Diving in footy, a.k.a. “The Russian judge gives it a 0.”


“The ref better be looking at this shit, yo!”

A ruling has come down that has immense potential, for both good and bad. UEFA has slapped Arsenal striker Eduardo with a two-match ban for “intentionally deceiving the referee.”

Editorials have weighed in, calling it abritrary and rather silly, like shutting the barn door after the horse has been spotted in the downtown area. Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger has likened the penalty to a “witch hunt.”

Why does this matter to us?

First off, here’s the video of the incident, for those who missed it.

You will never, ever see a more blatant, shamefully manipulative effort at (successfully) gaining a penalty, right?


Players dive all of the time. And the point of this is that we have two gentlemen on our club, who are getting a bit of a reputation, Dani Alves and Sergio Busquets.

Alves hails from the classic Brazilian, “I’m dead! I’m dead!” school of method acting, in which the motivation is simple: Act as though you’re getting a proctology exam with a red-hot poker. Make sure the ref sees you. Rise, limp around a bit and then back to it, mate.

Busquets, on the other hand, has a more stylized method, a combo platter of the Brazilian style, and the Catalan notion of seny (common sense). He only dives when he feels some contact, but then he sells it as hard as Alves, even as the whistle hasn’t gone, and the other club is scampering with the ball, toward our goal.

I don’t like divers. I even subtracted a point from an Alves rating in an earlier match for him diving.

But what of this ruling, and what does it symbolize? One of Goal.com’s cabal of caterwauling cockerels says that the ruling is hooey. His contention is that diving has gone on for eons, and why punish Eduardo, and why now?

The rule is simple: “suspension for two competition matches or for a specified period for acting with the obvious intent to cause any match official to make an incorrect decision.”

Note that the “incorrect decision” doesn’t specify location, as in “In the box.” So Alves or Busquets, or any Barca player, throwing himself to the turf at the slightest contact real or imagined, could very well get two matches off. Eduardo won’t be the last to be smacked down by this ruling.

My view is that yes, divers have been doing their thing for years, hands over a face contorted in pain, fingers spread just a teensy bit, to make sure that the official is watching the show. And it’s detestable. And it has to stop. The most effective way that I know of to make it stop isn’t to give a guy a yellow card, as is so often the case. It’s to ban his ass.

People are howling because the UEFA ban came after the match, in the indignant hindsight of 20/20, buttressed by shrieks of outrage by Celtic, among others. Arsenal would have won the tie even without the unjustly earned penalty, so why do it? Has diving become that ingrained in the fabric of the game that it becomes automatic?

–Is there any such thing as a justifiable dive?

–Will the Eduardo ban have any effect whatsoever on players’ willingness to swan to the turf, writing in mortal agony?

Good questions.

But first, let’s define a dive. For me, a dive is more than making a meal out of contact. It is feasting even in the absence of contact, when a player brushed your chest and you grab your face, falling to the turf. Or when you “trip” over an extended arm, hoping that in the bang-bang reality of a full-speed match, you can sell the penalty.

There is no such thing as a justifiable dive. And why isn’t making a meal of the slightest contact not considered in the same category as a dive? A player is still trying to deceive the ref, right?

Will the Eduardo ban have any preventive effect on diving? UEFA hopes so, but I say no. Unfortunately, it’s part of the game.

Is it arbitrary? Depends upon perspective, but UEFA had to start somewhere. This ruling was last implemented in 2008, and that one did nothing at all to stop players from trying to sell agony. And this one won’t either. Which doesn’t make it wrong. Diving does not belong in our beautiful game. It makes me cringe whenever Alves or Busquets do it, in part because we should be above that. Back in the day, the legendary English club Corinthians was the epitome of fair play. If a penalty was awarded against them, they didn’t even defend the net, saying in effect, “Well, we must have done it, so we’ll take our medicine.”

My sense of fairness wants the game to be as morally beautiful as it can be visually. This ruling won’t stop diving, but even if it makes people think about it, it’s a step in the right direction. Because diving is cheating, and cheating should be punished. No, not every cheater will be punished, which doesn’t mean that some who get caught shouldn’t be.

What say ye?

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. September 2, 2009

    Deco was easily our best diver in recent times! I was so glad he was in our team because it’s so frustrating watching people falling over so easily. (Jose Mari is by far the worst of them all)

    Kevin, the referees know who the divers are. I’m convinced the referees (in the EPL) have a whole notice board with notorious divers on it starting with Drogba, C.Ronaldo and the likes (they’re probably taking down ronaldo’s picture as I write this.. mumbling ‘Good Riddance’ under their breath.

    But this ruling sure has opened a can of worms…

  2. Necro Spaaw
    September 2, 2009

    Eduardo didn’t exactly dive, he was avoiding the keeper due to his mental issues since having a terrible leg break- This is what you call a dive (youtube.com/watch?v=Fmxm0ArnCLg). This action has set a precedent, Eduardo is a scapegoat now they need to be consistent.Punish the real divers al-la Drogba, Gilardino, Rooney, Taylor, Ronaldo. They won’t do jack though. Wenger is right it has been a witch hunt by the SFA and the media. Double standards. When someone is really caught cheating UEFA Don’t act. UEFA lost credibility years ago, so why am I not surprised. PS I hate cheats, I think all players should show the backbone to admit when it wasn’t a foul. Like Arshavin vs Portmouth last may when he tried to prevent a penalty against him. This is what Players should do in the perfect world, this is what Eduardo should have done, but how many players would have in the same situation? he who is without sin cast the first stone…

    do you know wat is a disgrace? that hypocrite Celtic coach Tony Mowbray who slagged Eduardo for diving, but when Aiden McGeady GETS SENT OFF for faking a foul to get a penalty (dive) vs. Hibernian, he fucking defends him(?)
    AND THEN he goes and says in 99 out of 100 cases that wouldn’t have been called for, if the Eduardo case wasn’t so much blown up. when he was the one blowing it up in the first place. hypocritic mothafuka

    do you know wat is disgrace? Eduardo may get a 2 game ban for faking it, while Martin Taylor from Birmingham only got a 3 game ban for almost chopping his bloody leg off.

    do you know wat is a disgrace? when WAYNE ROONEY dives vs Arsenal and wins a penalty, hardly any media speak of it, and he is just another hero in MUTD’s win against Arse.
    their precious little Englishmen.

    WELL FUK DAT. that is wat I say. hypocritical little bitches. that is a disgrace.
    Wenger is right, the only difference between Eduardo and Rooney is that Rooney is a better actor.

  3. Necro Spaaw
    September 2, 2009

    also, wat about the referees???
    they are paid to assess is it a foul or not? am I rite?
    so wat happens if they screw the course of the game? they don’t get prosecuted?? I think Chelsea fans would have something to say about that. (altho Chelsea fans would all be wrong, cuz not even 1 penalty from that game vs Barca was a 100%)

  4. Fares
    September 2, 2009

    Maybe those two extra refs they wanna put behind the goal can fix diving a bit.
    Banning a player for diving is a good move, but it should be done more often so that ppl start to think twice before trying to act, especially in the penalty area.
    I’ll never forget JUDAS FIGO when he acted his ass off in the Portugal – Netherlands match rolling all over the place and grabbing his face.

  5. ElShowDeJason
    September 2, 2009

    I was outraged when I heard that Eduardo could possibly get banned for this.

    He isn’t the first person to dive. He won’t be the last.

    Why don’t we look at every Cronaldo penalty. I’m sure there are enough dives in there to ban him for half a season.

    I am also unsure of the implications. Will EVERY player that EVER dives from now one get hit with a two match ban? or will it just be the ones that are successful? a yellow card if you get caught, and a two match ban if you succeed?

    Will this be limited to the 18 yard box. I forgot what game i was watching, but i thought it funny that the referee gave a yellow card for diving, but the play happened around the half-field-line! If someone is caught successfully fooling the ref there, should they also get a two-match ban?

    And if we are doing so much to remedy PKs awarded when not deserved, what should we do about the countless frivolous yellows dolled out for players that are pushed down in the box, and given a yellow, just because the referee didn’t deem the foul penalty-worthy. We saw it last night (or maybe against shaktar), When Pedro was dropped to the floor, and unjustly given a yellow. Penalty? debatable, but he definitely did not dive. There was heavy contact with TWO HUGE players, and whether the contact is interpreted as a foul or not, he was knocked over because of it.

    And what will we do about penalties not awarded, such as Arshavin’s against Manchester United.

    I would have liked the situation better, had UEFA come in and say; “from now on, players who simulate to receive a penalty shall receive a 2-match ban”, without attaching it to any event. Kind of like a warning.

    Instead, they penalize a player for doing something that almost everyone has been guilty of, and that has been going on forever. I am inclined to agree with Wenger, in that this seemed like a witch-hunt. Why start with him?

    I think this area of football, just like goal-line cameras, the 5 referee system, has to be handled with caution and finesse. I think UEFA went into this like bumbling fools.

    I’m all for following ever rule down to the letter. Shit, if it were up to me, i would give a yellow to EVERY single player who moves and inch closer to a free kick taker, after the ref has given the 10 yards. I would give a a yellow to EVERY single player who picks up or kicks away a dead ball that belongs to the other team. But those rules are written and set in stone. And every players knows them. This punishment came out of no-where and thats the problem i have with it. As far as i am concerned, And Eduard as well, the punishment for simulation is a yellow card. Period.

    I could be wrong though. Thats just how i feel.

  6. Aeneas
    September 2, 2009

    Nothing is more frustrating than watching a player dive. Barca can win any game without Alves and Busquets falling all over the place in the midfield. Plus, a good 50+% of fouls committed against Busquets would be avoided if he didn’t wait to dish out the ball until the last microsecond.

  7. BlaugranaDOOM
    September 2, 2009

    I agree that diving is terrible part of the game. Almost no human could knock down Drogba with a slight shoulder barge, yet he drops like a sack of potatoes off a ten story building. I hate it when Alves does it as well.

    The flip side is that referee’s won’t call a penalty unless a player goes down. There are many fouls that prevent a player from scoring, but unless the player falls over, its not a penalty.

    There are two parts of football that really bother me. One is the arbitrary nature of penalties. The other is how they deal out cards. Both can have a huge impact on the game, and the official has to make a decision in the blink of an eye with some of the fastest people in the world running around them.

    As to Eduardo, he was looking for the contact and probably a bit worried about the leg too, but the keeper pulled up smartly. I don’t think he was actually looking to dive without contact. If the Aluminia pulls his hands back, Rooney was already going down and it would have been the exact same play.

  8. Sid
    September 2, 2009

    This is one thing the game needed big time. I hate diving cheating more than fouls.Best thing about this is that it has 20/20 hindsight advantage.

    How can you expect everyday folks to be fair in their life choices when people as priviledged as Footballers resort to cheating? Its a joy watching Messi getting on with the game even after taking legitimate fouls.

  9. Alexis
    September 2, 2009

    I believe Eduardo deserves it. And anybody who fakes like that. Why? Arsenal would have won…would have…probably. But that penalty reduced Celtic chances to 0% (before that, they barely had 5%).
    The problem is that UEFA and / or national football associations are not consistent when applying rules. If UEFA keeps banning players during the whole season, I am pretty sure next year all these deceivers will be gone. But, unfortunately, they only do it once or twice throughout the year to see if the boys behave…

    On the other hand, implementing this rule all the way would mean that not only divers but the likes of shirt-pullers…would need to be banned as well. Don’t you think? I mean, isn’t that cheating the ref? Two players go head to head and one tries to slow or halt the other one by doing something illegal. Hey! They are trying to deceive the referee there! I barely see a yellow card for that (only when it is undeniable).

    Football is not a mechanical sport (unlike American football, where “thousands” of tv cameras keep an eye on the pitch and where coaches communicate with players – and other coaches up the stands- with radio signals). Football was invented by the English (as well as rugby) and it was intended to be a gentleman sport. If you watch a rugby match, the players do all kind of things to each other. But they play fair (99% of the times). Maybe it keeps being like that because us Latinos (Mediterranean or Central and South America) are not good at it and therefore do not play it! 🙂 Let’s keep it like that. I am pretty sure that if Spain, Portugal, Argentina or Brazil would have rugby teams competing at top level, they would need a bunch of extra umpires. Italy plays the Six Nations, but they usually get trashed, so no need of dirty manneouvers.

    Solution: I would favour the referees behind the goal line. Maaaaaany problems would be sorted.

  10. Han
    September 2, 2009

    “I would have liked the situation better, had UEFA come in and say; “from now on, players who simulate to receive a penalty shall receive a 2-match ban”, without attaching it to any event. Kind of like a warning.

    Instead, they penalize a player for doing something that almost everyone has been guilty of, and that has been going on forever. I am inclined to agree with Wenger, in that this seemed like a witch-hunt. Why start with him?” Amen ElShowDeJason

    I like the fact Kevin points out our own deficencies in the diving aspect. I will elaborate even a little more.

    My feeling is that we are a team that has become more and more liable to these diving accusations (be it some players more than others). The fact that Xavi, Messi, Iniesta to name a few are physically not the most impressive players. Yet due to their pure technical awesomness other players/teams see as their sole countervailing measure: chopping off their leggs, ankle’s,… .
    Referee’s give them a foul, but mostly no card or they give no foul and offenders get away with their criminal behaviour.
    This is where the Hero becomes the Villain…they start fallin’ faster, more often and when contacts are lighter, OR when there is none whatsoever. We start diving.

    There are a couple of points which I would like to stress.

    One, our players are/were generally taken physically weaker. Moreover, Barcelona is generally the technically stronger side (by far). So, the anatomy of our team makes a physical approach by competitors more efficient. In addition, our superiority on the technical side and reliance on possession of the ball often tends to drive other teams crazy.

    Both factors give way to “assassination attempts on the likes of Messi & Co” or at the least hard tackles, continuous pushing, punching, pulling, etc. (Spanish) Referees in general do not book the perpetrators of these criminal acts as strict as they should, e.g. a red directly when needed, a yellow at the first attempt of instigating physical damage instead of going for the ball (See El Classico @Camp Nou vs Messi last season) and should continue to do so to defend football as a game. Because of a continuation of this process (foul no card,etc) , game after game, season after season…our guys tend to fall more easily/usually when contact is made.

    A good example of this process is Ronaldinho who tried to keep his actions going even when kicked, pushed, squeezed,… in his early days at Barça. Yet the opponents rarely got cards or a free kick against them, when Ronnie lost the ball or the action failed after an offence was made and he kept on going.

    A simple solution to this problem exists, one falls directly when “contact” is made. The consequence is more cards for opponents, more freekicks and thus the more scoring opportunities or numerical advantageous situations arise. That is exactly what he did, he fell more easily. Ofcourse he also got lazyier because he could rely on his free kicks one the one hand but on the other because the only way to stop him was to “hack a Ronnie” and cards stayed in the pocket of the referees. After a while when all these processes were fully internalized, Ronnie started diving and got even awarded with penalties, free kicks,… he became good at it and these days he falls more easily than leaves do in autumn.

    All in all, while it doesn’t look like some smaller decisions on the part of the referee seem to matter, they actually do tremendously. Giving a yellow card after dirty fouls, while the victim has chosen to continue playing the game (but not receiving a benefit) is essential. Moreover, it is imperative to punish criminal tackles from moment 1, hence a whole other process starts to little by little ruining the beautiful game.

    As long as perpetrators get away with their acts and opponents gain by cheating, we will continue to fall harder, better ,faster, stronger.

  11. ElShowDeJason
    September 2, 2009

    I agree, what now happens to Jackass defenders that pull on shirts during set pieces, and are not called on it. They are, in a way, deceiving the referee. Because if the referee has seen it, it should be a penalty. So the defender is doing so, assuming that he will not get caught.

    I hate shirt pulling defenders more than divers.

    Or, if anyone can remember England v (Trinidad and Tobago?) in WC06

    Peter Crouch went up for a Beckham cross, and pulled on the defender’s hair, to get over him and head in a goal. I think that deserves the same, if not a more sever ban. And that went unpunished.

  12. txikidracula
    September 2, 2009

    “cabal of caterwauling cockerels”? someone has thesaurus.com under their bookmarks j/k j/k good stuff good stuff

    this whole deal reminds me of zidanegate’06. that decision empowered little bitch ass sideline referees to confer w/the real referee & decide a game. i wasn’t against that ruling but i have a feeling this two match ban thingymabob may have the same sort of effect on a match.

    i’m not for video replays or any sort of retroactive punishment on anybody in the beautiful game. referees have a job to do on the pitch, not off of it.

    p.s. i dig the fun fact about corinthians. that’s fucking awesome.

  13. ElShowDeJason
    September 2, 2009

    Han, kudos for the Daft Punk reference.

  14. txikidracula
    September 2, 2009

    p.p.s i think the whole yellow card for taking off a shirt thing should be appealed. girlys want to see more sweaty boys w/their shirts off. give them what they want.

    sporting club would be in the champions league right now if it weren’t for that bunk ass shit.

  15. Alexis
    September 2, 2009

    Another option would be a fine to the deceivers. Maybe a 1% of their salary. And increasing if they are reincident. That would hurt! For if they are banned, the ones suffering the consequences are the team and the fans. Whereas if you get their money….oh boy! trust me when I say that would sting!

    @Han, I agree with you! I was thinking the same. Our stars are technically gifted, but not strong. You only need a slight kick to make them tumble to the ground, due to their fast pace when controlling the ball. Therefore, I believe Barça get much more fouls per match than any other team. However, only a small amount of them get punished.

    @Txikidracula, girls should be happy with Ibra then! He removes his shirt at the end of each match to show his tattoo-covered body 🙂

  16. txikidracula
    September 2, 2009

    excuse me for talking on behalf of the birds out their, but that’s just not enough ;^)

  17. txikidracula
    September 2, 2009

    i’d be taken more seriously if i knew how to spell

  18. September 2, 2009

    In principle, I think they had no right to punish him, even if he clearly dived. There were similar incidents before and the UEFA did not act. So this one sounds a picky punishment even if it was not.

    They could have issued a specific new regulation (article) explaining the punishment of diving. And you start apply it for the diving that happens after you confirm the regulation, you do not apply it for what happened before. Or else why going only one week before, why not one month?

    But the interesting issue is: If every time a player dive in a league he get banned for the two following games, then C.Ronaldo will play less than 13 games this season.

    If two dives or more in the same match earn you additional punishments, then the poor creature will spend the whole season banned, and still be in a banning dept.

  19. September 2, 2009

    Its not right to comment before reading other comments, some may have explained things better, so you dont need to make the effort.

  20. Hilal
    September 2, 2009

    What pisses me off most about divers, is that they make it harder for the players who actually try to stay on their feet. It seems that refs are more than happy to award free kicks for dives and then not punish players for constantly kicking at the heels of the likes of Messi or Xavi. It is as if just because they didnt go down the foul wasnt bad enough to warrant a free kick, when more often than not, they are blatant and consistent. Messi in particular gets a lot of this sort of treatment, instead of making a blatant foul the defender just kicks at his heels over and over and because Messi is Messi if course he wants to stay on his feet.

    I can understand the need for players like Alves though, all teams have them, so why shouldnt we. That player that really gets under your skin and ruffles your feathers. He gets the opposition going and it must be infuriating. I am not saying I like it, I hate divers, to me it is one of the most shameful things in the game, but i can understand it. However what is abosultely inexcusable to me are the players that roll around on the ground when the opposition has the ball and is attacking. Its one thing to go down and then get up immediately if the whistle doesnt blow, its another to stay down rolling around when the ref clearly hasn’t bought it. There is nothing worse than seeing a player rolling around on the floor while the opposition is on a break.

  21. Kxevin
    September 2, 2009

    I feel much the same as many. I don’t know about when to implement the penalties, though. I would imagine that not many players or coaches, for that matter, know about the “deceit” rule, and its application/penalties.

    I think a larger problem is when to crack down on people. Many of us have received sanction for some infraction that is a common practice, such as speeding, or turning on red. On that day, at that time, you got pipped. Arbitrary? You bet. But the rule is still there to be implemented by the official in question.

    And there’s the problem, as has been so correctly pointed out. The modern game is so fast now, and there is no single refereeing standard. A foul for one ref is not a foul for different ref. Some refs are always in a good position to see a play, some never are.

    I’m not, ultimately, sure what the answer is regarding diving and its eradication from the game. In many ways, it’s become like a charging foul in the NBA. Many players, particularly European ones (perhaps a legacy of the footy dive?) have mastered the art of falling backward as if poleaxed when the offensive player makes contact with them. He gets the foul, their team gets possession. It’s a judgment call by the referee.

    This one flummoxes me. I’m just not sure what the answer is.

  22. Kxevin
    September 2, 2009

    Hilal also raises a good point about forcing the foul call. If you’re getting hammered the whole match, at some point it would seem that you have to hit the deck and roll around to call attention to it.

    Or have players such as Xavi and Messi earned the right to go to the ref and say “Dude, I’m getting killed. Do you want to start calling those, or should I start flailing about on the pitch as if I’ve been shot?”

    I’d wager that for every fake call that a diver gets, he doesn’t get a real call because the ref thinks he’s BSing. That started happening to Alves, and it’s happening to Busquets. Refs talk, and players get reputations.

  23. Han
    September 2, 2009

    Spot on Kevin, I remember a quite vivid example in the first leg vs Chelsea last year

    “Or have players such as Xavi and Messi earned the right to go to the ref and say “Dude, I’m getting killed. Do you want to start calling those, or should I start flailing about on the pitch as if I’ve been shot?”

    It are these kind of games that have made our guys go to the ground a little bit faster.In retrospect looking at Ronnie,that is what happened to him. He just went from messi-like, staying on his feet to Inzaghi-like, falling like an actor.

    Hopefully the latter part of your reputation part comes true for CR94. Just having my doubts about that in La Liga given the “virginal” team he plays for.

  24. September 2, 2009

    News/Rumor just in…… Ibra is carrying a minor knock sustained against Gijon. Barca have asked Sweden not to play him in the qualifier

  25. eklavya
    September 2, 2009

    Oops I meant Reagan of course…

  26. OhYes
    September 2, 2009

    “Eduardo didn’t exactly dive, he was avoiding the keeper due to his mental issues since having a terrible leg break-”


    Alves and Busi have nothing to worry about. The Eduardo situation was a clear-cut, down-right obvious dive that the ref couldn’t have spotted due to the angles and whatnot. Alves and Busi don’t dive, they overreact, which is harder to prove. That can often work against us, anyway, as Busi has often proven.

    This is a step in the right direction. Wegner’s “they’re picking on us!!” Answer is downright despicable. Your boy got caught breaking the law..deal with it.

  27. Ciaran
    September 2, 2009

    Ibra (€40m)
    Chygrynskiy (€25m)
    Keirrison (€15m)
    Maxwell (€5m)
    Pedro (free – promoted)

    Total 5 players: €113m

    Eto’o (free)
    Guddy (free + €2m)
    Xavi Torres (free)
    Sylvinho (free)
    Jorquera (free)
    Victor Sanchez (free)
    Caceres (loan)
    Hleb (loan)
    Keirrison (loan)
    Henrique (loan)

    Total 10 players: €0 plus €2million clauses.
    Total 5 players less and €111m worse off.

    Youth Team players for possible promotion:

    Which leaves us hoping that the football gods are smiling on us in terms of injuries and suspensions.

    Having worked it all out, I’m a little worried.

  28. Ciaran
    September 2, 2009

    Shit, I got mixed up between the €68million and €40m plus Eto’o valuations.
    My bad

  29. Citizen
    September 2, 2009

    A question:

    So if a ball clearly goes out of bounds off of a player, and then he raises his hand claiming vehemently that it was out off the other team, then should he be suspended for 2 games as well?

    Cheating is cheating, so you shouldn’t selectively enforce the rule.

  30. OhYes
    September 2, 2009

    Why are people focusing on the fact that this is the first time the rule has ever been applied? That makes no difference on the existence of it. It’s there, period, so don’t do it.

    There are many laws in government that don’t get applied consistently or on a regular basis. Jay walking is the most common one. I can jaywalk in front of a cop and he wouldn’t do anything. Another is littering, speeding, etc. That doesn’t make them less of a law, and people only think of them as unfair when they get caught.

    If you don’t want to get in trouble for it, don’t do it to begin with.

    Either way, it’s fairly common for authorities to use someone as an example, and Eduardo could be that example. From here on out, they might be handing out suspensions for players who dive. Or they might not. I prefer the former but, either way, Eduardo is guilty. So…

  31. Han
    September 2, 2009

    just for all of us and maybe Isaiah especially to remember. Out of a post about exactly 1 year ago (hopefully not used before):

    “So there it is, your Barcelona 2008-2009 team. I’m excited, you’d better be excited, and soon we’ll see exactly why. We won’t win the Triple, probably not even a double, but we’ll contend at every level, and we can certainly win the league back, which will be about time. Real Madrid is going to be good, so is Villarreal, so is Sevilla, but we’re going to be better, more incisive, and, most importantly, more creative.”

    Feels good to prove some intelligent culé got it wrong with his prediction.

    @Ciaran hopefully Pep just instinctivily knows how much he has to invest to get the treble:-) last year’s price was Alves, Keita, Pique and Pinto. Now probably a bigg-ass swede, a hairy ukrainian geek, a cheap brazilian and lil’ spanish boy. Fine by me, as long as his instinct doesn’t fool him.

    Yet it is quite mercurial that we did not get a single euro coming back from sales. Damn crisis, consumption has plummeted!!!

  32. Helge
    September 2, 2009

    It’s a good move from the UEFA to finally make this rule happen. And even if the rule says differently, I don’t think that a player will get banned if he dives in his own half or in any meaningless situation.
    Plus, if the rule is already existing since 2008 but nothing happened until 1 week ago, I suppose that people will only get banned
    – for as obvious dives as Eduardo’s
    – for dives that lead to a goal or at least a golden opportunity

    The rule will be applied in this way and still, there will be players who get away with their dives. BUT I guess it won’t take another 10 months (or since whenever this rule exists) until the next player gets penalized. And this might actually have an effect on the other divers.

    In particular for us, this rule might turn out to be an advantage. As I’ve said, I can’t imagine Alves or Busquets being banned for making a less important dive in the midfield area, but I know at least one certain Portuguese person from Real Madrid who likes to dive the Brazilian way, but closer to the penalty area than our renowned divers. So watch out CR, UEFA got their eyes on you 😀

  33. Kxevin
    September 2, 2009

    Bwahahahahaha! Thanks for that, Han. Isaiah sucks! 😀

    What will interest me is whether the UEFA strictness trickles down to league level.

    And, this just in: Well, not just in, but news to me as of 3:10 a.m. Chicago time:

    Baby Kxevin’s going to the Camp Nou Clasico!

    To say that I’m over the moon would be an understatement. Champions League tix aren’t on sale yet, but I figure on being able to grab one of those, as well. That’s the Tuesday before.

    Barcelona, here I come!

    I have never, ever seen the stadium, via the on-line ticket finder service through the club, completely sold out. Even as I would click on a section, in the time it took to churn, the seat was gone. I wound up in the south goal about a third of the way up, but I would sit on the roof, frankly.

    So. Excited. Right. Now.

  34. September 2, 2009

    OhYes, the escence of law is Justice, and the key of Justice is fairness. No Fairness=no justice=no law.

    If applying the law becomes a selective (moody) matter, where do we go from there? Just imagine.

    Besides, there is no rule for diving, but for cheating. What about the example Citizen mentioned. What if a defender while covering a ball so the opponent’s forward doesn’t reach it, dived on the ball demanding a foul when he feels that the forward may get the ball? What if the referee saw a handball and whistled a penalty while it was not? Will every player who was close to the ball get punished for not telling the referee that its not a penalty? I mean its an extreme case but if you look at it, its still cheating. What if a player pretended being injured to waste time or to kill the game tempo? Its all cheating after all.

    You cant apply the law articles subjectively, based on the taste of each case. In fact lawyers do less effort to prove their clients not guilty than the effort they put to point out that the “evidences” are not valid to apply “the legal articles”, and most of the time based on previous cases where the law proved nonexistence. It sucks, but again that’s how far we can go to justice, with a sense of equity.

    And Helge, again you do not get a fine only if you turn on red and cause an accident. You get a fine for turning on red. So diving is diving, if its in midfield or in the box. If it causes a goal or not. What if a forward steels the ball from the last defender creating a scoring opportunity, then the defender dived fooling the refree who whistles a foul? The diver didnt score, nor the forward. So?

    Noting that I am not defending divers. nor trying to say the divers must not be punished. But the legal firms related to football are pissing me off recently. There is a way to apply the law. Its not the way UEFA is practicing it.

  35. September 2, 2009

    Kxevin, I am planning to go there during that week as well. But not a final decision yet. I wonder if it will be too late to wait till the end of month regarding finding tickets. I am trying to sort things out here to get that week for free.

  36. September 2, 2009

    You lucky, lucky….grrr…….man.

    Congrats, Kevin! That will be epic.

  37. Kxevin
    September 2, 2009

    True, Ramzi. What UEFA is in effect doing is slapping one kid on the hand for stuff that all the other kids are also doing, in the hope that it will stop them doing what they’re doing.

    It won’t, just as it didn’t when implemented the first time, in ’08 (also a two-match ban).

  38. Kxevin
    September 2, 2009

    Ramzi, this morning was a first for me to see the stadium completely sold out. Even for last year’s Clasico, that wasn’t the case. And this was at about half-hour after tix went on sale.

    Three options: You could sign up for a tour package, where a group that already has tix gets you in; scalp them, though I hear they’re already in the 400 Euro range; or hope that some tix get freed up via the Seient Lliure system, where members and season ticket holders turn back tix they aren’t going to use. Those get kicked into the system a couple of days before.

    If you’re going to be in Barcelona that week, we definitely have to hook up. And it would be worth popping in to the stadium on Wednesday or Thursday, to ask about seats being released.

    And Champions League tickets, because the whole stadium is in play, will be easier to score. It could be the same as Shakhtar, where the group is decided by then, and we roll out the kids vs their second string.

  39. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    In spain everyone dives, maybe in England they don’t do a s much I don’t know. Both teams can dive so it’s a fair cheat… the wrong thing would be if only one team of the two can cheat. Plus it is a know phrase that “el fútbol es para listos” – “football is for smart people”. And a 1-0 from an unfair penalty vs for example is really a thrill. Hristo dived a lot… so I can’t say a bad thing about diving. It’s a cheat ok but everyone can do it and it’s part of the game. Plus… tell a players who’s losing 1-0 in a CL game, gets close to the keeper and is gonna miss the chance not to dive, it’s impossible. I love to see kids playing football and they all dive and shout in false pain because their idols do… I find it really funny 😛

    if the ref gets fooled he calls it and he sees the cheat he takes a yellow card to the diver no big deal. That’s what the ref is for.

    btw…. did the ref call the penalty? I guess the ban is beacause the ref called it 😉

  40. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    …. a 1-0 from and unfair penalty vs EE for example is really a thrill….

    sorry 🙁

  41. Kxevin
    September 2, 2009

    The ref did call the penalty, poipoi. And it put the knife in what slim chance Celtic had to beat Arsenal.

    And I agree with your last scenario, even though the fair play guy in me would feel guilty for being giddy.

  42. September 2, 2009


    That was in all caps for a reason.

    I’ll hold the fort down here and will probably go to Nevada Smiths because fuck that, I’m going to have a blast instead of going to Camp Nou (and crapping myself in happiness). It’ll save me about $1000, so I’m pretty into that part. I just need to get The Lady to transfer to a Spanish banking institution for a year and then I can go to Camp Nou games all the damned time.

  43. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    kxevin… I read you’re a soci!! that’s nice, congratulations 😛

    how much is is it if you don’t have a seat, just acces to buy big game tix like CL?

  44. Kxevin
    September 2, 2009

    Been a soci for a while, sir. It’s a 20% discount over regular prices for socis. Champions League tix aren’t crazy expensive, though the Inter tie will be high-demand if the group is still in play, and both teams have to field full-strength sides. My CL ticket last year was EUR88, and I was center of the park, Tribuna side, about mid-way up.

    This is as opposed to EUR225 for Clasico tix in the good spots.

  45. Kxevin
    September 2, 2009

    UNDER regular prices! Sorry. Sleepless hands aren’t working right.

    Isaiah, that PIN number thing is new this year. They assigned them two years ago, but you didn’t need it last year to purchase tickets via the Web.

    From 3:30 to about 5 a.m., you could barely get on the site. They need better servers!

  46. September 2, 2009

    Thanks Kxevin. I believe there has to be some tours going from sweden. If I got my ticket this way, it will be another reason why I wanted us to sign Ibra. 😀

    I needed three important events to feel the trip worth, now I have it (not in that order):

    – Watching Barcelona beating Real Madrid and ronaldo staring up to the sky (as he usually does)with a sweaty -squeezed like a yellow lemon-face telling his god that he diserves better for being the 1st, 2nd, 3rd player his mom ever delivered, but its just that he is playing for a shitty team, he cant do everything alone. And Pellegrini tactics sucks! And the moments where Perez fix his eyeglasses and Valdano fixing his tie. While Laporta is too excited that he cant set still in his place even though the president keep trying hard to behave.

    – Watching Mou walking nervously outside the field complaining that even though Ballotelli is the best forward in the world, Mancini is better than Messi, and Ibra is nothing without the bless of the special one, Inter lost 5-0 because the Referee only counted 2 minutes as extra time instead of three and Iniesta used trash talk against Materazzi who is too classy to handle it.

    – And meeting Kxevin to get a lecture about “How to write a football article the journalists way?”

  47. September 2, 2009

    The funny side of the story:

    What if Eduardo goal was the goal that knocked out Celtic from the competition?

    Will UEFA knock out Arsenal instead and keep Celtic? Because if not, it seems that you are telling the thief to keep the money, but he has to stay for a year or two in preson, then he can go out and spend it.

  48. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    I always try to go to the field, when I can afford it 🙁 But I never though about being a soci because I thought it would be expensive.

    I just looked it up in the web, you can become a soci from there and it’s 77 euros for people over 15…. is it?

    the web also says that it’s up to 40% discount for football and basket tix. Free tickets for hockey handball and “futbol sala” !!!!

  49. Kxevin
    September 2, 2009

    Be sure to include xocolata as part of that deal. Mmmm! Molten dark chocolate, in a cup. 😀

    And I’ll be too busy picking your brain about tactics.

  50. Kxevin
    September 2, 2009

    Yep. For old folks like me, the fee is EUR155, but worth every penny.

  51. yogi
    September 2, 2009

    Great Kevin, you can now report from inside stadium:).

    I am ok with UEFA banning Eduardo as the discipline needs to be applied at some point but the question is, how will they continue this practise. I hope this is not one off as it will mean petty vindictiveness. Looking at UEFA track record, one cannot expect anything else though, sadly.

    Alves is funny, when not irritating with his theatrics.

  52. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    what do you mean old folk? long time soci or something?

    from 15 to infinity is 77 Euros for what I see on the FCB page 🙁

    I remeber alves in Mestalla loosing time trying to win an oscar and absolutely everyone remembering his mother’s supposed profession… priceless ! The bad thing is when it happens to you, but that’s the way it is 😉

  53. September 2, 2009

    poipoi, you’re seeing the price for the rest of the calendar year. The full calendar year costs double that.

  54. eklavya
    September 2, 2009

    damn ciaran….now I feel worried…
    This a test from a mobile BTW…

  55. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    oh…. but we are not thoough half season yet!! the best is yet to come!! I’ll buy it next year by this time then 😉

  56. Flippy
    September 2, 2009

    I was up from 4 to 5 this morning, constantly trying to get tickets, but the server was SO BAD!! I even tried using Servicaixa and ticketmaster.es, both of them didn’t work as well!! The telephone didn’t work either… Nothing worked…Then later there were a about 10 seats left, but each were in a different section and never together. The only 2 seats together was really really really high up. DAMN!! :.(
    I guess I got to hope that I can get the tickets in the last few days, but it seems unlikely…

  57. fcbfan
    September 2, 2009

    new Shirt numbers are out for the new season. 24 players registered including Milito which makes it 23 actually, and out of 23, 13 are canteranos! is that normal or what.

  58. fcbfan
    September 2, 2009

    and Ramzi your wishful scenario of the Inter match and clasico, I’d like to see that! and oh, Kaka’s “I belong to Jesus” and Jesus aka Chygnasty is on our side, so, 😀

  59. Kxevin
    September 2, 2009

    I can’t believe we registered Milito. I overheard from the announcers during the Gijon match that he has a back injury now? Yikes. But I guess it doesn’t hurt to register him, since we have a small squad anyhow.

    It was a mess, Flippy. I think the only reason I had any success at all was that I was only after a single ticket. In the time that the page took to churn, more tix were gone. And as I said, from about 3:30(CT) to about 5, you could barely get on the site.

    I think it was the same as last season, Ciaran, in that we were a major injury away from not working the magic. It’s the same this year, and it’s true for most clubs. Look at Spurs. They were rolling, then Modric fractures his leg and now they’re ordinary. Rare is the team that can slot someone in an injury slot and not lose anything.

    We just have to hope for the same luck with injuries this season as last, and hope that Guardiola’s preventive injury regimen continues to show its effectiveness.

  60. Kxevin
    September 2, 2009

    fcbfan, the Inter CL match is Tuesday, with the Clasico on Saturday. I’m doing the double, for sure.

  61. utility73
    September 2, 2009

    I am all for punishing divers more harshly but I’d wish for the FIFA/UEFA to punish the misdoings on the other end of the scale, too!

    A lot more instant red cards should get dished out for harsh fouls which recklessly risk servere injuries on the receiving end.

  62. September 2, 2009

    poipoi, if you’re going to do it, do it at the beginning of the calendar year (Dec or January) because the membership runs from January-December, not during the season. It has nothing to do with the football season.

    Flippy, I had the same problem.

  63. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    yes! they should stop all the beating and care less about the diving. no one is gonna get injured for diving. well… maybe the diver 😉

  64. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    thanks isaiah! good to know, I thought it was all depending on the season

  65. Kxevin
    September 2, 2009

    Here’s the thing about diving and the fouls question that utility73 raises. If some guy takes a chunk out of Messi’s leg to prevent him from doing them damage, play stops, we take a (probably) harmless free kick and the damage is done.

    Are fouls now going to be categorized? And why not put a number on them, as they do in the National Basketball Assn? At present, you can just foul away, with no real repercussions as long as the fouls aren’t cardable. Yes, you can get the vexation accumulation card, but fouling is a legitimate tactic that clubs use to take better clubs off their game.

    So what about that? I would say 4 fouls in a match gets an automatic red. Otherwise, clean-playing teams such as us get penalized for not fouling the crap out of someone. I recall, when the Valencia attacker just waltzed through our defense to score that goal right before the half, screaming “Foul him! Foul him!”

    They didn’t listen.

  66. Helge
    September 2, 2009

    Wow. Congratulations Kxevin, you are about to see the two most awaited home matches of our season!!! Not only will you see the Clasico, but you’re lucky enough to see the return of Eto’o. It doesn’t get any better, right? 😉
    And damn it, I really hope Ramzi’s expectations on both matches will be fulfilled.

    Will you paint a big sign with “Barcelonafootballblog – més que un Blog”? That would be great, but possibly its not allowed to advertise your own website…

  67. Helge
    September 2, 2009

    That’s a great idea Kexvin, especially from our point of view 🙂

    But Platini already tried to support the weaker teams by changing the draws for the CL qualy, so I guess he won’t be satisfied with it.
    This rule would only increase the gap between the few top clubs of each country and the rest.

    Nevertheless, if one day Kevin Williams will be President / CEO or whatever of the UEFA, I will welcome it.

  68. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    kxevin… I’d go for that (maybe 5 or 6 fouls and you’re out) but calling names to the ref is part of the football idiosyncrasy, and since he’s the one judging if the repeated fouls deserve a card, taking that weight off his shoulders could be a bad thing for the show. Good for the sport but bad for the show I think.
    One thing that is sure, the refs should take more care of the players that bring people to the stadium, which are mainly the cracks, the dribblers, the attacking guys.

    lol …. cardable = f*ckable in catalan

  69. SoccerMom
    September 2, 2009

    Oh boy am I going to hear about this but …

    I don’t think that suspensions for diving are warranted. I’m not even all that comfortable with yellow cards for diving.

    I don’t want to see an over-tech’ed game, as some have mentioned above, like American football (where everyone has little headsets, a bazillion cameras, instant replay, blah blah) … it’s ugly and causes delays in an already halting sport. Even the tennis replays bother me. The graphics look like my son’s FIFA Playstation game in an otherwise superglam sport. The introduction of more technology to soccer is a real possibility once players lose entire games over a replay. There’s too much $$ at stake.

    I like the human factor of soccer. There’s very little equipment. It’s a bunch of guys and a few refs here and there. That humanity has its beauty but its pratfalls, too. Sure the players raise their hands more than the nerdiest kid in the class. Sure they point all over the place like an out-of-whack compass. Of course they dive. And if the linesman says it’s onside, or a goal kick, or not a foul, well then, the ref doesn’t blow the whistle. Period.

    Some of the most memorable soccer moments are those miscalls, mistakes, mischeviousness-es. Would y’all erase the ‘mano de Dios’ goals from Maradona and Messi (as our dear RayRay said, ‘If you’re not cheating, you don’t want it enough!’) Or — even better than the Deco dives — the Deco FOULS that he made look like his OPPONENT dived? Or the after-match press rounds where everyone falls all over himself to sound indignant and gracious at once?

    And for any holdouts out there, this is your MasterCard priceless moment (with a Pep walk-on?)


  70. September 2, 2009

    I say no to the fouls number, just that refs should actually implement the rules of the game fairly. If you’re fouling a lot, you get a yellow card to stop. And if you don’t stop, you get a red card.

    Diving should be an automatic yellow. If a player goes down flailing and it isn’t a foul, then it’s a dive. Option A or Option B. If a dive is not called, then that player should receive retroactive punishment. And players that foul continuously should also get retroactive punishment.

  71. ooga aga
    September 2, 2009

    like arsene said, sometimes you dive or lunge away to avoid contact. sure you dive, but it wasnt to earn a penalty — it was to protect yourself. anyone who has played soccer understands this.

    or, what if the goalie’s arm is outstretched on the ground right where you are about to put your cleat? you realize at the last second, instead of mangling his arm, you do a little leap and roll. this has happened to me as well as a player. but you dove right? then you get penalized for trying to look out for someone else.

  72. ooga aga
    September 2, 2009

    that is to say, it’s complicated. and yeah it seems arbitrary. i dnot know a good way though to solve the problem.

  73. El Tel
    September 2, 2009

    The Eduardian irony is that if the ref had got the call right, we’d only be dealing with a yellow card. But then Arsenal wouldn’t have had that first goal off the penalty. So a two-game ban is not so harsh after Celtic’s hopes were unfairly ‘scotched,’ putting them down 3-0 on aggregate. Still, Arsenal were the better side and deserved to go through.

    Wenger’s overreacting but he’s doing what any other coach would do – defending his player. And he’s been testy for a couple of years now, feeling hard done on many calls that don’t go his way day in and day out in the Prem. Kevin’s right about the footballing xenophobia there – just listen to the ESPN announcers when they wax philosophical.

    For the record, “hit and hope” football is boring and ineffective, and the pitches in England have been good enough to keep a stylish control-passing side going. Arsenal, Man U, Chelsea, and Liverpool are all teams that control the ball well and pass stylishly. The top English teams have grown away from that old-style English game necessitated by rutted pitches and pooling water. Let’s hope

  74. El Tel
    September 2, 2009

    Sorry, the last line was deleted – should be…

    Let’s hope the commentators catch up soon.

  75. Tutomate
    September 2, 2009

    It’s a complicated issue. Because there are so many things involved. Because we are asking people to decide the existance or lack of “intention” which is so vague and leaves so much room for inconsistencies. Why Eduardo? Why now? Are important questions that should NOT ne so easily dismissed. I’ve seen the video I even seen it live on tv and it wasn’t the most blatant dive. The key to me would be the “divers” reaction after they hot the groud. Do they continue to fake or do they just get up. Because when your running at full speed and you see another body coming full speed at you, one expects an impact and braces for it. There are far worse ways of cheating in football IMHO. Like consistently fouling and kicking a player.
    A 2 match ban is excessive, he should have gotten what he deserved if the if the ref had seen t a yellow. The problem is that the REF made a mistake and awarded the penalty.
    I prefer the extra linesmen behind the goal. Not video replay be cause then you should go back and punish every foul the ref didn’t see. Bt hind sight is 20/20.
    I guess we will see if UEFA is consistant. My guess is they won’t be.

  76. Tutomate
    September 2, 2009

    Soccer mom makes a good point. And of course I also hate cheats. It’s just that this will bring more problems than solutions.

  77. September 2, 2009

    Eduardo dove. He did not call out for a penalty. Perhaps he was trying to prevent injuring himself or the goalie. But he did not try to correct the referee’s interpretation that it was a foul.

    There was no legitimate contact. It was a moment that could have changed the outcome of the game — after all it gave Arsenal the first goal. A two match ban is legitimate.

    However I have two problems with this rule and its implementation.

    First, UEFA allows video evidence to penalize a player for something a referee did not see. But it will not allow video evidence to overturn a referee’s decision: i.e. Abidal’s and Fletcher’s suspensions from the final in Rome (both were excluded on penalties which really were not penalties). This rule on simulation and its implementation just smacks of hypocrisy.

    Second, what is to stop every team from claiming ‘simulation’ when a player goes down, even if ‘diving’ is the only way to arrest a referee’s attention to the fact that a foul was committed? FIFA and UEFA have come a long way from the days when two footed tackles and challenges from behind were committed. By giving fouls referees protect players from injury. The game today is played at such a fast pace, which makes it elegant and exciting, but also makes it easier for players to get injured. The game needs to protect its athletes from injury (i.e.: Eduardo, who lost a year and a half to a horrific tackle).

    It seems to me that the best solution is one that FIFA has been experimenting with — putting extra officials behind the back lines in order to act as extra sets of eyes. An extra official behind the goal would have had the angle to see that the goalie in this instance made no substantial contact with Eduardo and could have advised the referee and allowed for the referee to make the correct decision: a yellow for Eduardo and play on.

  78. September 2, 2009

    To follow up on my first objection, above, the English FA will review video evidence and can increase or decrease the penalties for on pitch behavior appropriately.

  79. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    more refs behind the back lines would be a nice solution if anyone wants to solution anything. I’m fine with how things are right now – penalty or yellow card.

    btw… wasn’t it Osasuna vs EE when a player got two yellow cards for diving when both were fouls? the refs are soooooo bad

  80. Achraf
    September 2, 2009

    Hry poipoi what is the video you posted.

    El piscinazo mas grande…

  81. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    I know there is a much better one but I can’t find it

  82. Eduard
    September 2, 2009

    ibrahimovic has a knee injury 🙁

  83. Achraf
    September 2, 2009

    i meant hey and i don’t know wat the video is about so I asked

  84. Kevo
    September 2, 2009

    #4! FANTASY! ouuu yeah
    Too bad half my squad didn’t play but Keiteee saved the day for me… that dude is a monster!

  85. Achraf
    September 2, 2009

    never mind i understand now so el piscinazo is dive

  86. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    yes achraf… It’s like”pool-azo” 😛

  87. OhYes
    September 2, 2009

    No, law is not fairness. It strives to be, but can’t be.

    Let me ask you this..how is it that one can be pulled over for speeding when not everyone speeding is punished for it? If you are going 2-5 mph over the speed limit, you probably wont get pulled over, even though you are breaking the law.

    But, my cousin for example, got pulled over for going 15mph over the speed limit! How can that be! That’s not fair.

    Do you think, if he said that in traffic court, that it would save him from getting a ticket? Does that make the law against speeding any more or less of a law?

    Absolutely not.

    Going back to fairness.. most things, as they pertain to the law, can’t be given an absolute monetary value, which is what’s generally used to judge fairness. If I break your computer, the judge will say “It was worth this much, therefore OhYes must pay Ramzi so and so.” Unfortunately, the judge can’t just look in a book to see how much your computer was worth. He has to make an estimate, which although it may come close, isn’t always absolutely fair. And that’s what law is all about. Coming close to, but not being able to achieve complete fairness.

    Going back to football..what is fairness? Should UEFA now suspend everyone who has cheated through diving? What an exciting group stage that would be! With almost everyone suspended and whatnot.

    They had to start somewhere. If it had to be with Eduardo, the latest high-profile case, so be it. It may not seem fair, but life isn’t always fair, and the law is life.

    As for cheating through other means..that’s all up to UEFA to decide. If they want to persecute anyone who in any way attempts to deceive the ref, that’s their business. They may want to focus just on divers, or just on diving that dramatically changes the outcome of the game, or they may want to focus on dives that result in penalties. It’s up to them.

    Don’t want to be at the mercy of UEFA? DON’T CHEAT

  88. Soto
    September 2, 2009

    There will never be a perfect solution for this. I agree with SoccerMom that there’s a human factor that remains. Thus, like many others, I think that the extra linesman at the goal is the compromise solution that will improve things with out marring our beautiful game. And the nice thing is, the extra lineman solves other problems beyond just diving.

    I also think it’s time for players to come out against diving. I want to see some peer pressure from the elders of the soccer community. Do we have players who command sufficient respect that they can come out, publicly and without FIFA sanction, and say “Drogba, that diving has to stop. Ronaldo, I am looking at you.” Maybe we don’t have players of such stature, but if we do, such a soft approach could help alot in creating the right culture on the field.

  89. Achraf
    September 2, 2009

    Hey in soccermom’s video why is there a penalty and redcard. red card for violence but why penalty???

    Also are the subtitles actually what the refs are saying.

    Lo que el ojo no ve is what the eye doesn’t see is this a legitimate program if so where can I see more videos preferably about more recent incidents

  90. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    penalty because it’s a foul… the ball was moving

    – penalty y expulsion!!!
    – me cago en mi madre rafa, no me jodas… penalty de quien?


  91. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    achraf… “lo que el ojo no ve” is a section of a kick-ass football show called “el día después”. Best football program I have seen in my life, too bad they don’t do it now…. but I heard that they may come back!! It was on Canal+ Spain.

    lo que el ojo no ve was always good football humour, they filmed the crowd, the refs, the benches EVERYTHING. and all of their youtube videos are very good

  92. Achraf
    September 2, 2009

    plz translate poipoi i get the first part and the mi madre rafa but not the rest

  93. Achraf
    September 2, 2009

    ok seeing as I don’t understand most of it im guessing its vulgar spanish so i see why no translation is coming lol

  94. Tutomate
    September 2, 2009

    The problem that I have, well one, is that it’s subject to too much interpretatin when there is something like ” intention ” because it’s not just “diving” it’s diving with the “intetion” to deceive.

  95. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    first of all you have to know that rafa guerrero is a strar right now (the guy calling the penalty and red card, the side ref), he even went to a reality show I think, and he’s been interviewed in TV a lot of times.

    enjoy!!! 😉

    WHITE LETTERS – THE GAME BROKE / kick from couto to aguado / solana slpas couto / AND LATER

    RAFA – Penalty and red card!!
    REF- Come on, f*ck Rafa, I sh*t on my own mother… red card for who????
    RAFA- Number 6… just ask!! … come quique!! He hits his head from behind… clearly… to Couto. He clearly hits his head from behing with his hand.
    REF- What number??!!
    RAFA- Number 6…. Ask Camblor if he saw anything. I think it was number six.
    REF- Is it a red card and a penalty??!!
    RAFA- Yeah, yeah.
    ZARAGOZA PLAYER – just raise your little flag and don’t “red card” anyone!!
    REF – It’s penalty and red card!!
    REF – gGt out of here!! I don’t want nobody to come here and say anything!!! Out! Out! Out!!!
    ZARAGOZA PLAYER – It’s not a penalty!!! Penalty no!!
    ZARAGOZA PLAYER – If he calls a penalty we leave!!
    RAFA – Let’s see.. the ball was “in play” when…
    REF – Out!!!!!!!!
    RAFA – …the ball was clearly “in play”
    REF – but… let’s see. When I come to talk to you the ball was already out???
    RAFA – When you talk to me??
    REF – Of course! Where was the ball??
    RAFA – Ah! When we talked the ball was already out ok… then red card without penalty… but if the ball… was still “in play”…. Eh!! It’s a penalty!!!!
    ZARAGOZA PLAYER – It can’t be a penalty!!!
    REF – Out!!!
    REF – Let’s see…
    REF – Out!!!
    RAFA – Please!!! ( not in subtitles)
    RAFA – When the agression takes place the ball is “in play” so… the ball is “in play” and there’s an agression, therefore… Penalty and red card (penalty y expusion)
    *the ref walks to the box with six fingers up, show a red card to aguado and aguado freaks out 😛

    SOLANA TO RAFA – It was me and I didn’t hit him… he put himself in front of me… It’s always the same!!! Always the same!!!

  96. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    sorry, I alrady found the 1st mistake “solana slaps couto” not slpas

  97. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    and rafa is a star not a “strar” ….. and btw Get not gGt 🙁

  98. Achraf
    September 2, 2009

    Thx so much for that appreciate the offer poipoi

  99. Achraf
    September 2, 2009

    and this is confirmed what they were actually saying or is someone making a joke cuz if it is thats really funny if only there wasa way we could be able to understand more about what’s being said in the pitch between players referees etc. The lip readers are lucky cuz sometimes what they say seems funny but no way we can know it

  100. skyislm
    September 2, 2009

    journos – when are you going to update the schedule 🙂
    Good luck with the new site, Isiah, Kev and Hector! Have been reading and enjoying it for a while – commenting only today!

  101. September 2, 2009

    skyislm, that’s actually my plan for the next hour. interesting that you caught it just now as i was about to do it.

  102. Tutomate
    September 2, 2009

    Can you find the Madridistas?


  103. john
    September 2, 2009

    Man, what an undertaking it is to leave a simple comment in this forum! I just had to read a tome’s worth of comments and I’ll probably still write an opinion someone else has already expressed. But anyway:

    sdh pointed out one of my biggest problems: that the punishment was assessed after the fact, by video review. I don’t like this, it under mines the ref, it will most likely favor larger clubs with greater sway, it doesn’t take away the goal that was consequently scored – but if we’re going by video review, why shouldn’t it? That (video review) is a subject in itself.

    Regarding this particular case – I understand why Wenger is so pissed. Why pick Eduardo’s particular dive out of the many that happen every week? But that’s not argument enough to not give it. You gotta start somewhere, plain and simple. But where Wenger will be justified is when the next blatant dive isn’t punished – then he’ll have a case. And there’s my second opinion: if you want to crack down, you can’t just make an example of one incident, then fold your arms and say, “There. That should do it.” You card every incident for a month, and then players will start getting the message.

    But here’s a problem I’ve always had with the dive, one that this rule is attempting to address. If you dive and get away with it, you give your team a likely goal, which is huge. If you get caught, you get a yellow card. Those stakes, in my opinion, make diving worth the risk. But what if refs just gave divers a straight red. That would mean if you get away with it, you might get your team a goal. If you don’t, you’re leaving the game. And the next one. And your team has to play the remainder with a man down.

    There’s no video review in that solution, and it makes the stakes much more even. What do you guys think?

  104. September 2, 2009

    I like that I wrote that right after our resident madridist (a level-headed and always welcome chap, i might add) writes something nice and level-headed. Good on you, Isaiah, you partisan punk.

  105. john
    September 2, 2009

    Kxevin – your idea about Team fouls like in the NBA is an interesting one. It certainly would have changed the outcome of the last Brasil – Argentina Copa America final, for those who remember it.

    But I think, to an extent, ref’s already do something similar. Think Messi getting hacked by Ramos and Gago in the first clasico of last season (congrats about your tix, by the way!). The fouls were intentional, meant to break up momentum and rattle Messi. The ref let them get away with it, merely stopping play, perhaps longer than he should have. But eventually, he (the ref) showed that he’d seen enough, and the cards came out (Metz. 22′, Ramos 28′). It’s not a written rule, but I think in practice it’s followed by most refs.

    And by the way Kxevin and Isaiah (and now Hector too!) you guys are still doing a great job here. congratulation on the blog.

  106. john
    September 2, 2009

    Isaiah – I still give Raul a high rating, though! And Sporting stays up again – says the next beer.

  107. OhYes
    September 2, 2009

    “it will most likely favor larger clubs with greater sway”

    Why is Arsenal suddenly a small club with little to no sway?

    “that the punishment was assessed after the fact, by video review. I don’t like this, it under mines the ref”

    No it doesn’t. The ref couldn’t have made that call..if he could have, he would have done so. Additionally, the best a ref can do is hand out a red card, which gives a one game suspension.

    Nobody complained about Pepe’s suspension when the Spanish association handed him a punishment. Why wasn’t the ref undermined there?

  108. eklavya
    September 2, 2009

    Is there any other interesting match on Saturday apart from Messi vs Brazil…?

  109. john
    September 2, 2009

    OhYes – Sorry for not expounding on my ideas.

    “it will most likely favor larger clubs with greater sway” – Big clubs have more sway, it’s an unfortunate truth. And I can foresee bigger clubs being honored reviews more often than smaller clubs. That’s an opinion, feel free to disagree. And I’m not just referring to this particular ruling (Arsenal’s a big club, yes. Is Celtic not?) but worrying about future implementation.

    “that the punishment was assessed after the fact, by video review. I don’t like this, it under mines the ref” Again, you and I disagree. I think that by allowing video review the ref’s decision is no longer final. It puts official question as to the validity of his decision of the moment, and for the rest of the game the players have that to lord over him: “You may or may not have been right. We’ll see.”

    And regarding Pepe’s suspension: are you serious? You really can’t see the difference between trying to cheat and assaulting a player on the field, after play has stopped? The Spanish Association reviewed what the refs had already declared, they were just deciding how severe the punishment would be.

  110. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    pepe shouldn’t have ever played football again

  111. poipoi
    September 2, 2009

    not even shoot some shots with his kids in the lawn. they should put a UEFA gorilla on top of him and if he EVER touches a round ball again, fine him 10.000 euros or something

  112. ElShowDeJason
    September 2, 2009

    @ekalvya. Comming in a close second to Messi v Brazil is Mexico v. Costa Rica.

  113. OhYes
    September 2, 2009

    “And I can foresee bigger clubs being honored reviews more often than smaller clubs”

    Actually, I can see the opposite. i.e. Chelsea or ManU getting in trouble more often than smaller clubs simply because they are in the limelight more often. As for Celtic being a small club…yes, you are right they are a large club relative to everyone else. But Arsenal is a massive club, and they are the ones that got screwed over here. Celtic was out of the CL one way or another.

    “I think that by allowing video review the ref’s decision is no longer final.”

    The ref’s job is to officiate the game as best as he can. They have limits like we all do. They are not all-seeing. So there can be instances were a player is hit illegally (with an elbow, let’s say), the ref doesn’t see it, and therefore does not hand out any kind of punishment. The ref decreed that NOTHING happened when he decided not to apply any kind of punishment. But any association trying to protect its players and the integrity of the game would hand out a punishment to the offending player. It’s not an undermining as much as it is having more power than the ref.

    “You really can’t see the difference between trying to cheat and assaulting a player on the field, after play has stopped?”

    Please explain to me where I said that there is no difference between cheating and viciously assaulting a player.

    My argument is with an association extending punishment beyond the ref’s ability.. 😐

    The Spanish association did that. They said a one-game ban was not enough, and thus extended it. That’s them having more power than the referee.

    Here’s another scenario: Remember when Henry caused that penalty against Atleti? The ref initially didn’t think anything of it and allowed the play to continue..but the linesman said otherwise and the referee eventually recanted his original decision and gave a penalty in favor of atletico… now why was the ref not undermined here? In the same sense, his original decision was questioned, just like the UEFA questioned the call on Eduardo.. and by stopping play himself, the linesman practically overruled it.

    In this case, the ref changed his mind because someone else with a better view of the play told him what happened so why is the UEFA ruling any different? They got a better view of the play, and they are correcting the official..just like the linesman corrected the ref.

  114. khairallah
    September 2, 2009

    If UEFA is gonna allow punishing a player for diving because he deceived a player, and thus correcting a misjudge by the referee for not booking the dude, they should correspondingly allow themselves to correct other misjudgments from the referees that actually assume a player dived when he did not..
    Otherwise its just a big load of hypocrisy.

  115. September 2, 2009

    If the law was applied as it was set (speeding over limit = punishment) no matter what, there will be no case for your cousin at all. The thing now is how far you can break the law? 2 extra mph? why not 3pmh?because those who break it 3 will feel its unfair to punish them for just 1 extra mph than the rest. 4?same thing up to 15 mph and still your cousin find are argument that others are breaking the law and still unpunished, which for him sound unfair. If the law was applied as it is, there will be no case.

    So, your cousin case (as Eduardo’s) is not that he was punished wrongly, but there was no equity. If someone steal 3000 $ he has to be punished, he can’t claim its just 3000, not a million. So regarding speeding, if the ones who speed for 1 inche-p-m do not get a punishment, that’s wrong. Cops applying the law wrongly is not an argument to give an excuse for others to apply the law wrongly. It’s still wrong.

    Regarding my computer that you break (don’t dare as it is attached to my soul), the judge cant make blind estimations, there are still references like the market price of the pc for example. It’s not a subjective opinion for the judge, there is a criterion. And that’s what the lawyer ask for: what was the criteria? If he is not convinced, he can demand extending the case in a higher court. The criteria is something to set before raising a case. When you judge something, you do so based on an existing criterion, not based on something u create in the heat of the moment.

    “Going back to football.. what is fairness? Should UEFA now suspend everyone who has cheated through diving? What an exciting group stage that would be! With almost everyone suspended and whatnot”

    Of course they MUST suspend anyone who dives! Should they suspend every player who punches the ref? What if so many players punched the ref? See? You can’t create a different argument for different cases. There has to be a principle and a unique scale you apply everywhere.

    “As for cheating through other means..that’s all up to UEFA to decide.”

    Not true, UEFA apply the law, they are not the law. People usually mix between power and the power administration. Don’t want to be at the mercy of UEFA, make sure they stick to the guidelines, or else they will do what suits their own interest. They are not angels.

  116. HeSaidSheSaid
    September 2, 2009

    In the Mexican league (no strangers to diving) the federation, starting this year, have implemented the post game panel for review for a questionable call.

    The thing is, action must be taken (a complaint must officially be made) by the “victimized” team after the game. which then goes to panel and is judged and a corresponding ban/fine is placed if the complaint was found to have merit.

    I think time will tell if this really creates incentives not to dive (in the mexican league), and there have been at least two instances of complaints being made and a proper punishment being awarded; with the 2nd ban being received with more acceptance than the 1st (the player admitted his fault, and his fault was acknowledged and supported by club executives). Hence in the short run it seems to be working.

    I think if they implement a similar system in any other league or in europe, one where club executives must publicly reach out or commit to a stance (i.e we were cheated)
    then there will be more pressure to avoid these kind of incidents in the future. (as the diver’s club would have to come up with a defined or official stance on the defendant /instigator)

    For this system to be successful in europe, UEFA would need to be consistent (obviously) and have some other incentive for (losing) teams not cry about every foul (maybe make the plaintiff pay legal damages if they were to lose the official complaint or have a set number of them per tournament)

    I think that the consolidated stance a team must have with publicly issuing a complaint may, as time goes on, reduce pressure for public inconsistency.
    In other words If Arsene “blindly” defends a diver one week then calls for the club to issue a complaint for a similar opposing dive the next, I think he may eventually receive more criticism from the press, from the fans and probably most notably from the club itself.

    Then again this may turn into a weekly thing and that would be really annoying (a he said she said kind of thing). But removing the ‘authority’ from Uefa from selecting players would keep things somewhat more objective and there would be less need tor witch hunts and accusations of favoritism.

    Then again I am not sure UEFA has the (independent) staff on hand to objectivity trial the number of cases that they would be presented.Which hopefully would be few, as few club executives would like to be seen as cry babies. Then again, club executives aren’t always the embodiment of enlightenment or professionalism we would expect. (one club president in spain even part of a drive by shooting last year)

    But I think its time to have stronger incentives not to dive, and try to separate it from the depths of futbol’s assumed subconscious..

  117. OhYes
    September 2, 2009

    “Cops applying the law wrongly is not an argument to give an excuse for others to apply the law wrongly. It’s still wrong.”

    But it happens. And since you agreed that my cousin has no case, then we are basically done here since that’s what I am arguing. That no one else is getting punished is not fair, I agree, but that doesn’t mean his punishment is wrong, as others have implied and said. He’s being punished exactly for what he did. The lack of punishment for others has no bearing on the law or Eduardo’s punishment.

    “It’s not a subjective opinion for the judge, there is a criterion.”

    Yes there is a criteria for making the judgment, meaning it is not done blindly, but it is subjective, meaning that on a different day, with a different judge, you may get more or less money. That’s because it is impossible to pin down the actual monetary value of a used computer, with parts all in different conditions, and with different undocumented malfunctions as a result of the fact that it is used.

    It is the same for a car. Once you drive it out of a dealership, it loses its value. How much exactly? It is not known. There are values, but they are not absolute they are subjective. The big difference between a car and a computer is that everyone has agreed on the value of a car once it has been driven out of a dealership. Kelly blue book value. That makes it easier, but it’s a democratic and still not exact process. I am using the computer example because there is no KBB, therefore, it is even more subjective.

    Having said that, you can see how it is impossible for law to be completely fair You may have gotten more money than your computer was actually worth, or less. Who knows.

    “You can’t create a different argument for different cases. There has to be a principle and a unique scale you apply everywhere.”

    That’s not economical. It’s easy to believe in that in theory (perfect world, utopia, etc.) but it’s not possible in the real world. You can see how uneconomical this is in these circumstances:

    1. My speeding example. If the police enforced the speeding limit like robots, pulling over and handing out a ticket to every single person who so much as went even .5mph over the limit, your tax money is going to go into persecuting millions of people.
    2. The war on drugs. There are govs that decriminalize the possession of certain drugs up to a certain amount because punishing everyone every time they had any amount of the illegal drug is a waste of money. America still hasn’t learned, thus the overpopulation of the prison system and a massive waste on resources.
    3. Any time you are dealing with a crime, you have to take into account how severe it is before you decide to punish the offender. .5mph over the speed limit is against the law, but is that really severe enough to warrant a ticket?

    #3 would take care of your punching the ref argument. That’s pretty severe, and therefore warrants punishment. It’s not as if your argument is completely theoretical, anyway. There have been times when a ref was assaulted by a large group of people. Did those people get punished for it? It bet you that those in power tried their hardest to punish the criminals.

    Some ass diving at the 90th minute in a 4-0 game..whatever. UEFA might not want to waste its time going after that guy. That is, unless it’s going to get attention, in the case of Eduardo. And making an example out of someone is not new. Lawyers have tried to argue that it isn’t fair, but it inevitably fails. (cough tobacco anyone? cough)

    “Don’t want to be at the mercy of UEFA, make sure they stick to the guidelines, or else they will do what suits their own interest. They are not angels.”

    I’d like to know of an administration with power that never ventures out of their guidelines.

    Why do you think every company is PC now? They’re deadly afraid of any damn little infraction on the rules because if they don’t take care of it, they’re gonna get sued for millions. That doesn’t create a utopia, that creates an overly oppressive environment, contrary to what you are probably trying to achieve here. Pick your battles, is the saying.

    A severe infraction..sure, go after UEFA. But this isn’t one. At least not yet.

  118. jordi
    September 2, 2009

    I think the rule was there always, and other players could have been punished for it, but in those cases, the club who the offence was made against, did not appeal to uefa, however in this case, celtic appealed so uefa had to act.

  119. john
    September 2, 2009

    OhYes –

    – You’ve got a point about the ‘bigger clubs’ being more in the limelight, and perhaps they’d be subject to review more often.

    – Pepe was shown 3 red cards before the game was over, and the Spanish association increasing the severity of a punishment already called for by the referee is not in any way contradicting the referee’s decision, it is in agreement of it. It’s the idea of video reviews being used to contradict the ref’s decision that I have a problem with. (And just to clarify – I think it’s a slightly different situation when someone intentionally breaks the law – not of football, but the LAW – and assaults a player, than when a player simulates a dive. That’s why, if not for the reasons above, that I feel completely different about video review in the circumstance you presented.)

    When a linesman calls a foul (as in the Henry incident) that the referee doesn’t see, they confer and come to an agreement about what should be done. Moreover, the decision is made that instant, not hours or days after the match has ended. Again, saying that tomorrow the referee’s judgments will come under official scrutiny by an separate set of eyes means the players have that much less respect for what the ref rules on the pitch. “I don’t have to worry about your calls, they ultimate judgment will be decided by someone else.”

    What this really boils down to is that I’d rather not see football become a sport subject to video replays and lengthy procedures that re-write the outcome of what is decided on the field. That’s just an opinion, but I’ll stick by it.

    Hope you don’t take any offense to all this, I mean it in the spirit of debate!

  120. OhYes
    September 2, 2009

    No offense taken at all, john. We are all entitled to our opinions.

    “is not in any way contradicting the referee’s decision”

    I know this. But their ability to extend the punishment as long as they see fit is in line with my opinion: That they aren’t taking away or undermining the ref’s power. They simply have more power. In this case, it is the power to say “The ref got the decision wrong, and in an attempt to try to make this game a wee bit more fair, we are suspending the player.”

    “they confer and come to an agreement about what should be done. ”

    What if the referee, upon seeing the replay of Eduardo’s dive, agrees that he should be punished? If the ref in that game comes with an agreement with UEFA as to what the punishment should be, would that make it better in your view?

    “I’d rather not see football become a sport subject to video replays and lengthy procedures that re-write the outcome of what is decided on the field.”

    Trust me. Neither would I. I have been of the opinion that crappy calls are part of the game, and they even out over time.

    What I have a problem with is diving of the Eduardo kind. When I see that on TV, I am offended. Seriously! So I see this as a fair way to punish the divers because:

    1. If applied on at least a fairly consistent basis, it should deter divers. If Aguero dives yet again, and is suspended by UEFA, that’s bad for him and his team. The club could even fine him if they wanted to like they can do if a payer gets excessive reds.

    2. It keeps video replays out of the field. If the problem is solved in a UEFA boardroom, great. Doesn’t matter if they solve it in the bathroom..whatever. So long as it’s off the field!

  121. john
    September 2, 2009

    I also hate (HATE) seeing players dive – and I’ll go so far as to say I almost hate it MORE when a player for the team I support does it. I even got into a quarrel with a fellow Madrid fan this past weekend over Raul’s actions in the box, which resulted in a penalty. He could have avoided the keeper’s hands had he pursued the ball, but instead he (seemingly intentionally) ran into him. I didn’t like it one bit.

    So what about my other suggestion of the ref handing out straight reds for the offense, when he sees it?

  122. Alexinho
    September 2, 2009

    “Classic Brazilian ‘I’m dead! I’m dead!’ school of method acting” HA!

    As an Arsenal fan I’m a bit “why me” about the whole breakthrough, but in a way it’s a good rule to enforce. I agree that it won’t end the practice of diving, but it will limit it and make players think twice about it.

    On the other hand. Of course, it’s not the first time UEFA/FIFA/whatever has taken up a case of behavior after the fact and taken action with bans, but if the process of reviewing a possible dive becomes far too complicated, and the ruling body gets fifty or so cases a week (as Wenger predicted), it’ll give that much greater momentum to video replays, which I’m not a fan of.

  123. Alexinho
    September 2, 2009

    My only complaint about the new blog is that it doesn’t limit the page to the 25 most recent comments. I have to hold the scroll down for a good fifteen seconds now. Some debate though.

  124. OhYes
    September 2, 2009

    john: Well, it’s on par with the yellow for a dive, and it’s far too extreme for something that happens in the flash of a second.

    But, if it goes yellow or red, depending on how clear the dive is and where the player is diving, that’s fine I suppose.

    This is more of a sure thing.

  125. OhYes
    September 2, 2009

    By the way: It breaks my heart to see Aguero dive so often. 🙁 Please Messi don’t betray me!

  126. inNYC
    September 2, 2009


    Slate’s Austin something-or-other had some things to say about diving during the last Euro. I’m basically agreeing with SoccerMom here. This guy got a few things wrong (such as saying that the biggest divers are ALWAYS smaller and faster players who don’t have any choice but to sell a foul because they are constantly getting hacked). But I like a few of the points he added so I’ll just post them. I know this topic has already been Hectored but it’s an important one, so I’m still doing it.

    “The scorn heaped on divers usually doesn’t have to do with the logistics of refereeing, though. In reality, it’s distaste for the spectacle. American sports are loaded with comic set pieces—a hockey player tossing his gloves for a ceremonial tussle or a baseball manager kicking dirt at the umpire. Like tumbling soccer players, these performers act to provoke sympathy or indignation. The difference is in the style of emotional drama.

    In most American sports, the theatrics are aggressive. They are not operatic displays of vulnerability. To appreciate diving, we must sympathize or scorn the injured player—we must get into the melodrama. Some fans are afraid to take the plunge, preferring to argue that diving makes soccer players seem like babies or, worse still, women. (Former England striker Gary Lineker has called for a special “pink card” to be shown to divers.) Their distaste for the dive is rooted in an idea of masculinity, not in an analysis of the game itself. That idea of masculinity is preventing them from enjoying a pretty good show.

    The other most pervasive critique of diving is a nationalist one. Depending on who you talk to, Sunday’s flop-heavy, four-red-card debacle between the Netherlands and Portugal was the fault of either Iberian gamesmanship or Dutch fakery. For Anglo-American commentators, crusades against floppers are often laced with a distrust of wily, olive-skinned outsiders. In March, the London Times initiated a campaign to “kick out the cheats.” Playacting was said to have infiltrated English soccer from outside. “It’s crept into our game lately, but it is a foreign thing,” Alan Stubbs, an Everton defender, recently remarked. “They speak good English, it’s not as if they don’t understand what they’re doing.”

    Whether or not you must know English to understand what you’re doing, diving is hardly a recent conspiracy cooked up in southern climes. Reports of flopping go back to the early days of the sport, and—surprise!—Brits have been influential in its development. Manchester City striker Francis Lee, for example, was one of the first great divers of the television era. He won theatrical penalties in the 1960s and 1970s, long before the famed Argentine flopper Diego Simeone took his first fall. Fans who champion the “fair play” and the “work ethic” of traditional English soccer tend to overlook the dives of skilled English players like Michael Owen.”

  127. llobster
    September 3, 2009

    I remember my own playing times when I once made a complete meal of a slight nudge. i promptly got a yellow, and i didn’t dispute it. but it was a last ditch effort. sometimes when you’re left hung out to dry by your teammates, or if you are totally exhausted from a run up that you know you can’t do any damage to the keeper, you try to make something of it and take a dive. not that i’m justifying it, but i’ve been there (albeit i’m no professional). eduardo may not have known he was going to cause such a fuss, but in the end i support rules against diving. however i don’t think they’ll ever be effective enough.

  128. llobster
    September 3, 2009

    to clarify, i guess what i was saying was i don’t agree with a 2 match ban for every simulation call. diving is, believe it or not, part of the game. it’s like taking a few extra steps in the nba. you shouldn’t, but you will probably get away with it.

    but a dive in eduardo’s case, where it may have affected the outcome of the game, that may deserve a harsher penalty.

    as an aside though, alves gets on my nerves a bit for not really diving, but making such a display when he’s down or battled a bit. busquets is worse, but he doesn’t play enough to make it terrible for me yet.

    one last aside, i was at the camp nou in ’06 when Drogba (i think) layed down for a call, which Iniesta, to the chagrin of the crowd, knocked it out of bounds near stoppage time. Chelsea promptly marched down and tied the game in extra time (Drogba) almost certainly because of that friendly giveaway

  129. SoccerMom
    September 3, 2009

    Still a lively debate!
    Just a quick follow up on the Rafa video …
    Poipoi’s translation is accurate, and yes, that’s really what everyone was really saying! I always get a kick out of it.
    You can still walk down a Spanish street and mutter ‘Me cago en mi madre’ (which is a fairly strong but pretty common swear) and somebody will mutter back, ‘Rafa no me jodas’.
    For a while every time Rafa showed up as a linesman in a Liga match 1/2 the stadium would chant ‘Me cago en mi madre’ and the other 1/2 would answer ‘Rafa no me jodas’.
    Everyone is still out there, just a little greyer.
    I like the extra linesman idea.
    I don’t like superstars who dive. If you’re a superstar making a gazillion Euros, keep your head up and your feet on the ground.

  130. El Tel
    September 3, 2009

    A quick thought on UEFA and sanctions on diving. They may be sending a message for the rest of the season, so now would not be such an arbitrary time for a suspension. It sets a tone.

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