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To Dive or Not To Dive? That is the Question.

wayne rooney dives To Dive or Not To Dive? That is the Question.

With the recent issues surrounding diving and simulation in the box and elsewhere, once again we are in a broiling debate over the use of re-play video technology to assist referees. This week, Eduardo clearly dove in the box against Celtic and it flat changed the game. Perhaps, had Celtic put the first ball in the net this week, they may have challenged for the aggregate win at The Emirates. However, the early penalty surely sealed the deal for the Gunners. Wayne Rooney’s dubious dance with Manuel Almunia this weekend at Old Trafford afforded the Red Devils a much needed goal in what was otherwise an Arsenal-dominated show—save that awful own goal. These are simply the latest incidents in a long line of potentially questionable tactics by today’s footballers—and questionable calls by today’s referees.

With these issues, the question of technology is always raised. Had the referees had access to video re-play, perhaps their calls, and ultimately the match’s outcome, would have been different. So the answer to today’s diving professional footballer and half-blind referee is video, right?

Wrong. Football, Futbol, Soccer, or whatever you want to call it, is not a game that needs video re-play. The beauty of football is the continuous play of the game. We don’t need timeouts to discuss strategy—we can take care of that on the field. We don’t have 400-lb linemen who need a break every four plays. Heck, we only need three subs! My point is simple: do not interrupt the flow of the Beautiful Game through a technology that is born out of un-classy dives from un-classy players that drive Bentleys and Aston Martins. I have no problem with a subsequent review of a play much like what happened to Eduardo this week. He absolutely deserves a ban—and a steep fine as well. However, the game does not need to be stopped for the inevitable 5-10 minutes of debating in the video booth over the referee’s call. I cannot bear the thought of 60-minute halves due to the constant stoppage of the game because someone has been wronged by an only-human referee. The game should continue and be played without interruption. This is what separates our sport from all others—especially here in America.

Think video will end the debate and make all calls unquestionable? Absolutely not. Look at Arsene Wenger’s defense of Eduardo this week. He conceded that it shouldn’t have been a penalty but that it also wasn’t a dive. Are you kidding me? I like Wenger but he is wrong. Eduardo dove to get the penalty because he knew it would change the game—and he was right, it did. Just admit it, punish the player, and sit him on the bench for a few matches. I love how managers cry to FIFA, UEFA, The FA, and every other group with letters in their name to “fix the problem.” The problem lies with players who get away with unsportsmanlike conduct and are defended by their bosses. Even with video re-play, someone’s feelings are going to get hurt and some mass of supporters will hate one of the four officials. Get over it! Or don’t—someone has to lose and someone has to win. It’s a game. Until that changes, video will only be good for confirming what we already knew: diving, and complaining about it and the referee’s call of it, is a part of the game.

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55 Responses to To Dive or Not To Dive? That is the Question.

  1. randomsausage says:

    I did a project with some marketing dudes at the Scottish Football Association (yes they do exist) and one of the suits at SFA told me that there was no way video would ever come to our beloved game because everyone loves the controversy: the fact that human error (from the ref) can change a result, keeps us talking about it…..keeps us engaged and interested. So apart from agreeing with all the points above about continuity of play…..there’s the sheer media-friendliness of controversy and its ability to keep footie dominating the sporting news (outside of USA of course).

    Oh, and Rooney was definitely a pen. There was contact.

    • AtlantaPompey says:

      Contact? Just barely, but yes there was contact. However, he did not have possession of the ball, therefore should not have been awarded a penalty. Before Rooney hit the ground, the ball was in the stands. He had already lost the ball in preparation for the contact he knew was coming. He was preparing for it! He should not have been awarded the penalty.

      My opinion of course, which keeps us talking about it, arguing, etc.

  2. Mike Gellatly says:

    Mr. Spigner/EPL Talk,
    I could not agree more. What makes sport great is the human factor, the flaws of player, pitch and referees. Flaws make the characters we love and hate that others love!
    People say there was less diving in the 1970s, 80s etc — well that is crap. It is simply that we have the time and inclination in recent years to pour over each incident, as is our wont in the 24/7 news world.
    To stop the clock every 2 minutes to review a play would rip the heart out and stop dead a game that lives and dies on flow.
    Referees do not make more mistakes and players do not dive more in the 21st Century — it is simply that we see every dribble, dive and Drogba-ration each second has to offer!

  3. Mike Gellatly says:

    RandomSausage,

    Rooney’s was never a pen. While there was contact, the ball had already left Islington by the time it had happened!!!

    • Tyson says:

      Arsenal fans are buying into Wengers bullshit again. Wenger is the kind of manager that will make stupid statements to defend his players.

      On the one hand he insists Eduardo didn’t dive but then he acknowledges it wasn’t a penalty?! I mean do people really want to adopt his line of argument?

      Arsenal fans neglect to mention Eboue’s dive where there was no contact made at all but are quick to gun for Rooney.

      Fact of the matter is Rooney tried to play the ball but the idiot Arsenal keeper went in for the ball when his defenders had it covered. At that point Rooney didn’t even have possession of the ball technically but the goalie still decided to dive at his feet.

      It was the goalies mistake but in the end United deserved the win Arsenal “dominated” the ball.. ie did nothing with it apart from score a flukie goal. On the other hand the 6 yellow cards and only one capable striker in front of the goalie was the reason United struggled.

      • randomsausage says:

        Mike et al…

        Possession of the ball has anything to do with this: either you take the player out or not. I believe the law is pretty clear on this….ie it says nothing about the player being “in control” of the ball, in order for there to be a foul.

        I mean if “being in control of the ball” was a criteria for giving fouls, there would be virtually no calls from the ref in MLS or Scottish Premier League! :-)

        • Grant says:

          The issue is more the fact that the contact with Almunia was NOT the cause of Rooney’s fall. Rooney went into the challenge knowing he would go to ground, and did. The only thing Almunia’s contact did was keep Rooney from looking every bit the fool Eduardo looked on Wednesday.

      • Uarafool says:

        You sir are a retard Arsenals ‘fluke’ goal! What are you on about YOUR GOALS WERE THE FLUKES you fool, a cheated for and got penalty and a freak own goal, and don’t say it was great placement of the ball because there wasn’t a Utd player any where near Diaby. Arsenal deserved to win or at the very very least a draw. Have some grace, but I guess Utd fans are as obnoxious as you are where ever they are in the world. you had 2 shots on target at home and 1 of them was the cheated for and got penalty. They gave the ball away practically every time they had it! Get used to this kind of performance because that midfield is woefully inept all work and no skill.

  4. Simon Burke says:

    I disagree on a couple of things – Eduardo whould never have dived as it was needless. Arsenal were always going to win that tie so I dont think it changed anything other than made a run of the mill match memorable for the wrong reasons.

    Rooney’s wasnt a pen – the ball wasnt going to threaten the goal and Rooney is clearly playing for a pen.

    The English media have said Rooney’s play was clever yet Eduardo has been vilified for more or less the same thing. I think both were dives to cheat the ref. The fact that Almunia catches Rooney half way through his dive doesnt mean it wasnt a dive. I just wish there was consistency.

    McGeady at Celtic got sent off for a dive yesterday – and defended by Celtic for it. Pot kettle black from them.

    I just wish big games werent settled by cheats and refereeing decisions, I agree controversy keeps a game in the memory but not for the right reason. Sometimes a great game keeps a game in the memory, Liverpool v Milan, Liverpool v West, Spurs v Arsenal, Chelsea v Villa, etc…

    • Fletch Spigner says:

      Agreed that Arsenal were always going to win but there are probably more than a few Celtic supporters who would disagree! Almunia catching Rooney was totally after the fact–and Rooney knew what he was doing.

      Thanks!

      Fletch

  5. Sam Hiser says:

    I do not see a problem. Whatever the ref says is the truth. The mistakes will wash. It’s a system that works.

    There is cause to explore use of chip-in-ball technology to assist with goal, no-coal calls. That’s as far as I would be willing to go if I were King.

  6. Caldwell says:

    This is a great debate topic. My solution involves video review, but without game stoppage. In competitions with sufficient resources for video availability of every fixture, during the following week a three- or five-man “review crew” watches each match played and assigns some penalty for every case of simulation that they can unanimously agree upon. The penalty should be something like a three-match ban without wages. No on-field results would ever be altered but the players know the playing time and financial costs associated with diving (which almost certainly would be caught) and would think twice before attempting such a ploy.

    Something needs to be done, but it needs to be something that doesn’t impede the flow of the game.

    • Grant says:

      I think this is a great idea, but then in addition to that, the same penalty as would be given on the field (a yellow card) should also be included, so that everyone is punished the same whether on the field or not. All yellow cards issued for diving should also be reviewed, and if there is not a unanimous ruling on that decision then the yellow should also be recinded, so that everyone is treated fairly.

  7. rob banks says:

    yes, god forbid we stop the “flow” of the game with video review – let’s just keep the “flow” going by having patricia evra roll around on the ground faking an injury whilst wayne rooney and co. berate the ref for 5 minutes. there’s already a disruption in play, the only difference with video replay is that the decision would actually be correct after review.

  8. hank says:

    Another problem with using a video replay, at least for diving, is that diving is a matter of intention, not a matter of results. Several posters point out that Almunia made contact with Rooney, but that’s really beside the point – what defines a dive is whether the player *chooses* to go to ground in order to win a foul; everything else that happens simply determines whether it was a successful dive or not. Unfortunately, in most cases we can only guess at (and endlessly argue about) intention from a replay.

    • Grant says:

      Agreed. That is the true issue here. Players have to stop going into the box with the mindset of going to ground (and winning a penalty) whether they are fouled or not. Only eliminating that mindset will end diving.

  9. ovalball says:

    As I see it–for what that’s worth. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I am a former high school soccer ref. In slo-mo, etc. Rooney obviously is not fouled. He is on his way to ground before any contact is made. I am not saying he took a dive. He was already falling from being off balance after his kick. But contact inside the box does not equal “Penalty!” Did Rooney take advantage of the situation? From his subsequent behavior it would seem so, but at full speed I probably would have made the same call the ref did. By the way, “ball possession” has nothing to do with anything. Any direct kick foul in the box results in a penalty kick. It doesn’t matter if the ball is on the other side of the box from the foul.

    I absolutely agree we can’t have instant replay analysis of potential penalties in soccer. That’s the master plan to kill the game. No way.

    However, (and I know I’m repeating myself from other posts) the Australian A-League has a two week retro-ban in effect this year for diving. The decision is made from video after the match. No, it can’t make up for bad decisions during the match, but what I find interesting is that no one has yet been cited. Apparently the risk/reward factor is so great that blatant dives have disappeared.

    There could certainly be no harm in the EPL using this—unless we’re just too worried about hurting the feelings of the refs. But, hell, we’re used to that!

    • Berkeley-B says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with all your points. Instating a panel of officials who monitor play from the booth and who make note of dives and other insalubrious activity on the pitch would go a long way to eliminating the drama queens. Every feigned scream of agony and the multiple rolls that accompany a clean or no-contact challenge is an insult to the game and to the fan. Retroactive punishment after the final whistle (financial and/or banning) must be considered if purists are truly concerned with the integrity of the flow and pace of the beautiful game.

    • Grant says:

      If that is the punishment for all players, retroactive or not, then that’s fine, but you can’t have a situation where if you are caught on the field you get one punishment (a yellow card), and if you’re unlucky enough not to be caught until later you get another (2 match ban). That is unfair beyond reason to the player, as it effectively quintuples or more the punishment depending on the rules regarding yellow card accumulation within the particular competition.

  10. Mike says:

    The author OF this article is a jackass. Video technology is needed so that the game of football takes advantage of its use. It can assist in situations where evidence is required to assist the referee and linesman. It shouldn’t be used for whether a player has dived or not. It is badly needed for confirming whether a ball has crossed the line or not. The game of football often is held up for injuries, so a few minutes of confirming a goal or not won’t make too much difference. Plus such issues can determine a sides promotion, relegation or winning a trophy.

    On the subject of Eduardo, you talk pure drivel. The game with Celtic was over from the first leg. It’s not as if both teams went into the second leg with the game scoreless. So your assertion the first goal changed the game is rubbish. It’s not as if Celtic bossed the game and had ample chances. Eduardo is just been used as a scapegoat by UEFA. Why should he be banned and fined as you suggest? He did’t injure anyone. Players that go out to hurt fellow professionals should be banned and fined. A player considered to have dived by the ref is given a yellow card. That’s it. No two match bans.

    • Fletch Spigner says:

      Mike, my opinions on this topic are meant to spur debate among fans of the game. All opinions, including yours, are welcome. As I have stated earlier in this post, I agree that Arsenal were well on their way to the victory before Eduardo’s dive. However, the goal did change the game. At 2-0, there is some hope for Celtic and their supporters. At 3-0 at The Emirates, there really is no hope. That goal would have come eventually but it did have an effect on the game from that point on. Why do you think we are still talking about it now? If it didn’t matter then no one would be upset about it.

      As for your assertion that video technology is needed for goal line review, I am inclined to agree with you. However, when does it end? Does one goal or one missed call lead to promotion, relegation, trophies, etc. or does a whole season of consistent (good or bad) play lead to that?

      Just my respectful thoughts…

      Fletch

      • Mike says:

        I respect your opinion, but still don’t agree. Cricket, which you may not be familiar with, has successfully implemented video to determine whether a player is deemed to be out or not. The umpire on the field refers decisions to a video referee located in the pavilion. If cricket can utilize video technology, then so can football.

        It wouldn’t be too much to ask for would it? I mean, how many times have we all seen goals disallowed that have crossed the line. Just look at the fuss the recent Bristol City/Crystal Palace match stirred up.

        • Grant says:

          Run outs and LBWs are factual decisions, as are goal line decisions in football. Diving is nothing close to that, much as I wish it was. In every sport that uses replay (American football, basketball, baseball, cricket, rugby (both union and league), etc.) only uses it for factual decisions. Diving, penalties, etc. will not be decided via replay. The only thing that might is goal line decisions, as you can definitively ask “did the video show the ball crossing the line?” You can’t ask the fourth official to make a decision on a judgement call for the referee. You just can’t.

        • Mike Gellatly says:

          I think with your cricket analogy you are forgetting the simple thing that makes football a different game. It is a game that is hurt by fractures in play, something that is inherent in cricket and to a lesser extent rugby, too.
          Cricket is a stop-start sport — stop-start kills football.

  11. Del Coro says:

    Thanks, I’ve been looking for an excuse to take EPL off my feed reader, and this idiotic piece has finally done the trick. “We don’t have 400-lb linemen who need a break every four plays.” Jesus Christ get your head out of your ass.

    • Tim says:

      I thought the same thing at first but I really like some of the inside information, like tee vee broadcast schedules that I can’t get most other places.

    • ovalball says:

      And you need to take a pill. This whole site is about discussion, debate, argument. If you can’t handle that, then PLEASE go somewhere else.

    • JR says:

      Bye-bye, Del Coro — don’t let the door hitcha …

      As a former big ole offensive lineman of 10 years standing, I’m happy there’s no replay. Replay, along with incessant commercials, have damn near killed the enjoyment of American football for me. I’ve pretty much given it up — it’s too damn boring (and the NFL is quite full of itself as well).

  12. Tim says:

    This whole “video technology would break the ‘flow’ of the game” argument seems to be party line at EPLTalk and why not? It gets clicks!

    The truth is that video replay could be used properly and would have no more (maybe even less) effect than the current stoppages of play whenever there’s a controversial decision. By properly, I mean only in very rare cases; penalty awards, and goals (disallowed, etc). You could limit each team to one challenge a game (or half) and they could only be for those types of incidents and that would be the end of the story.

    It’s not going to take 15 minutes to decide, you aren’t going to have dozens of these a game, and in an age when fans get hundreds of re-runs (instantaneously) from dozens of angles and can see that Rooney dragged his left foot BEFORE contact, and thus dived, and when we’re talking millions of pounds in revenue at stake, it’s important the calls right during the match, not after.

    What’s really incredible, though, is that you want to referee the match during the game when it counts, but after the game. It’s too late after the game! I mean, if you really believe that Dudu’s dive changed the game, then it’s actually unfair for Arsenal to go through to the next level and earn millions of pounds at Celtic’s expense, isn’t it? That’s what’s at stake here.

    Sorry but your whole argument is illogical. In fact, it smacks of you being a United supporter and trying to justify your media hyped anger at Eduardo and your inability to make the same call against your beloved Rooney. If that’s not the case then I’m at a loss, because this article has less meat on it than a chicken mcnugget.

    • Fletch Spigner says:

      1. I pull for many teams. United are usually never near the top of the list.
      2. My point was that, even though a dive can change a game, the referee’s call on the field should stand. It should stand in both incidents I described. It is unfair for Arsenal to go forward but it happens. It’s tough for Celtic this time and it may be tough for Arsenal at some point in the future.
      3. The reality is that, as long as humans are on the field, with or without video re-play, we will be debating this point.
      4. I love Chicken McNuggets!

      Fletch

      • Grant says:

        If you seriously think that the Eduardo penalty changed the Arsenal-Celtic tie, I have a bridge I can sell you for $2. Celtic would have had to score two goals just to force extra time and penalties (at the Emirates no less), and they would have had to keep a clean sheet as well. That means that they would have had to score three goals to go through without extra time, and that would have allowed them to give Arsenal a goal and not worry as they would have gone through on away goals (3-2). The point being that if Celtic weren’t going into the game thinking that they needed to score three goals, then they weren’t adequately prepared for the game. This means that the Arsenal goal alone doesn’t change things in the game, let alone the tie. Regardless, the tie was over well before a ball was kicked, as Arsenal were clearly the better team, and I support Celtic as much as Arsenal as I’m Catholic and the teams had never played before this tie. Arsenal are a much better team, and Celtic was never going to do anything in the Champions League. They are better off in the Europa League, where they might make a quarterfinals run.

        • JR says:

          You’re absolutely right — anyone who argues that Celtic could’ve defeated the Gunners that day is seriously deluded. No replay — ever!!

  13. Matthew N says:

    If two games is the punishment for diving, it will always be a part of the sport. Just like baseball and steroids, if they keep slapping people on the wrist people will keep doing them because they get the big contracts (even though they have to miss a few games). Soccer is no different. If Eduardo dives to get Arsenal into the CL group stage and all he has to do is miss two games, that is a great deal. Same thing with a Man U v Arsenal match… if the 2-1 ends up a 1-1, that difference of two points can (and probably will) be the difference between first place and first loser. If they really want diving out of the sport, they need to give people significant suspensions, maybe a year or longer. They need to have a zero tolerance penalty for all simulation (to include feigning injury which is increasingly more common). If you watched the average club football match, you’ll see a few obvious dives and enough “injuries” to fill up an entire emergency room. It is simply pathetic. If it were up to me, I’d ban steroid users for life in baseball, and I think UEFA should take the same approach towards repeat offenders (warning–> 1 yr ban–> life ban). It may be harsh, but people need to have some god damn integrity these days. I’m a LFC supporter and Torres used to be my favorite player, but lately I just hate to even see him on the pitch because he dives so much. UEFA needs to do something, but I doubt they will.

  14. jm says:

    In a previous post, I defended the view that we need retroactive punishment. I think the Rooney case has illuminated to me that I was too hasty.

    I still stand by the basic point – diving culture needs to be addressed. Yellows for dives in matches are all well and good, but they will only catch the most obvious of dives (ahem, Eboue). Retroactive replay analysis allows leagues to catch all instances of it.

    Which brings me to Rooney’s dive. It certainly looks like there is little difference between what Eduardo did and what Rooney did – except a bit of luck. Boruc successfully avoided Eduardo, while Almunia did not avoid Rooney. In both cases, however, contact would only have occured after the player began falling. (The contact might have other important ramifications, Eduardo’s incident clearly wasn’t a penalty, while Rooney’s is debatable, etc. The point is that from the point of view of the actions of the players, they are identical).

    Once we get into retroactive bans for anticipating contact like that, I think two game bans quickly become excessive. Perhaps we should bring the punishments in line with the in-game punishment – a yellow card. That’s a somewhat weak punishment, but does have some ramifications for accumulated yellows, etc.

    On the other hand, perhaps a draconian system, which starts handing out two match bans to everyone who anticipates contact like this (and goodness knows it happens a lot) would stamp it out. If that were a long term success, then the short term pain of rampant bans might be justified. Still, I’m not convinced it would work in that way, not unless UEFA (or FA or whatever) shows that it can consistently govern the sport. The Eduardo case also shows that it cannot.

    • Grant says:

      The only thing to do with anything that is not violence is give whatever penalty should have been given in the game. By giving Eduardo a two match ban for the referee’s mistake in not seeing him, you’ve essentially given him five yellow cards (the ammount he would have had to get in the group stage to get a two match ban). That creates a system where by diving obviously (Eboue or McGeady) you get 20% of the punishment you get for diving that you would get if you aren’t caught until after the match (Eduardo). That is simply an unacceptable situation.

  15. carl says:

    OK the fact that a replay would add on 10 minutes to a half?? Escuse my outburst here but, that is complete BOLLOCKS!!

    By the time Rooney actually took the penalty we had seen it on replay about 5 times from 3 angles!! In this day an age, all the ref would have to do is is speak to the 4th official via earpiece, who would be able to check instantly on a camera reserved ONLY FOR OFFICIALS TO VIEW. Let’s be honest, besides holding up the electronic board and keeping tabs on subs, he doesn’t do much else! :)

    In a majority of cases it is pretty clear to see by one person (4th official) and make the decision. After all the linesmen make calls that the ref may miss like fouls and offside decisions. The delay would be a MAXIMUM of 2 minutes and that is only if it’s a tough decision where the ref would have to view the incident himself.

    It was mentioned about “The beauty of football is the continuous play of the game.” OK this would be a valid statement….but it isn’t that fluid now as there are constant stoppages for “fouls” committed….due to diving….and players going down quicker than Jordan on MMA fighter. Seems we have a bit of a conundrum on our hands.

    So, in my opinion, if there was video replay available then it may serve as a deterrent for those thinking about trying to con the ref with a dive because they know it could mean a yellow card or even red.

    THEREFORE ACTUALLY ALLOWING THE BEAUTIFUL GAME TO FLOW IN THE MANNER IT SHOULD.

    • ovalball says:

      Hmmm. Well you and Mike may have me asking for salt and pepper to sprinkle on my words. I am a big rugby fan and the TMO is frequently used to decide Try/No Try or In/Out. The decision is usually pretty quick in coming.

      I suppose the same system could be used for Dive/No Dive or Ball Over the Goal Line/Not. It doesn’t appeal to me, but something must be done to cut down on the diving. Perhaps the 4th official could be given cards numbered 1-10. 10-8 is play on. 7-5 is a yellow. 4 and under is a red.

      • Grant says:

        Try/No try is a factual decision. Other than violence, which is already punishable retroactively through video evidence, there is nothing in any sport that is decided via replay besides a factual decision. Run outs in cricket, catches in American football, buzzer beaters in basketball, etc. There will never come a time when replay is used to decide what is essentially a judgement call like diving, hand ball, pass interference, etc.

  16. Sam Hiser says:

    It would solve it if the refs agreed that the limb must be severed clear of the body for the call to be made.

    Flopping in the box must become a red card offense!

  17. Alan says:

    Three points

    - Video replay is an American evil that should stay far away from futball.
    - Rooney dove and the ref dates Greg Lugainus (ie, man loves a diver).
    - Arshavin was bowled over in the box by Fletcher, who made no contact with the ball except with his arm, but no penalty? Perhaps if Fletcher used a tire iron and a shank….

    Good debate Fletch.

    • Grant says:

      Tell that to cricket, rugby union, and rugby league. All powers in the American sporting world, from what I understand.

      • JR says:

        His point was that replay is an American evil. The fact that the sports you named have adopted it has absolutely no bearing on his argument.

        RIF.

  18. Grant says:

    You simply can’t use video to decide judgement calls. Factual decisions like whether the ball crosses the line is one thing, but there will never be replay on issues of the referee’s judgement. It’s not done in American sports, it’s not done in cricket or rugby (union or league), it’s not done anywhere.

    What we should be talking about is how ridiculous it is that Eduardo will recieve a two match ban for something he would have gotten a yellow for if seen in game. It’s not Eduardo’s fault the referee made the wrong decision. The fact that Eduardo is going to recieve a penalty that he would have had to recieve 5 yellow cards to get otherwise, for an offense that would only have been punished with one yellow in game is absurd.

    • ovalball says:

      I understand your point, but disagree that diving is necessarily a judgment call. If video conclusively shows a man went down without contact or without the turf jumping up and grabbing him, then it is a fact that he took a dive. There can be no other explanation–unless he had a heart attack–or saw his girlfriend in the stands with another guy.

      • Grant says:

        You misunderstand what a judgement call is. The same can be said for pass interference calls in American football, but they are judgement calls all the same. If the game has gotten physical, the referee may allow more physicality in order not to disrupt the game, or he may become stricter in order to avoid handbags between the team. That is what is meant by a judgement call. It is solely to the referee’s discretion whether to award the foul. Same for offside decisions, as the player has to be “involved in the play” to be offside. The difference is that no matter what else is going on, if the whole of the ball crosses the goal line within the frame of the goal, a goal must be awarded. These are the kinds of plays that can and should be reviewed, but not offside, diving, etc.

  19. Chris from Texas says:

    It may suck, but a rule is a rule. Unless the goalie gets a piece of the ball the player has possession, so if you take him out in the box it’s a penalty. The one thing the refs are doing right is only giving a yellow card for it. It should be a red by the official rules, but a red is too harsh for a situation like Rooney’s and the refs are using common sense.

    Glen Johnson did the same thing in the game against the Hotspurs. Of course, he could of actually kept possession.

    In my opinion, Eduardo should get a one game ban. It may normally be a yellow card, but usually in those situations there is still some amount of contact. If a player is full of crap, they shouldn’t be playing. How many people watch and draw inspiration from professional players? I had a teammate who flopped constantly because they knew how effective it could be.

    If you are hurting the beauty of the game, then you shouldn’t be paid to play it. You shouldn’t be playing it at all.

  20. Alan says:

    Grant,

    Point taken on possession. In the Rooney case, the ball was out of bounds and he had no chance of keeping possession. In the Arshavin case, he moved the ball to the side to maintain possession before being Tonya Harding-ed in the box.

    Alan

    • Sandino says:

      For the record, whether or not the ball was out of bounds has no bearing on if it was a foul. Gotta know the rules before your opinion can be taken seriously.

  21. Brian says:

    Just allow the video replay for the penalties that happen in the penalty box. This is the one scenario where the reward for getting a penalty is too great to ignore and it happens rare enough that it won’t affect the pace of the game significantly.

    Retroactive punishments don’t have the power to change the outcome of critical games. It would be pointless in a championship match. The decisions will also be riled with politics like what is happening in the Eduardo case.

  22. randomsausage says:

    Leaving aside all the rooney stuff for a moment and going back to the video replay thing: many of you seem to be arguing that having video replays would somehow make the game “fairer”. What a bunch of crap….I don’t want my game to be “fair” — keep that for tiddlywinks. I want it to be full of uncertainty, where the superior team can be knocking on the door for 90 mins….then my lads (probably Scotland or Dundee United) break up field and get a dubious penalty awarded. We slot it in and hold on for the win.

    That’s football.

  23. karshy says:

    Rooney had the penalty…..if almunia hadnt come so close to his feet he would have been able to control the ball….it was the keepers mistake and he had to pay for it….and isnt penalty awarded for intent to tackle illegally also……eduardo dived ….million times worse than when rooney leaned to get some contact……the debate shouldnt be whether rooney was the penalty…i thought people would be all over fletch taking the little man arshavin out….look on 23s face was worth millions….

    i am a United Supporter and i hate the gunners except arshavin who i think is awesome after the euro 2008 performance…..and i was proven right

  24. Sandino says:

    Only a true idiot would say that soccer doesn’t need replay. It takes all of 15 seconds to determine whether or not a PK is legit. Why the English fan can’t understand this is beyond me. That being said, in a few years they’ll have it and be wondering “Wow, what took us so long to adopt replay?”

    Morons.

    • JR says:

      I see only one moron — go take a look in the mirror and I bet you’ll be able to see him too!!

      Report back with your findings, OK?

  25. Huh says:

    Sandino

    In general only supporters of certain teams do not want replays to be used. No prizes for guessing which one these are! (a clue is the ones that get the same controversial off side goals for/against given/or not, ball didn’t cross line, doggy pen for or not given against year after year since the Premiership began these do Not ‘equal themselves out’ by the way that’s just another saying that’s bollocks).

  26. NSBG says:

    IT’S AN ESTABLISHED SYSTEM! WHATEVER THE REF SAYS IT’S WHAT COUNTS! ALL THE TALKS AFTER THAT WON’T CHANGE A THING AND IT’S THE PRESS AND THE EPL WHO GETS ADVERTISEMENT FOR BEING THE MOST WATCHED, THE MOST TALKED ETC ETC!!!!! THE TEAMS KNOW THAT AND THEY WILL USE IT TO WIN! APART THOSE WHO WANT TO OVERTHROW IT – BUT HOW MANY ARE THERE APART FROM WENGER! NOT MANY!!!
    AS LONG AS IT STAYS LIKE THAT IT WILL BE DIFFICULT TO WIN THE LEAGUE CLEANLY LIKE ARSENAL IN 2004!

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