Diving (association football)
In association football (soccer), diving (simulation is the term used by FIFA, Schwalbe (German for swallow) is a popular term) is an attempt by a player to gain an unfair advantage by diving to the ground and possibly feigning an injury, to appear as if a foul has been committed. Dives are often used to exaggerate the amount of contact present in a challenge. Deciding on whether a player has dived is often very subjective, and one of the most controversial aspects of football discussion. Players do this so they can receive free kicks or penalty kicks, which can provide scoring opportunities, or so the opposing player receives a yellow or red card, giving their own team an advantage.
A 2008 study found that there are recognisable traits that can often be observed when a player is diving. They are:
- a separation in time between the impact and the simulation,
- a lack of ballistic continuity (the player moves further than would be expected from the momentum of the tackle) and
- lack of contact consistency (the player nurses a body part other than where the impact occurred, such as contact to the chest causing the player to fly to the ground, holding his face).
In addition the "Archer's bow" pose, where the head is tilted back, chest thrust forward, arms raised and both legs bent at the knee to lift both feet off the ground to the rear, is recognised as a characteristic sign of simulation, as the action is counter to normal reflex mechanisms to protect the body in a fall.
Referees and FIFA are now trying to prevent diving with more frequent punishments as part of their ongoing target to stop all kinds of simulation in football. The game's rules now state that "Attempts to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled (simulation)", must be sanctioned as unsporting behaviour which is misconduct punishable by a yellow card. The rule changes are in response to an increasing trend of diving and simulation.
MLS in the United States, for the 2011 season, began implementing fines and suspensions for simulation in football through its Disciplinary Committee, which has the right to review plays after the match. On 24 June 2011, MLS penalised D.C. United forward Charlie Davies with a US$1,000 fine as the Disciplinary Committee ruled he "intentionally deceived the officials and gained an unfair advantage which directly impacted the match" in a simulation that occurred in the 83rd minute of the match against Real Salt Lake on 18 June 2011.
On 29 July 2011, the Disciplinary Committee suspended Real Salt Lake forward Álvaro Saborío one game and fined him US$1,000 for a simulation in a game against the San Jose Earthquakes on 23 July 2011. Officials noted the simulation resulted in Earthquakes defender Bobby Burling being sent off on the simulation, and the warning from MLS that fines and suspensions will increase for simulation being detected by the Disciplinary Committee.
Diving as deceptive behaviour
Recently, researchers studying signalling in animals examined diving in the context of communication theory, which suggests that deceptive behaviour should occur when the potential payoffs outweigh the potential costs (or punishments). Their aim was to discern when and where diving is likely to occur, with the aim of identifying ways to stop it.
The researchers watched hundreds of hours of matches across 6 European professional leagues and found that diving is more likely to occur a) near the offensive goal and b) when the match is tied. None of the 169 dives seen in the study were punished.
It was also found that diving was more common in leagues where it was rewarded most – meaning that the more often players were likely to get free kicks or penalties out of a dive, the more often they dived. This suggests that the benefits of diving are far outweighing the costs, and the only way to reduce diving in football is by increasing the ability of referees to detect dives and by increasing the punishment associated with them.
“Some progressive professional leagues, such as the Australian A-League and the American MLS have already started handing down punishments for players found guilty of diving. This is the best way to decrease the incentive for diving,” says Dr. Robbie Wilson of the soccerscience lab that conducted the study.
Some have referred to simulation as a menace to footballers with real, sometimes life-threatening, injuries or conditions. On 24 May 2012, English FA referee Howard Webb spoke to a FIFA medical conference in Budapest about the importance of curbing simulation in football, as players feigning injury could put players with serious medical issues in jeopardy. Earlier that year, he had to deal with the collapse of Fabrice Muamba, who suffered cardiac arrest during an FA Cup match.
- Unsportsmanlike conduct
- Running out the clock
- Flop (basketball)
- Diving (ice hockey)
- Morris, Paul; Lewis, David (March 2010). "Tackling Diving: The Perception of Deceptive Intentions in Association football". Journal of Nonverbal Behaviour 34 (1): 1–13. doi:10.1007/s10919-009-0075-0. ISSN 0191-5886. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
- FIFA laws of the game, 2012–2013. See Law 12 and Interpretation of the Laws of the Game; Cautions for unsporting behaviour
- MLS Disciplinary Committee fines Davies for dive vs. Real Salt Lake
- Saborío fined, suspended for dive vs. Quakes
- Receivers Limit the Prevalence of Deception in Humans: Evidence from Diving Behaviour in Soccer Players
- Tackling the Problem of Diving in Football
- "Reuters Soccer Blog: Diving". Reuters.
- "Simulation and the UEFA Ruling on Eduardo". US Soccer Federation Referee Program. 2 September 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
- Barclay, Patrick (24 August 2009). "Feigning injury corrupts as much as fake blood". The Times.
- Elliot, Debbie (8 July 2006). "Fake or Foul? A Soccer Ref Holds Forth". All Things Considered (NPR).
- Hughes, Rob (1 September 2009). "Hunt for Cheats Has Political Hue". New York Times.
- Torres, Cesar R. (17 September 2009). "On Diving: Soccer’s Integrity Is at Stake". New York Times.
- David, Gwendolyn (5 October 2011). "Receivers Limit the Prevalence of Deception in Humans: Evidence from the Diving Behaviour in Soccer Players". PLOS One.