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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Diving in the penalty area

September 23rd, 2009
12:33 PM ET

Thousands of football fans in Africa will get a rare close-up view of the World Cup Trophy, as it's flown to Cairo today for the first stop on a tour of the African continent ahead of the World Cup in South Africa in nine months' time.

Made of solid 18-carat gold, the trophy is 36cm tall and weighs 6 kilograms, and has spent most of its life in South America and Europe, with Brazil and Italy the most prolific winners. (Watch Ben Wedeman's report on Connect The World tonight.)

Do you think the football authorities are doing enough to stamp out diving in the penalty area?

The last two world cups and dozens of top-level games round the world this season have been marred by the modern practice of diving in the penalty area. The organising body FIFA announced before the last world cup that it wanted referees to come down hard on "simulation" – its word for diving.

As it turned out, a record number of red and yellow cards were awarded for foul play generally in Germany in 2006, with several made for alleged dives. But it doesn't seem to have halted the practice. As the next world cup looms, will it again be marred by "simulation?"

Tonight Connect the World will follow the World Cup trophy on the first leg of its journey to South Africa, and examine the diving controversy. Tell us you thoughts on how the tournament is shaping up, and whether enough is being done to tackle the scourge of cheating in the penalty area.

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soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Jeff

    I would be in favor of each team having 1 Televised review objection option per half. If the the objection is upheld the team keeps its option. If call upheld the team loses its option.

    I realize this is in oppostion to the desired objective of soccer that the game keeps moving with no or little interruption, however it was never intended that "dives" be a part of soccer either.

    September 23, 2009 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  2. baba robert

    It's agonizing to watch and see that precious souls are being misguided and raced toward condemnation in eternal misery known as hell.

    However, before i give up on their souls, I have a challenge for Dawkins and his co. Atheists. Pls take up the challenge and answer the world. Why couldn't you guys tell us how to produce blood cells, the unit of life, from this your atheist basic law of physics?. Why are people dying all over the world and you can't bring them back, even one by this your atheist believe that there is no supreme controller of the universe and author of life?. Why do you(atheist) cry from the pangs of death on several hospital beds across the globe, if you were just but products of evelution?

    Rihards Dawkins and all his atheist colleagues are still within the canopy of his grace. It's not too late, it's just the same prodigal nature of man. God still have room to contain them under his abundant mercy arm if only they can wake up and take a u-turn from the express way to damnation and eternal misery.

    God! have mercy on your children!!! you said you will have mercy on whom you will.

    September 23, 2009 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  3. Ion

    Bring in camera repetitions, with the 4th referee only interfering if he spots something unusual, like a dive in the penalty area or a hand. It is ridiculous football still tries to believe that the human eye is perfect. Some people say it's tradition, tradition; but these days, Ken-do matches use high-speed cameras to work out witch fighter hit first. And this is coming from a centuries old art from one of the greatest fussy societies about "polluting" their way of life. A change has to be made.

    September 23, 2009 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  4. denstine

    diving is something that FIFA did not have an answer to will never have.players like RONALDO,DROGBA.etc will alwaysDIVE.

    September 23, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  5. Paul

    The solution is simple. Always review on tape to determine if it was a dive or justly deserved penalty kick. Take advantage of modern technology. Its used in American football and hockey all the time to clear things up.

    September 23, 2009 at 1:55 pm | Reply
  6. Paddy Lawrence

    This is an easy one....!

    All they should do is suggest that from an agreed date, post match video evidence will be used to retrospectively punish any player found guilty of cheating. Then ban the player for a long period – say 8 weeks – and have their salary paid to a charity for the duration of the ban. (Top European players earn about $300,000 per week so that would be $2.4 million). Watch the players learn VERY quickly that when they cheat they lose in every way AND receive the anger of the fans for the lengthy ban. Childrens charities would be a good place for the 'Donations'....!

    Basically, we just need to make it so that any player caught blatently cheating is seen by friends, family and fans alike as a cheat – and a stupid one at that. Take the hard-line and you just watch the incidents of cheating plummet.

    End of problem.

    September 23, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Reply
  7. Steve

    FIFA should enter the 21st century. The referee is already in communication with his linesmen. It woiudl nto be too hard to have an off-the-field official looking at the replays. It woudl not slow down the game at all. From the monent a ref blows his whistle to the time a free-kick (or penalty) is taken, a minute or two can easily pass. In that time, the 4th official can call it in. The ref would hear one word on his earpiece: "DIVE". If so, the kick woudl go the other way, along with a yellow card for diving. If the ref hears nothign then play continues as normal. Of course, the call must come BEFORE the ref blows his whistle to give the go-ahead for the kick.

    September 23, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  8. hugh

    Frankly, this practice demerits an otherwise amazing sport full of athleticism and passion. The theatrics and drama often displayed on the football field give the impression that players are panty-waisted sissies better suited for playing with doll houses rather than professional athletes.

    It is disgraceful.

    September 23, 2009 at 2:08 pm | Reply

    I think the best way to reduce this practice is using the tecnology like is used in others sports.

    September 23, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  10. Pat Sakkage

    They should just use cameras to determine if a foul really is one or not like they do in American football. Then they'd finally stop diving.

    September 23, 2009 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  11. Chike Mgborogwu

    Simulation will take a longwhile before it can stop. If you had played football you, should know that most of the "cheating" were not premeditated, they come by impulse. It will be had to change the psyche of players no matter how hard you go on cheaters.

    September 23, 2009 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  12. Eder Semedo

    Unfortunately they have decided to add 2 more referees – on a trial basis – in Europa League, and that's simply insane. Instead of 4 guys not seeing a penalty or a dive, you'll have 6, great!

    All association football fans around the world should get united and force FIFA to change things. After all, the fans are the reason why football is the most popular sport on Earth. Our Global Sport should not be destroyed by unethical players and faked results. Those old men from International Board deserve retirement by force.

    September 23, 2009 at 2:33 pm | Reply
  13. Dieter

    Have an official off field, able to instantly review any questionable dive.If it is determined that said player took a dive, card him and continue play. Make it quick . We don't want football to become an endless showing of a play ad nauseum, and risk looking like helmeted football.

    Hey Baba Robert, this is about football you wanker. Take your kooky rantings elsewhere. Bloody nutjob!

    September 23, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  14. Adolfo

    FIFA should change some rules in footbal, for example the use of more technologies to show the phantom goals, more severe in all the injuries, in that way the football could be a clean sport, more visual, fast and beautiful as ever has.

    September 23, 2009 at 2:50 pm | Reply
  15. Pat Ricci

    Those who try to find a high-tech "solution" for this "problem", do not understand football. Football is not about perfection. Football is about fair play within human boundaries. Futball is about pure and simple human emotions, and it is human to "dive", to "simulate" and to try to do whatever you can to win the game (not that such actions are right, btw).
    In the other hand, it is human to fail noticing such actions with the naked eye. Yes Ken-do matches might already have high-speed cameras to monitor them. The question is, when was the last time that a Ken-do match had millions of fans watching it on TV. Or when was the last time that existed an american football world cup (enjoyed and watched by the whole planet)... or a hockey one for that matter.
    Football is the most popular sport on Earth not because it's perfect. It is the King because it stirs human emotions such as passion, hate, love, anger, happiness and most of all, controversy... and all such emotions can happen within only 90 minutes. And are controversies which keep people talking about football (eg. "the hand of God").

    For my tech fans over there, who do not understand the escence of Football, the moment we make sure by any means that every single action is played "by the book", is the moment we might as well begin digging the grave for this sport as its focus would be more technical than to put the ball on the net.

    September 23, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  16. nick c

    Who cares??????? It's baseball playoff time and the new NFL season has begun. The NHL will begin in week.

    September 23, 2009 at 3:04 pm | Reply
  17. eli

    Frase coined in the late 60's: What is white and lies on a green field? A player of xxxx soccer club (who played in white outfits at the time) It was a common practice back then to fake injuries, so what else is new???

    September 23, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Reply
  18. nigel

    Cameras inside goal posts are essential and football needs to adopt the same approach as rugby for crucial decisions such as questionable goals and penalties by going to a 4th official for video replay. It will potentially result in more stoppages but at least it will stop poor excuses for bad gameplay afterwards and finally stop the likes of Ronaldo hurling himself in the air when he is skimmed by a defender.

    September 23, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  19. blue

    Add a BLUE CARD to the RED and YELLOW.
    When a player dives in the penalty area, they get a BLUE CARD, and the player has to leave the field for 10 minutes.

    September 23, 2009 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  20. Carlos Murillo

    I think that faking injuries is one of the lowliest tricks that players do. Not only does it stops the flow of the game, but it also assumes we, the watchers, are stupid.

    If the referee stops the action, the player is certain to roll around in the grass and moan, and yet, when the ref let the action continue, the "injured" player invariably gets up and continues playing. From my standpoint, two-thirds of all injuries (if not more) are faked, so the referees should be stricter about allowing the Oscar-worthy performances of some of these players to go on.

    September 23, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  21. Johnny

    How do you stop any law breaking? You punish the law breakers.

    September 23, 2009 at 5:01 pm | Reply
  22. David M

    I thought after so many comments someone was going to say it first, but here is my theory. FIFA doesn't want to include technology and reviews because it will reduce its ability to rig the games. FIFA has commercial/personal interests that are not always in line with some of the smaller clubs/countries and they have used the "human error" excuse to justify suspiciuos results.

    September 23, 2009 at 5:02 pm | Reply
  23. Paul, Switzerland

    Along with additional referees and video review possibilities at game time, reviews should be performed after matches. This has recently been applied and it's a good step.

    Any offenders who have affected the outcome of a game by cheating should be banned. In major international tournaments, the offending team should be heavily penalized monetarily and put on probation. A team on probation is subject to being exluded from the current and/or some number of future tournaments.

    September 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  24. john murphy

    It would seem logical to follow the rules of other sports to use film of actions to identify cheats. Not only would they be punished, they would not repeat their acts.

    September 23, 2009 at 5:35 pm | Reply
  25. anna

    There is only one word that will solve this problem and that is Technology. Football is probably the biggest sport on earth which is played in oldfashion way. Most of the professional sport have the use of technology so why not football. They should not only have cameras for diving, but also for hard / rough play.

    September 23, 2009 at 5:49 pm | Reply
  26. Are Obudu

    Its the dives that make football so dramatic and the best actors get awarded penalties. If we introduce technology into the sport, it will become as boring as every other sport. Players like Drogba and C ronaldo will never be forgotten because they are drame kings!!!

    September 23, 2009 at 5:59 pm | Reply
  27. Monte Marchant

    I lost interest in football (soccer) years ago. Why? As stated above, the obvious dives are an appalling determint to the sport and to someone who calls themself a professional. Secondly, the
    switch from fan support to soccer hooliganism. At least, hooliganism is being addressed, not perfectly, but recognized as a black mark against the sport. Hopefully the atheletes who give feel acting is a part of the sport will move on to other occupations.

    September 23, 2009 at 6:19 pm | Reply
  28. Consulfabius

    I think the "schwalbe" isn't the biggest problem in soccer matches. What about the many goals or at least goal opportunities disallowed after erroneous offside calls by the linesmen?

    September 23, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Reply
  29. James Smith

    As usual, some religious reich nut has to use a totally unrelated topic to try to spread their brainwashing of their sick and twisted beliefs.

    How about they just go away and stop trying to force their demented ideas on everyone else?

    September 23, 2009 at 6:48 pm | Reply
  30. sasales

    I think there are 2 things that should be done.
    1. Officials should review any suspicious diving after the game and punish the trickster with a 3 game ban.
    2. Apply pressure to all sports apparel sponsors (Nike, Adidas, Puma, Diadora etc.) to extinguish any contract with a player caught cheating (diving). Hitting them in the pocket, should certainly make players think twice.

    September 23, 2009 at 6:56 pm | Reply
  31. Robert

    This requires a penalty that will curb this behaviour.

    First use cameras to justify if the foul is genuine. If not, the offending player's team should be subject to a penalty shot!

    September 23, 2009 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  32. Doug

    I agree with paddy lawrence. Review it after the game (so it doesn't slow down the game) and then make the penalty so great that the players won't dream of diving. I agree that an 8 week suspension of pay (and a month of no play) would end the practice quickly. The flaw in this system would be in finals where the desire to win the final might be high enough to outweigh the punishment. Perhaps in finals, all penalty decisions should be reviewed.

    September 23, 2009 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  33. Robert

    Soccer should come into the 21 st century and have a limited number of challenges per team. How many times have we seen the ball cross the line and then the goal not allowed because the referee or linesman was out of position. The same for diving. The same goes for offside calls that are wrong.

    Top level soccer is big money and there is no excuse to lose a game because of a bad or missed call.

    September 23, 2009 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  34. Pat Ricci

    Agree with Are Obudu!... there are millions of fans who would jump against FIFA if they begin making the sport boring as hell.

    After all these comments you see why Football is the king of sports?... CONTROVERSY

    September 23, 2009 at 7:26 pm | Reply
  35. massive1982

    Does it really matter? How many other dives or "simulation" happen outside the penalty area. We have allowed for this kinda playing to go on for years and now we want to police it. All I can say is you can't have what you want and keep everything else the same. I agree that we need to enforce something for this, but at what cost? Soccer has been played the same for years, why is this now an issue??

    September 23, 2009 at 7:42 pm | Reply
  36. Bob

    Hey, baba robert,

    You posted your comments in the wrong area. This article is about soccer, not superstitious nonsense.

    September 23, 2009 at 7:44 pm | Reply
  37. impulse

    I think the bigger question is: Should there be a penalty for football being so incredibly boring? Where's the shot clock?

    September 23, 2009 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  38. Felix, Mexico

    Human eye limitations make referees 85 to 90% accurate to judge every detail in average circumstances during any match of practically any sport.

    This has variations depending upon lighting conditions, dusty terrains, speed of the play, position and distance of the referee, etc.

    These conditions make the perfect scenario for clowns to dive.

    I agree with all the interesting comments above, but, have you guys realized how many millions of Dollars are involved in whole "Industry of sports"? Is that clown diving pat of the show?

    September 23, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Reply
  39. Jide Yusuf

    Good as this debate may sound as well-intended, it is almost hollow. Whatever the outcome, whatever the decision, and whatsoever device is employed to curb the incidence of diving inside the penalty box, it will be an overkill. Football is a game. Inside it, we will have tricks, smartness and cheating. The rules and controls are also mechanism to catch players and their pranks and all add to the fun. The big moral parallels that we are trying to draw regarding diving is "much ado". Should we penalize all tricks of optical illusion in television, in magic, in photography, in artwork? So much in football and sports are tricks. Let's face facts. Let us enjoy all the "catch me" stuff in sports and stop playing up the morals. What morals are there in wasting so much money on sports in a world full of poverty? Let us do as much to curb the damaging excesses in football. We all have seen red cards issued in some very ridiculous and pitiful instances. It is a game, let us play it. Let diving remain a foul and that's all.

    September 23, 2009 at 8:08 pm | Reply
  40. jorge luis

    .this world cup behan in 1974 as Brazil won in 1979 the old jules rimet cup;
    since then italy ,Brazil, germany and argentina won it 2 times each
    and you only mention brazil and italy. just for the record,
    1974 germany 1978 argentina 1982 italy 1986 argentina 1990 germany 1994 Brazil 1998 France 2002 Brazil 2006 Italy

    September 23, 2009 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  41. Peter

    Use cameras – but to these so called wonderful players that are idolised around the world – if you are that good why do you need to dive, is it to make up for lack of talent, paid millions of dollars and for what the biggest hollywoods the world has ever seen. i use to watch soccer and enjoy it now you a bunch of wooses who look like freaks – even when you get roughed up in a tackle you spend 10 minutes on the ground rolling around – toughen up – and yes i've played – for 10 years and maybe not at major levels but in the rough and tumble grades where you get hit a lot harder than you idiots. stop the diving FIFA bring in the cameras and start issuing fines for these actors it may just make the game a bit interesting again – untill you do something I'll look up the results and watch the final game but the rest i'll not watch – not a good one for your sponsors is it.

    September 23, 2009 at 8:42 pm | Reply
  42. Felix, Mexico

    Yes, Pat Ricci. Controversy is the key word for soccer game.

    Thanks to Becky Anderson for this marvelous oportunity to express ourselves.


    September 23, 2009 at 9:00 pm | Reply
  43. Sergio

    As long as FIFA and the various continental FA's continue to live in the dark ages and not bring in technology to help resolve conflictive calls, either on the spot or after the fact, then players will continue to cheat (let's call it what it is). But as always, as long as the cash is flowing in, does anything else really matter?

    September 23, 2009 at 9:55 pm | Reply
  44. Brian Sweeney

    I can't believe football still refuses to use TV evidence during games they are stuck in the 1960's, The rest of sport has moved on and modernised, i could not believe Celtic game in isreal an extra two linesmen behind the goal un believable. The referee should use it and the managers should be given three shouts per half to dispute decisions. The argument is made about time taken to do this . well it is a lot quicker then 22 players surrounding a referee for 5 minutes agruing about decisions

    September 23, 2009 at 9:57 pm | Reply
  45. RON

    Hey Pat Ricci, did u understand just what u wrote? The game is all about anger, hate, passion, love and so on. Do u imagine the gravity of leaving someone with hate, anger and controversy? Lets assume, a penalty was given in favour of an other team due to diving and the recipient of the said penalty looses the match. Are u ready to live with anger and hate? Be realistic... I support technology be apply in such circumstances to avoid one been left with animosity for the other.

    September 23, 2009 at 9:58 pm | Reply
  46. Brandon

    FIFA obviously isn't that concerned about diving since they gave C. Ronaldo the player of the year award...

    September 23, 2009 at 10:33 pm | Reply
  47. Mohammed

    I agree with you jeff. I would also suggest the right for a coach to appeal for a review if he thought the ball did not cross the line or if he thought that a player from the opposition was off-side resulting in a goal.

    Seeing that celebrations take at least 30 seconds, thats more than enough time for the fourth official to review the play (as they do in rugby) to see if in fact the player was on side or not, should the coach appeal.

    It's time we gradually start using technology.

    September 23, 2009 at 10:53 pm | Reply
  48. Carlos Garcia Caceres

    Additional referees and video review are the tools needed to stop clown players spoiling the game.

    Referees performance sometimes is very disappointing it seems the look the other way when big team players take a diving in the penalty area.

    The game rules have to change, have to evolve.

    September 23, 2009 at 11:08 pm | Reply
  49. fedupwithfifa

    It is not enough to punish the player with a ban or a fine. It is still in their interests to dive. It's like taking a shot– they do it because it might help their team win. It works. Review the tapes– if a player is deemed to have dived, he should get a post match yellow or red card accordingly– which goes into effect at the start of the next game. That's right– the team could be awarded a post match red card and start the next game one man down. That will greatly reduce the dives. Keep the fines too- for all red cards (including double yellows).

    September 23, 2009 at 11:49 pm | Reply
  50. Drew

    Soccer will never win over Americans without addressing the fact that in soccer, the cheaters win and the honest ones lose. You can call it strategy or tricks but in the end all it is are sore losers trying to find a way out of a missed play.

    September 24, 2009 at 12:20 am | Reply
  51. Xavier

    Obvious Options: my preference from #1 as highest.
    #1 Get rid of the penatly box altogether
    #2 Have a similar rule to handball that you can not enter an area to shoot
    #3 After a match, analyse and fine/ban players cuaght diving and any goals resulting from wrong penalties be taken away – could result in a loss but bad luck, you cheated.
    #4 use technology real time.

    I think some posts here have made football bigger than it is. Football is about "humanity"?? It wasn't when it was first invented! Football is a game just like any other but has the biggest mass viewing than any other sport. Football "REPRESENTS" is a better word. But we are barking up the wrong tree if we are to try and make players change their minds on impulsive decisions to dive. However we should try and encourage them to stop diving indirectly. Hence removing penalty box altogether is the best. They cant dive anymore!!! And a shooting area eliminates the chance of someone diving just outside the goal line!


    September 24, 2009 at 12:29 am | Reply
  52. yosoy

    Tis is an easy one: review the tapes to determine whether any foul play has take place. As easy as ABC!!!...

    September 28, 2009 at 2:11 pm | Reply

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