Football’s name is once again being dragged through the mud by allegedly overpaid stars allegedly flinging themselves into the… er… mud in the hope of gaining some advantage like a free-kick or penalty. This is clearly cheating, but no-one is doing anything about it, just like no-one did anything about Lance Armstrong, or, in an only tenuously linked analogy, Sir Jimmy Savile.
Of course, the majority of the noise is around everyone’s favourite villain, Luis Suarez (whose fantastic 2010 goalline stop I commented on thus:)
I would have stopped that shot with my hand if I’d have been on the line that night. So would David Beckham, so would Lionel Messi, neither would Robert Green.
however, we shouldn’t leave Gareth “Butter Wouldn’t Melt” Bale out of this discussion, because he cheated last weekend too.
James Lawton of The Independent doesn’t leave Bale out, and makes the point:
Diving is such an implicit part of football now that it takes something quite remarkable to draw special attention and what Bale and Suarez did on Sunday took us well beyond the realms of self-parody.
But the laughter freezes, surely, when you consider how such actions now come in an unbroken stream, and how much damage they are causing to the integrity of the business which pays such huge rewards to “professionals” to whom you like to think some basic responsibilities have been entrusted.
But what’s to be done about it? Well, here’s an enlightened idea which I found on a blog post from about 18 months ago
Football needs to keep up with modern technology. FIFA’s refusal to institute goal line technology is ridiculous and has ruined many a game. Now they need to allow the reviewing of video evidence after the game for players diving and then suspend them.
Now, suddenly, that idea seems to have caught on (presumably after the FIFA hierarchy read the blog post in question):
FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce has joined calls for players who dive to be punished retrospectively and claimed simulation is becoming a cancer within the game.
“I believe if it is clear to everyone that it is simulation then that person is trying to cheat and they should be severely punished for that. It can be dealt with retrospectively by disciplinary committees, and it is done so in some associations, and I believe that is the correct thing to do.”
So, what are the FA doing about it? Well, they are reviewing and discussing it often.
“Simulation is not something that the FA currently take retrospective action over but it is an issue that is often reviewed and discussed by the game’s stakeholders.”
Well guys, since that’s obviously not really working, how about less talk and a little more action?
Give it a go. You don’t even have to give me the credit.
Just make the beautiful game a little bit more beautiful again please.
Note: Post written ahead of the international matches on Friday evening, so if anything relevant to this issue happened in them, it probably won’t appear here for simple chronological reasons.