Liverpool’s Luis Suárez did dive but has been unfairly singled out
The Liverpool striker did go down theatrically against Stoke, but he is not alone and has been unfairly singled out this weekend
It is a rare occasion when Luis Suárez grabs a positive headline and his acrobatics on Sunday continued his form.
The controversial Uruguayan once again was found collapsing to the floor in embarrassing fashion against Stoke, trying to win a lacklustre Liverpool a much-needed penalty.
Firstly, it should have been severely punished. The incessant diving in modern football after minimal or even no contact is embarrassing and looks pathetic when compared to true contact sports such as rugby union.
However, Suárez is not alone and has been unfairly singled out this weekend, especially after Robert Huth blatantly stamped on him and went unpunished – and Gareth Bale was guilty of diving on a couple of occasions on Sunday.
There have been calls for retrospective match bans for players who dive. In theory the idea is perfect and would eradicate the serious divers almost immediately if they start missing crucial games for their club or start losing their place.
The problem being that players and clubs would almost definitely start appealing these bans. Can you be sure of the intent of the player from every ‘dive’?
That’s only a minor issue as a system in place, which is consistent and would have to be retrospective, could do wonders for the Premier League.
Another smart idea floated around for a while has been a panel on a Monday going through the controversial incidents of the weekend, much like a Formula 1 race day panel.
It should clearly have people who are or have been involved in the game at the highest level. Essentially, people who know what these decisions and actions mean for clubs. Perhaps ex-referees, ex-players and maybe youth team players to educate them.
Then we can have immediate punishments and results rather than debates that rumble on.
Yes, this could undermine the power of the referee, but if he genuinely misses something, we should be embracing the vast array of cameras used to film games to stamp out these ongoing, tedious issues.
As soon as players such as Suárez and Bale are banned for diving, then they’ll certainly start thinking twice before leaping to the floor in a manipulative manner.
It would be fantastic if our game were to set a precedent to the rest of Europe and the world on diving.
Diving is certainly more evident on the continent in La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1, for example.
One only had to watch the El Clásico, a sensational match showcasing some of the game’s finest talent but still had the usual play acting and tumbles after minimal contact.
The magic of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo ensured the game was a feast for fans around the globe. It was encapsulating and nothing will diminish that.
So currently diving isn’t managing to ruin monumental clashes such as El Clásico but if these actions continue to go on unpunished then the lunacy will continue with the more extreme cases becoming more regular.
The reality is, the FA need to dive into this head first, punish and punish hard to make sure the beautiful game doesn’t become a deceitful art of tricking the referee.