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I think, as do most of you, that this year's World Cup has shown that there needs to be some sort of change in the refereeing system. Video review is an issue that we could have a whole thread about but I would like to discuss the other big issue: diving.

In hockey, a penalty is assessed by the guilty player being forced to sit out for 2 minutes and his team being left playing 4 on 5. There is also a penalty for embellishment. If a player is tripped and falls to the ice in a way that is deemed to be an exaggeration, both players serve 2 minute penalties.

I think there should be something similar in football. If a player is fouled and embellishes it, his team should get a free kick, since he was, in fact, fouled, but he should receive a yellow card.

Pat Finegan, Lynchburg, VA, USA     Posted 12/07/2010 at 20:55:11

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Bren Connor
1   Posted 12/07/2010 at 23:21:17

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You are right, of course... but that is never going to happen in the new football.

The game is controlled by the Spanish and Brazilian heads of the Fifa's refereeeing and disciplinary committees, and it wouldn't be in their interests to introduce meaures which go against their own brand of football. Spain would't have won the World Cup if they'd been punished for their diving or simulation. In fact the tendency now is to be ever more accepting of any contact being a foul.

Last night, Heitinga barely touched Iniesta, who just dived to the ground. Results: 1. an opponent gets sent off. 2, the culprit escapes a yellow. 3 The same culprit scores a few minutes later. And the TV experts in the studio to a man fail to even comment on it.

If you are against diving, you are on to a loser, because it's part of the new world order in football.

Iain Love
2   Posted 12/07/2010 at 23:37:49

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Pat, video review for the goal-line disputes, ok... otherwise NO. Football is THE most popular sport in the world and one of the reasons is the post match disputes/ banter and bringing in technology for every aspect of the game would destroy it as a spectacle.

Although that dirge we where served up by Spain [pretty patterns] didn't help. I'm sorry but the Dutch where more entertaining with their fouls than Spain with their pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, go nowhere shite. Yes, I know they won the game but Holland had the better chances and more of them, they at least tried to have a go rather than pass them into boredom. Xavi I'd have took his fucking legs off and happily got sent off for it. Sorry but that's how I feel... video technology ? my arse.

Paul Dewhurst
3   Posted 13/07/2010 at 00:10:37

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I agree with both, think Spain are very boring to watch. Will probably be moaned at for saying so but thought the best team to watch was Germany. As for simulation, diving etc, the only way to get rid of it us retrospective punishment ? both bans and fines.
Fran Mitchell
4   Posted 13/07/2010 at 01:00:40

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Spain, Boring? Ok, not the most clinical, and Germany are great to watch, but Boring?!?! England are boring, Italy are boring... Spain? The way they continually hold possession, Xavi, Iniesta and Alonso must be one of the greatest midfield trio ever, and you find them boring. I feel for you, I really do.

As for diving, everyone dives. Not just Brazilians, Spanish, Portguese etc, everyone. Rooney, Gerrard etc. Go back the years, players lauded as legends such as Dalglish dived and won many titles on the back of it, Rodney Marsh.... all of these dived, and this was before we were 'invaded' by cheating foreigners.

I despise it, I really do... and retrospective action is the only method. If a player dives, give a warning; if he does it again, a one-match ban. We cannot have a situation were the game is affected mid-play, no video replays for everyone to stand and watch. Same with all technology based (minus goaline technology) for offsides etc.

You can't compare football to ice hockey, football is an entertaining sport, ice hockey is not (my opinion).

Also, imagine if each team had 3 chances to appeal a decision in each game. 88 minutes played, 1-0 up, no appeals made. Teams will appeal just to disrupt the rhythm of the game.
Brendan O'Doherty
5   Posted 13/07/2010 at 01:55:49

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"Last night Heitinga barely touched Iniesta". He hauled him back. OK it wasn't malicious, but Iniesta was heading towards goal and it was a yellow card offence. If it had been a foul on a Everton player we'd all be screaming for a free kick and a yellow card, and rightly so.

"Xavi i'd have took his fucking legs off and happily got sent off for it."
That, in one sentence, sums up everything that is wrong with the game of football today. The conductor of the Spanish team should be hacked out of it. I suppose you feel the same about Arteta, as he performs the same role for us.

And as for Spain being boring....dearie me. Maybe you would prefer it if we went back to the days of Wimbeldon and Fash the Bash.
Diving? Stand up Mr Robben, you've won the first prize in something after all.
Jamie Sweet
6   Posted 13/07/2010 at 01:29:06

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The problem is that refs are too keen to give a free kick as soon as someone hits the deck. The players know this and exploit it... as soon as they feel the slightest touch they go for a tumble and the refs call a foul every time.

It is spoiling the beautiful game and I think there needs to be a real change in the way games are refereed.

I suggest that unless someone does a "De-Jong" karate kick, we just play on when someone falls over. The divers will soon stop going to ground.

I also support retrospective punishment for the divers. Why that Ivory Coast fella should get away with his little episode after running into Kaka is beyond me. He should get a five match ban for bringing the game into disrepute. What he did was a complete embarassment to the game. Start banning them, they will stop doing it.

Oh, and I agree with Fran... Spain are far from boring. If you judge a team purely on how many goals they score, then maybe you could accuse them of this... but I personally find them technically superb and a joy to watch.
Jason Lam
7   Posted 13/07/2010 at 03:25:24

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Spain's football is akin to a poor early 90s Sega football console game.

Mash the short-pass button and finally shoot in the penalty box. It's a boring monotonous non-contact sport - and ultimately broken.
James Stewart
8   Posted 13/07/2010 at 03:26:50

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The Spanish left back was an absolute disgrace for simulating. Disgusting.
Kirk McArdle
9   Posted 13/07/2010 at 04:06:19

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I hate diving. It is paramount to cheating. If a player dives and gets caught by the referee then the official term for the yellow card is "Simulation". It is a virus that has invaded the game and unfortunately is now embedded as part of the football culture. I see kids as young as 7 and 8 on a Sunday morning trying it on and most of the time getting a decision in their favour. This in part to the referees just having a run around and letting 2 6-a-side teams have a bit of fun and getting to enjoy football.


There is the problem. If 7 and 8 year old kids are already "Simulating Contact" and we acknowledge that diving in this sport is not going anywhere, why cannot we do what other nations are doing to their kids. Teach them how to dive in a perfect way.

"But that's not how England should play" "We should not condone cheating" Bollocks. If we want an even playing keel then the only way is down. Only in an artistic way!!

"Fuck me. Robinho's gone down like he was shot by a sniper in the crowd"

"Look at Drogba. Looks like he can't even hold a bag of spuds. But Jesus, he can hold up 4 of his team-mates when he celebrates scoring a goal"

We need to teach it and embed it into part of a kids football upbringing.

I repeat I hate diving but its not going anywhere. Do we want an Everton (or England for that matter) that plays the game properly or a team that bends the rules but challenges constantly.

Let the debate begin.
Liu Weixian
10   Posted 13/07/2010 at 05:47:03

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If we punish divers by forcing them to sit out for two minutes it will lead to more controversy. Sometimes it is just impossible to tell whether it's a dive or just a fall from body contact. You can sure that players will crowd around the referee every time a dive is awarded and the stoppages will ensure the game will not flow.

I think a yellow card for simulation serves as suffcient deterence. Once a player is on a card, he will take twice before doing anything stupid.

To digress, Spain may be a very attacking side but the way they play can bore you to tears at times. Imagine stringing 30 passes together and nobody takes a crack at goal. They remind me of the old Italian sides. Only difference is that the Italians passed the ball in their own half whereas the Spaniards do it in their opponent's. Both are still boring.
Michael Kenrick
11   Posted 13/07/2010 at 06:18:56

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Bren Connor @ #1: absolutely 100% spot on in everything you say. I fear that regrettably you are right on the money.
Jamie Crowley
12   Posted 13/07/2010 at 06:19:26

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Fran -

As a guy who played hocked into his late thirties ? and has 4 fake teeth to prove it ? I agree wholeheartedly you can not compare both sports. They are entirely different beasts.
But what you can see as similarities is the approach in officiating. Players embelish fouls / penalties to hurt the opposition. Hockey has it's way of dealing with it, and soccer should have theirs. Soccer does not - and it hurts the sport.

And your suggestion of NOT stopping the flow in soccer, but utilizing technology to punish offenders of diving is EXACTLY what soccer should do. If the big eye in the sky catches you, and it's blatant diving ? red card. That'd put an end to a lot of the nonsense you see.

Guys roll around on the ground like they've been literally shot in the back. It's disgusting.

Let's pray someday someone in charge implements your idea....

Soccer diving divas could learn a lot from hockey players. You might find it boring, but the hockey culture is one of get hurt, get up, stitch it up, and get back out there. The one thing I just can't get past with soccer is get hurt, roll around like you're destined for the wheel chair, hit the touch line via a stretcher, and head back out 2 seconds later when the ref waves you back to the field of play.

Something has to be done about it. Ruins the greatest sport in the world. I really hope your suggestion becomes reality some day.
Christine Foster
13   Posted 13/07/2010 at 06:58:41

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I think I said on another thread a while back that watching football can be so sterile because the game as we had been brought up to play and watch is not the game we see today.
It has its good points, in that skillful players are allowed to play a little more BUT instead of tackles we see blocks, manhandling and obstruction.

Physical contact is not allowed. Full stop. Its no longer a contact sport at world level.

The blatant failure to ignore the obvious playacting by referees is disgraceful. The merest touch means a player goes down, the sliding tackle is outlawed and deemed dangerous, the day of a centre forward such as Big Dunc has gone, his injuries didn't cause him to retire, the disgraceful refereeing decisions on contact did.

So where are we left now?

A sin bin for diving?
An automatic red card for simulation?
Or common sense? When a player goes down at the merest touch, play on. They will soon get the message.

The problem is not the game, the problem is that referees don't control it. As long as poor referees interpret a game the way they are told with an absence of common sense then the players will take advantage of it.

My advice to refs? Keep your whistle in your pocket and just tell them to get up when they run past...
Iain Love
14   Posted 13/07/2010 at 07:39:29

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Maybe a bit OTT about Xavi's legs but I still think Spain are boring, they are wonderful passers of the ball but it's a bit like chocolate ? lovely at first but too much makes you sick. I wanted to be entertained by the World Cup Final but 120 mins of passing bored me.

I agree with retrospective punishment ? not just for divers but cheats of all kinds, ie the Kaka sending-off.

Phil Roberts
15   Posted 13/07/2010 at 08:26:49

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As someone who also played Hockey into his 30s then I am totally confused about the 4 on 5

When I played it was 11 v 11 and when I saw it at the Beijing Olympics it was still 11 v 11 so when did the numbers change? I know we played a version of 6-a-side hockey at some tournaments but that was a real killer as it was on a regular sized pitch.

Mike Allison
16   Posted 13/07/2010 at 10:21:24

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Got to stick up for Paul (3), Spain are boring to watch. Football for me is about attacking football, flair and trying to score. Spain don't do any of that, they just pass it around all day and all night, low risk passes with little attempt to score. If people think the Spanish victory is a great thing for football we're in for an era of extremely boring 1-0 matches.

Phil (15), the OP is American, so when he says Hockey he means what you'd call Ice Hockey.

As for the 'lynch the divers' campaign that seems to be starting up, I'd argue its far less simple than that. Making a sly foul obvious to the referee by 'embellishing', when otherwise the cheating defender would have got away with it and stifled the football by unfair means is a good thing.
Mike Allison
17   Posted 13/07/2010 at 10:26:57

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Forgot to add that Robben was punished for not diving on Sunday night. Puyol would have been sent off and things could have been very different. He tried (for once!) to be honest and it cost him.
David McKitt
18   Posted 13/07/2010 at 12:36:09

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Have to agree with Mike, I was about to make the same point. It's got to a stage in football now were you have to dive to get a free...
Steve Pugh
19   Posted 13/07/2010 at 13:17:53

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I've said it before and I'll say it again. If a player is so badly injured that he is rolling about on the floor and has to leave the pitch, then he should be forced to sit on the side for five minutes just to make sure the 'injury' isn't too serious.

This won't affect people who go down because of body contact, they can simply get up and carry on, but it will stop all of the theatricals, nobody will want to put their team at a disadvantage just to earn a free kick in the centre of the pitch, and if someone is genuinely hurt then a five-minute break will allow for proper assessment, and a bit of recovery time.
Mike Allison
20   Posted 13/07/2010 at 17:51:01

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Steve, my Dad wants a rule that if you show pain you have to go off permanently! Your rule is an extension of the current one, the whole point of making players go off when they've been treated and wait to come back on is so that they won't go down so often. Everyone seems to have forgotten this, including referees, and it's clearly not working.

It's clear there's a distinction between exaggerating a sly foul to get the free kick you deserve and pretending to be hurt when you're not, maybe to get the opponent in trouble, maybe just to disrupt the flow of the game. Maybe your five-minute rule makes sense. In fact, how about if you have the trainer on, you have to stay off for as long as it took him to treat you, starting from when you hit the deck? The 4th official could be in charge of this timing as he does nothing else but tell a manager to stand in a box as opposed to two inches out of it.
Brian Waring
21   Posted 13/07/2010 at 19:01:02

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It's funny that some of the hoof ball (Apart from the second half of last season ) we have had to put up with over Moyes's tenure, we have people calling Spain boring.
Andy Crooks
22   Posted 13/07/2010 at 19:14:47

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Mike Allison, your Dad is on the verge of a bloody good idea.
John Schrempft
23   Posted 13/07/2010 at 20:45:58

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So,"You can't compare football to ice hockey, football is an entertaining sport, ice hockey is not (my opinion)."

Well, here's my opinion: You can't compare ice hockey to football; ice hockey is an entertaining sport and football is becoming less and less so.

In ice hockey, games practically never end 0-0, 1-0 is also rare. In other words, far, far more goals are scored and at top international level (England are much worse at international ice hockey than football), games are far better. Moreover, video evidence is used both during and after the games (certainly here in Switzerland) and players suitably punished.

Football is not improving: more diving, cheating, horrendous fouls, and poor refereeing are almost the norm. Spain dived and cheated and were sometimes boring (and won). Holland, well some of the players thought they were playing rugby not football.Sad, really.

I used to love watching Brazil but they've joined the rest. Win at any cost and don't take any prisoners.

Jamie Crowley
24   Posted 13/07/2010 at 23:05:59

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John -
You made my point much better than I did, and it matches perfectly (I think) with Fran's.

Retroactive punishments should be implemented without hesitation.

I can tell you that many of the soccer "haters" in America like the game but complain vociferously (big word, sorry) about the players reactions to tackles and faking injury. At points it's truly comical and dare I say embarrassing to watch. Grown men acting as if they've lost all semblance of manhood rolling around on the deck like a 6 year olds.

It really is just putrid.

If they can try to have a respect campaign with refs why the hell can't they at least try to stamp out this silly, disingenous, cheating behavior?

And as for the hard and dangerous fouls, why are refs so damn scared to show a red? That dude who kung-foo kicked the former RS midfielder should have been immediately sent off without question. Who gives a fiddler's fart if it happened in the 2nd minute, the 11th, or anytime in the beginning of the game? If the refs would just call a foul on the really horrendous tackles does it matter if we finish 9v9? I for one wouldn't mind.

Between the refs hesitancy to call the brutal offenses, and the players diving like little girls at every turn, it is truly becoming annoying to watch. Games, if not properly contested, turn into a damn circus event.

Something should be done on both ends of the spectrum and very soon IMO.

Rant over.
Chris Leyland
25   Posted 14/07/2010 at 00:29:56

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Like a number of people on this thread, I don't think Spain are this great, exciting team people are making out. Yes, they are great at lots of passing in non-threatening areas of the pitch but they don't create enough chances.

They won their last 4 games 1-0 to win the World Cup. They only scored 8 goals in their 7 games to win the cup. This makes them the lowest scoring winners ever by 3 goals. 62.5% of their goals were scored by one player. To me this isn't entertaining football and just demonstrates the paucity of international football and how poor a World Cup this actually was.

For me, the most entertaining team in this World Cup were Germany with 15 goals in their 7 games and with fast counter-attacking football rather than the dull, slow, non-penetrative, over-hyped passing game of the Spanish.

Iain Love
26   Posted 14/07/2010 at 10:10:13

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Well said, Chris.

Sky did some stats and Spain averaged 62% possession & over 600 passes per game, for 1.1 goals per game. The closest in the Prem was Manure at just under 600 passes and 58% possession but with 2.2 goals per game, Chelski 2.7 & Arse at 2.2. Sorry to go all statto but facts are facts.

Last word on diving, it can be very hard to prove and there is a hell of a lot of goals scored from set pieces nowadays (except with that Jabba ball).

Mike Allison
27   Posted 14/07/2010 at 11:34:59

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I don't understand Brian's comment (21) at all. You seem to equate short passing with excitement. This is far from the case. 'Hoofball' might be frustrating, it might lack skill or technique, but if a team hoofed it forward and scored goals that'd be far more exciting than watching Spain pass it around for two hours and grabbing a goal off a set piece as they did against Germany. They played 116 minutes against Holland before scoring, I didn't get excited once in that time.

If you think passing the ball around all day is exciting then you've really missed out on watching Croatian and Romanian teams who's sole purpose seemed to be to do that. Attacking and goals are exciting, not short passes.

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