Opinion: Diving and histrionics within football – How can it be stopped?

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VAR
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Last Sunday, we saw Spurs slump to another loss and the events that followed included Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer making comments on Son’s alleged ‘dive’.

The Norwegian manager claimed that ‘if my son stays down like this for three minutes and gets 10 of his mates around him to help him up then he won’t get any food.’

This, quite obviously, suggested that he felt the South Korean exaggerated the pain he had felt from a flick by Scott McTominay.

This type of incident is now becoming a frequent occurrence in football, with players becoming more ‘streetwise’ such as Harry Kane, who caused controversy this season over his move of backing into a player to win a freekick or penalty.

Diving has obviously caused many talking points amongst the pundits and analysis of the game. Therefore for this article, I will be asking the questions: Just how big an issue is diving in football now? Does it need kicking out? And if so, how would it be stamped out?

The first question I will be investigating the answer to is: how big of an issue is diving in football nowadays?

Well with the introduction of VAR to the modern game, diving and minuscule touches have been made to look worse than they appear to the naked eye, due to the power of slow-motion replays. Video assistant referees now able to unpick any touch that is possibly out of line in the sense of the law.

The increasing use of this technology is frustrating more and more fans, with the latest case being the flick on Son last weekend.

As it aggravates more people, the issue of diving within the sport has been identified as a major concern, so how do we stamp it out of the game after it has been a part of it for the last 20 years or so?

There are multiple theories on just how you would go about irradiating diving and histrionics from the game. One way would be just to firm up on a rule already made, which is the bookings for simulations.

We see it far too often that a player goes down without a trace of contact and gets up and back on with the game, even though there is a rule to prevent this exact situation.

Therefore, the referees could be encouraged to penalise dives or ‘simulations’ as its more formally referred to by organisations such as the FA.

Alongside the rule of collecting five yellow cards resulting in a match ban, the yellow cards given out for this type of foul would therefore hold some weight.

Another way to stamp out diving would be to introduce something that is proven to work within other sports, a sin bin. A sin bin is often used in sports such as ice hockey, and to good effect.

With the introduction of a sin bin to football this could see vital players being forced out of the game for a few minutes because of their histrionics.

This could be seen as a harsh treating of a small foul but if the governing bodies were truly serious about wiping these sorts of actions out of the game, then the introduction of a sin bin would certainly be a strong deterrent. With the use of VAR alongside this it could help determine whether a player should enter the sin bin or not.

In conclusion, would these methods ever come into fruition and will the FA and the Premier League even take a step forward towards stamping this out?

Looking for a realist’s point of view, no. All of these controversies and headlines are almost a positive thing for the league as they come with publicity without damaging the integrity of the league too much.

However, if the governing bodies of football did decide to take a stand in order to be seen as a leader in taking action, then the tightening of the simulation law could be a likely step forward as it would require no major rule changes while delivering a big impact.

On the other hand, adding something such as a sin bin could be an addition that would take years to materialise, but is something that could eventually happen.

For example, look at VAR, it was discussed for years after its success within rugby and was eventually added, which gives me reason to believe that something such as a sin bin could follow suit in the future.

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