Guardian;
''Benítez revealed he had questioned Ngog on the legitimacy of the penalty award. "I asked him about the penalty and he said maybe it wasn't. I haven't seen a replay but I spoke to him about it," he said.''

There are several interesting points coming from this. First of all, it would appear Soccer, and in particular the English Premiership, has a real problem with 'simulation'. Sometimes in life you have to look at yourself or something you enjoy doing/watching and admit to fault, error. For years I would get angry at ESPN's Sports Guy for making fun of diving in soccer, the fact of the matter is, he is kind of right about it. There is a massive problem with diving in football, and, it is getting worse. When teams are openly admitting they are cheating, as Liverpool have, the issue is nothing but serious.

First question would have to be, why hasn't there been the dramatic media outpouring of disdain that followed Eduardo's dive against Celtic in the Champions League earlier this season? Why is it that N'Gog's dive is being dealt with more mechanically, more factually and with less adjective and vitriol? Does this point to a clear anti-Arsenal bias in the UK's sporting media? It certainly would appear to.

Next question would be, whatever happened to the FIFA experiment where two extra referees were placed at either goal line? That seemed like a good idea, and would definitely help referee's in determining penalty box incidents, which are always going to be the most inflammatory decisions they will have to make on game-day. Was that just phased out, or did it never get past infancy?

There is a very simple answer to all this. Ban the player for five matches. Fine them a weeks wages. The Premiership could lead the way in world football by initiating something along these lines. All matches are reviewed on completion so if a player has dived to win a penalty and clearly done so, ban him, let him sit on the sideline for five weeks and contemplate his actions. If the English FA are anyway serious about cutting 'simulation' out of the game, they will do something about it. If not, they won't, simple as that.

Here's hoping they take some sort of action, or the game we know and love will drop to the level of nothing but WWF like farce.


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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

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