Photo by Fauzan Saari on Unsplash

Fixing Football

One of the running jokes when it comes to football (or what some people call soccer), is how football players fall so easily once they feel even a finger touch them on the elbow. They fall, they roll around on the pitch, they clutch their face or their leg, they scream, they cry. And then 60 seconds later the game resumes and it's like nothing happened.

They're known as dives.

In my view, other than the top-level corruption of FIFA itself, how common diving is by players is one of the most embarrassing things about that sport. It's so common, that I wonder if pretending you're injured is way more common than actually being injured.

Watching World Cup football this week, I was struck about how often this happens. Sure, occasionally there are the incidents where there was absolutely no contact yet the player falls like he was shot by a sniper. Those become blooper reel stuff.

But what about those ones where someone has only been touched lightly? I saw an incident yesterday where one player touched the other on the back in a friendly gesture, and that player fell down to the ground clutching his face.

That's basically cheating.

That's trying to trick the referee into giving you a free kick or impose a penalty on the other team. It's cheating.

It should not be part of the game of football. It should not be treated the same as a hand ball or an offside touch. 

Instead of relying on the game referees to catch it, FIFA should have games watched after the fact, and penalties assessed for excessive play acting. When someone is barely touched, rolls around for two minutes like they broke a leg, and then gets up and resumes play as if nothing happens, they should be fined. Massive fines. $100,000 fine for disrespecting the game of football. For disrespecting the fans. 

Stop trying to cheat. Something needs to be done about those who decide to fall instead of chase after the ball to try and draw a penalty. That's not football.

And while we're there, players should stop trying to get the referees to call offsides, hand balls and which side deserves the throw in. Baseball forbids players from arguing balls and strikes with the umpire. But in football, it becomes a big debate between sides over who touched the ball last once it goes out. Enough with players trying to influence the refs.


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