It’s important that appropriate action is taken now in regard to the diving problem in the Premier League before it becomes accepted as a part of the game.
Santi Cazorla’s embarrassing simulation in yesterday’s game against West Brom fuelled a debate which has existed for too long and is exhausted to the point where it’s in danger of emerging as tolerable.
The Spaniard’s dive was shameful and desperate; whoever suggested otherwise – such as he was getting out the way of a potential injury – is an utter moron. It’s understandable that there’s a lot riding on these games; pressure, money, competitiveness – but it is flat out cheating and simply put: West Brom was robbed out of a massive point.
Cazorla’s defence was that “he lost his balance” – has this man completely lost the plot? Defending an act of cheating shows a considerable lack of dignity to himself and an absence of respect to the opposition. Even more, it’s shows an atrocious lack of responsibility. His status as an Arsenal football player places him in a position as a role model. He defending cheating teaches other people to do the same. The cowardly defence is even more of an embarrassment than the dive itself and it is moments like these which ignite the assumptions of footballers being stupid.
Wenger also raised an interesting point in his comments after the game: “When he [a player] is touched, he goes down, the referee can give or not give the penalty.” With that, he is suggesting that players, if touched, are morally obligated to go down and claim a foul. Is this what our game has come to? It seems football is becoming more and more of a non-contact sport, and more damning, one which advocates play-acting to con the referee.
Something needs to change. Often games can, through injustice, be decided by a poor refereeing decision or through the omission of sufficient technology. Mistakes can be accepted and measures be brought in to help the referee. But if football is reduced to a level where a players immoral behaviour could lead to victory and go unpunished, then there is a serious possibility of the game being brought to universal disrepute.