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So it's OK to dive sometimes?

So it's OK to dive sometimes?

Football is stuffed full of hypocrisy at times. Players are rightly and routinely criticised for diving but at the same time criticised for not going down when it might convince the referee to award a penalty. The latter seems to be the opinion of post match pundits following the game against West Ham last night.

Arteta didn't do Sagna any favours as he played a ball across the penalty area and Jarvis was quick to try to intercept. The Hammers winger got his toe to it first taking it away from the Arsenal full back. His path took him through Sagna's leg but whatever contact there was had been initiated by Jarvis as much as it was by Sagna. Remembering that for it to be a foul it would have to be deemed careless, reckless or using excessive force did Sagna foul Jarvis or Jarvis foul Sagna? Are such things decided only on who got to the ball first or is some contact inevitable in such situations?

It all took place in the full and clear sight of the referee and while I've seen 'em given and all that I doubt it would necessarily have been called as a foul anywhere else on the pitch. But I can accept that it is entirely subjective and sometimes the decision will go for or against you on either side.

However, there wasn't enough contact to bring anyone down so the only way Jarvis could have gone to ground was to have thrown himself there - to have exaggerated any contact - or in other words taken a dive. Quite frankly it is difficult to see how, had Jarvis done so, it would have looked like anything other than a dive. Yet that is what pundits such as Neville and Merson and others were insisting he should have done - to have simulated the extent of any contact with the intention of deceiving the referee into thinking there was more than would have brought a player down.

I fully accept that I'm seeing the foul itself through the jaundiced eyes of a partisan supporter but the point is that the hypocrisy of football pundits can be staggering at times. In future, when any involved criticise a player for diving, they should be booked for simulating pious indignation.

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Date:Wednesday April 16 2014
Time: 9:38AM


I think it was a clear foul to be honest. It is similar to when the keeper thinks he is going to get to the ball first and the player nicks it past him. "Remembering that for it to be a foul it would have to be deemed careless, reckless or using excessive force". I'm not sure that is correct either.
16/04/2014 10:16:00
Not clear enough for the referee to give it but as I said it is subjective. I think you'll find that for it to be a foul it has to be a designated offence under Law 12 committed in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force.
16/04/2014 10:27:00
You could perhaps argue in that case, that Ox could of stayed on his feet against Everton in the FA cup. He was fouled and put of balance, but could of stayed up. If he had he probably would of not got the penalty. A lot of grey areas either way. For instance, when players go down before they are going to be fouled to avoid being hurt, is that a dive? Is the answer to stay strong and risk being injured? No wonder it's hard for refs
16/04/2014 10:28:00
It's definitely a fine line but I think you'll find that the Everton defender wasn't going for the ball - that was some way away when he tripped Ox - even if he stayed on his feet you might expect that would have been given. There're many grey areas and you needn't even make contact for it to be deemed careless, reckless or using excessive force. You may remember many years ago Bergkamp got sent in an FA Cup game against Liverpool without any risk of making contact with the player. The ref at the time, current ref boss Mike Riley said then "The law doesn't differentiate between whether you make contact or not."
16/04/2014 10:42:00
You are right with the Everton one in that the defender was careless, but my point is that had he not gone down their is a possibility it would not be given. By going down he is insuring that he gets the deserved pen as it was a foul. A doubt might of creeped in to the refs mind had he not gone down. Again it is a fine line. I think careless is certainly the most subjective of the 3. Maybe Sagna was careless in trying to hack away an undercooked pass.
16/04/2014 11:11:00
We'll never know whether the ref would have given the pen against Everton if Ox has stayed on his feet but the defender was clearly playing the man and not the ball so you'd hope that was what the ref was considering. In the Jarvis case Sagna was clearly attempting to play the ball and I don't think the ref can be blamed for accepting that he wasn't careless in doing so. What the pundits were saying is that Jarvis should have dived to make it appear as though Sagna was either careless, reckless or using excessive force. I don't think that was needed in Ox's case. It's always going to be a subjective judgement though but I think there're some objectives you can apply.
16/04/2014 11:21:00
Football's about winning, it was a foul, he should've gone down. Am i bothered he didn't as an Arsenal supporter? Am I bollox. Neville's just giving an insight into what he would've heard Suralex telling his players week in, week out. TBH if Jarvis was a bit quicker of mind he probably would've managed to make it look less like a dive, a seasoned diver like Ronaldo would've had that for breakfast.
16/04/2014 11:51:00
Football's about winning so it's ok if you can get away with it. That's fine if Neville or anyone else wants to take that view but let's not have to listen to them condemning players for cheating then as the ends justifies it.
16/04/2014 12:02:00
Interestingly Jarvis is quoted claiming even he wasn't sure that it was a foul. "I don't know if it was a foul. I don't know if I had gone down whether it would have been a penalty or whether I'd have been booked. Maybe I should learn from that and be a bit more clever."
16/04/2014 13:03:00
After all the abuse Eduardo got, this is hypocritical to the nth degree. With you 100% on this one, Amos. And thanks for pointing out another logical fallacy for the mythical article which I will probably never write: "I've seen them given" is not an answer to the question "Was that a foul according to the rules of the game?"
16/04/2014 15:38:00
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