When watching a game as a neutral, i may be tempted to laugh at such displays, as some invariably do induce a giggle here and there - we have quality footballers resorting to throwing themselves to the floor, wriggling and writhing most dramatically, clutching their supposed injured limb, contorting their faces into pictures of excruciating pain - and then, should the ref be fooled by these hysterics and do the unthinkable in punishing the non-offender, they suddenly jump up, skipping back into position, racing up and down the pitch, the complete picture of health. It may be funny sometimes, it may be completely shocking other times, but what is unanimous, is that these kind of ridiculous displays are ruining the game.
These days refs seem to hardly completely witness any crucial incident - they don't see the activity in the box that warrants their decision for penalty or not, they don't see whether the footballer who has just fell to the floor has a definite cause to do so and whether it was a two-footed off-the-floor tackle aiming for injury, or whether the ball was fairly won and therefore good job, despite another footballer's theatrics. No, they don't seem to be witnessing the incidents Neville and Redknapp discuss post match, adamant that they are looking, that they can see it, but actually no they're not - their view is impaired or they were looking completely the other way. Either way, it is easy to sit on our sofa, scrutinising the game, the footballers being traced every second by numerous cameras, our eyes seeking the action through various lenses that never miss a second. But the ref, well, he only has one set of eyes, that can't be pointed in every direction every second, and so obviously occasionally (more than occasionally) they miss something.
This has apparently been detected, especially by certain footballers, who use this Achilles heal of referees to adopt their theatrics, using the pitch as their stage and letting loose, flailing about on the floor as they are sure that this kind of reaction will warrant a red or a yellow for their marker, and the better for them.
When did the game become about amateur actors donning ludicrous roles, or even worse, a form of despicable cheating, whereby you are trying to punish your fellow footballer instead of beating him the proper way, man to man, in good old sporting competition? I don't know where it all went so wrong - surely spoiling footballers these day with such fame and fortune, adoration and respect has gone to their head, breeding arrogance and audacity, believing that they are royalty because this country treats footballers with awe and worship. Perhaps these days footballers are scared of getting their kit dirty, the gel knocked out of their hair, or actually getting injured, so they feign these attacks, escaping all of the above. I don't know - i don't know why top rate, top flight footballers feel the need to do it. Take for example, and this is by no means an exhaustive list or bias opinion, just the ones that have been in the press recently, but Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez - two of the best players in the Barclays Premier League right now and yet they resort to childish antics of falling over and play acting? Both players in recent weeks have been awared penalities whereby upon close inspection of the incident (via camera angles/discussion and the various snazzy but unnecessary tools the pundits in the studio have for circling things on the screen that are supposed to draw our attention, stopping and rewinding events, playing them in slow mention etc...- pretty sure theyre just little kids with a band new toy) neither player came into contact with the footballer that was punished, and the decision should not have been a penalty. Luckily for their opposition, both mens' teams did not go on to win in their respective games, hence a little bit of justice and fate entering the equation, but fateshould not have to have a factor in the outcome of a game - it should be played properly, good old fashioned footballl, proper ambitious tackles with the intention of getting the ball, and no player leaving his feet even if he has got clipped and less he is genuinely taken to the floor. What happened to motoring on, powering through the opposition, keeping on your feet at all costs and prevailing like a hero in the end? What is football coming to!?
I have included a little montage of funny, but outrageous diving - that should be viewed for entertainment whilst simultaneously condemning the amateur actors: