Luis Suarez, diving or not? 3

Luis Suarez in full flight…


At the conclusion of this weekends English Premier League games the latest hot topic of conversation was diving. Not the kind that involves a swimming pool, but that kind where a player is simulating or “faking” as though he has been fouled.
The topic was ignited when Stoke coach Tony Pullis accused Liverpool’s Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez of diving in the penalty box and trying to “con” the referee into giving a penalty. Pullis continued, going as far as saying that “players that dive should be banned”.

First, let’s be fair, Luis Suarez, like most strikers does dive on occasion.
On some occasions he is definitely guilty of diving after apparently no contact has been made, as he did in the game this weekend, which led to the Pullis accusation, on other occasions Suarez is guilty of over elaborating his case, after he has been legitimately fouled, also as in the case this weekend.

Ironically, these accusations come from a manager whose teams have a reputation of playing an overtly physical style of play and in fact after Stokes visit to Chelsea last weekend, the stoke manager, also accused Chelsea’s Brazilian whiz kid striker, Oscar, of taking a dive. The problem is two fold, are some players taking a dive and going down to easily, Yes, but is there also an abundance of overly physical play taking place also?

All strikers dive at some point, all players go down with the hopes of drawing a foul. But it seems that players like Suarez, Oscar and other foreign players bare the brunt of the accusations?  Like Manchester City’s Italian, Mario Balotelli.  On several occasions where he has been legitimately been fouled, not only has he been accused of diving, but to add insult to injury, he also does not get the call. I could go on naming players that have been victimized by accusations of diving from Nani, to of course Cristiano Ronaldo, in his Manchester United days who, was consistently dogged by accusations diving.

Stoke striker Michael Owen, and former Liverpool, Newcastle and Real Madrid forward, capped 89 times by England, has blamed the growth of diving on the influx of foreign players – but admitted he has also gone to ground unnecessarily. Saying, that “It’s worse than 10 years ago with the influence of players coming from South America, Spain and Italy,” said Owen.

So what is going on here? Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, was recently quoted as saying that he feels that “English referees treat the foreign players differently”. Is that the case? It it a case of Xenophobia as or is it culture clash?

I think it maybe more a case of the latter. Foreign players are plentiful in the English Premier League, they bring style, panache and a brilliance to the league. They have brought and awful lot to English football. They play the game a different way, to a different beat and most of the things they bring, we like, and unfortunately in some instances, certain things they bring, like diving, we don’t like.

At the heart of the matter is more a case of culture clash rather than anything else. Ultimately, Football is a global game, played in every hemisphere, on every continent, in practically every corner of the world. And in each country it is played with the embodiment of the culture of the country it represents. Brazilian football is noted for its exuberance it’s carnival like style, which represents its people, while the Germans play a style that is solid and pragmatic with no thrills. Just like their personalities.

While the British play the game, fair and hard, “you better go in hard or you’re going to get hurt”. It’s the embodiment of the English game, and diving, is the total antithesis of the English game. It’s not the way the games played in England. So when an English player goes down, he cannot be diving, he must heave been fouled, maybe he went down easy, but he never dived. While in many cultures and soccer nations throughout the world, diving is a legitimate part of the game, players are expected to go down and over elaborate and try to win a foul. It’s expected.

What we have here is a classic case of culture clash and cultural bias.
All you have to do is listen to the game day commentary. When Tevez, Balotelli and Aguero or any other foreigner goes down, well it’s a dive, but when the likes of say Steven Gerard, or a Micheal Owen “takes a dive”, it is described as going down to easily, or he must have Ben fouled. The whole terminology is different while explaining the exact same event. Skewed? Yes…. Bias Yes… Xenophobic?