September 17, 2009

Soccer theatrics debunked : The theatrics and ruses used by soccer stars "diving" to draw a penalty are being exposed by a British professor who specializes in the study of people's intentions and deceit. Frauds take unnatural swan dives and consciously do not protect their bodies in order to look like victims, he says.

posted by tommytrump to soccer at 10:38 AM - 15 comments

I really enjoyed the video at the bottom of that link. Some hilarious efforts.

Diving is one of those things that should be policed by a fourth official who can radio the ref and tell him to automatic red anyone adjudged to be doing it. Part of the reason Cronaldo was so good in the Premiership was that defenders were too scraed to get in tight to him, knowing as they did that he'd more than likely hit the deck like he'd been shot the moment they touched him.

The biggest benefit to the diver isn't usually the free kick or penalty they win with their simulation, it's the space it buys them for the rest of the game (or season) if they can pull it off.

posted by JJ at 11:16 AM on September 17, 2009

Too bad that someone with credentials felt compelled to do a study on behavior that anyone without an advanced degree (at least here in the US) can see is purely fraudulent.

What makes it worse is the whole choreographed charade with the stretcher team in matching bib aprons coming out and removing the player from the field in dramatic fashion. With the player's resting a forearm on his forehead in classic "woe is me" fashion.

Replace that special aerosol that the medical team sprays on the player to magically make him totally well again in 90 seconds with a good agricultural grade herbicide and the frequency of this type of incident would go down very quickly.

Part of this whole business I understand: the players have to go for at least 90 minutes of nearly continuous action with very few substitutions made during the match. I don't blame them for wanting to catch their breath now and then by having someone pretend to writhe in agony on the turf.

My preference as an unschooled Yank would be for more liberal substitution rules and for players getting right back up after they go down and rejoining the play in progress rather than staging another opera.

posted by beaverboard at 11:52 AM on September 17, 2009

Would dives happen less frequently if the officials, at their discretion, could decide that a player appears to be so severely hurt that he must stay off the pitch for the next five minutes?

posted by rcade at 12:02 PM on September 17, 2009

I admit that I am not a tremendous fan of futbol but I do appreciate the athletes and game. Having said that, do these guys ever get called out by the players who don't normally resort to such theatrics? They look, to me, like a bunch of silly, nancy boy, dress wearing, pinky in the air while drinking tea, "Terms of Endearment" crying, Madonna listening, Oprah watching, umm (where was I? Oh yeah..) pansies.

posted by THX-1138 at 01:56 PM on September 17, 2009

I hope one day one of these diving fuckers breaks their cheating neck.

This is one reason I don't watch top tier football anymore.

Is it me, or does diving happen LESS in the lower leagues? Perhaps it's just seeing a whole live game is rarer for me. I don't know.

Beaver: I believe they do the medical thing now as players would often go down and STAY down to waste time. Getting them off the field allows the game to continue.

posted by Drood at 02:11 PM on September 17, 2009

It doesn't seem if there is a tremendous amount of support to eradicate the theatrics (except among fans).

posted by bperk at 03:01 PM on September 17, 2009

Exaclty what I was thinking bperk.

Players go crazy when its done against their team, but when their teammates do it they just turn a blind eye.

posted by WolfpackMD at 04:55 PM on September 17, 2009

I love that video, JJ. The first was the best for me (at about the :30 second mark). The opponent mocking his dive was classic.

posted by dusted at 06:20 PM on September 17, 2009

That's a great video. Wankers, all of them.

It should be a RED card offense. (I notice the cards in that video all seemed to be yellow.)

posted by Drood at 07:53 PM on September 17, 2009

Why do people get so bent out of shape about cheating? The divers are usually dealt with fairly. Get over it, please.

It doesn't happen as much as you think it does. It's because it's "top tier football" that it's magnified so much that you think it's rampant.

It's really not as big a problem as you think it is.

posted by The_Special_Juan at 08:58 PM on September 17, 2009

Just to clarify, Juan:

I wouldn't know if it's rampant. It just looks a bit pansy to me.

posted by THX-1138 at 12:25 AM on September 18, 2009

It doesn't happen as much as you think it does.

My nephew was a high school soccer player good enough to tour with a national team that played a South African team when they came to Orlando. The teams were around 16-18 in age.

I've never seen more diving and bitching at the refs in my life, particularly from the visitors. There was no sportsmanship at all. I came away from that experience thinking that diving must be thoroughly ingrained in the sport.

posted by rcade at 12:58 AM on September 18, 2009

Juan: Clearly you must not be watching the same games I am. On The Footy Show here they show EPL and other highlights and there's diving in pretty much every single game.

And it's not "Dealt with fairly" as these fuckers don't get their legs broken for doing it.

It is not as trivial as you think. If you're happy watching cheaters fuck the game up, I'm very fucking happy for you. Some of us, however, like to see sport that's actually, you know, SPORT. A contest based on athletic ability and skill.

It's football, not the fucking Oscars.

posted by Drood at 04:09 AM on September 18, 2009

Of course it's rampant. If it wasn't, the commentators would make more of it when it happens and ignore its absence when it doesn't. To take one example, in the Liverpool game on Wednesday night, I lost count of the number of times the commentator (which is about the least offensive word beginning with c that I can use to describe Clive Tyldsley) said how nice it was to see a player not making a drama having been challenged.

I'm reminded of Bobby Jones: "You might as well praise me for not cheating."

posted by JJ at 07:26 AM on September 18, 2009

"The most flamboyant of the dramatics Dr. Morris describes is called the "archer's bow," in which the aggrieved player throws both arms in the air, with open palms, chest thrust out and legs bent at the knee. He wants to look like he's been fouled. Among other giveaway gestures: clutching the body where a player has not been hit; taking an extra roll when he or she hits the ground; taking fully controlled strides after being tackled before an ostentatious fall."

Wow, what penetrating insight into this mysterious practice of "diving". I never realized that when a player clutched a part of the body where he had not been hit he was in fact "diving". This study should be published in Nature.

posted by sic at 02:45 PM on September 20, 2009

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