Diving Controversy Comes To A Head In Britain

I think we can all agree that diving is a big turnoff, and a contributing reason that soccer hasn’t really caught on in the U.S. But as fake fouls go, you have to admit that Arsenal’s Eduardo took it to the top level in a Champions League game against Celtic last week.

Somehow, Eduardo got the ref to buy it when he flopped near the goal while being challenged by Celtic keeper Artur Boruc. Of course, Boruc threw a royal fit, because he clearly didn’t touch anyone. (Video below). But here’s a surprise: The UEFA has retroactively banned Eduardo for two games for the trickery.

This of course has opened a giant can of — um, what do they eat from cans in Europe? Almost no one is happy with the ruling. I have my opinion on that, but first, let’s go to the dive itself. I think you’ll agree that it’s sublime:

John Ley of THE TELEGRAPH shall represent the overwhelming disagreement with the ruling. Excerpt:

And, if the retrospective manner of their charge and suspension continues, what next? Every club who feels aggrieved over a costly defeat in Europe will be scanning every video recording, TV show — even fans’ phone video shots — to find a sly foul, dive or even illegal throw-in.

I would not be surprised if a club that feels hard done by actually ask their supporters if they have any proof on their phone that so-and-so kicked you-know-who off the ball.

Because I’m not capable of running 90 feet without making a sharp turn to the left, I’m no good at soccer. But it seems to me that what you have here is the world’s most popular sport — and because it’s played everywhere, you’re going to have different interpretations of what’s really blatant cheating and what isn’t.


(Down goes Eduardo! Oh, the humanity!)

This especially goes for the top squads in Europe, which are real melting pots. In Eduardo’s old Rio de Janeiro neighborhood a dive like that might have been heroic; who knows? Even if they make tougher rules, how are they enforceable? Do you go to an instant replay system? Or as in this case, do you go back and look at every controversial play in every match? There are always going to be those practiced actors who simply get away with it.

It’s been happening since the ancient Aztecs kicked about the heads of their vanquished opponents for sport. If someone really wanted to do something about it, it would have happened by now.

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