Arsenal, cheating and a looming World Cup divefest

Denilson And Eduardo
Image: wonker

That’s it as far as Salut! Sunderland and Eduardo are concerned. He dived, won his penalty, got pilloried, had a question named after him at this site. But it is time to move on, pray – without great expectation – for a cheating-free World Cup and also remember that Arsenal fans were divided on the incident and what it said about the game …

All responses, even those confusing argument with abuse, will be posted but spam threat makes moderation unavoidable …

written, prize awarded. You might have hoped there’d be no more about diving. No such luck.

Salut! Sunderland
confidently predicts yet another divefest at the 2010 World Cup. We won’t even be arrogant enough to claim England and our honorary second team Paraguay – an exception to the “no second team” rule for this summer only – will rise at all times above the temptation to cheat, much as we hope they do.

Some dives will be seen as such, and punished. Many will be missed, with penalties and free kicks wrongly awarded as referees are hoodwinked by clever simulation, its well-to-do perpetrators frequently feeling not the least shame in their mastery of just another technique.

In match after match, though, the likelihood is also that uninjured players will roll around in fake agony, after some or no contact, while comrades surround the ref in attempts to get opponents booked, dismissed or carted off to jail.

My abiding memory of the final in Germany 2006 is not of Zidane’s idiocy in butting the oafish Marco Materazzi, but of the Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon (surely an o missing from the surname) sprinting half the length of the field to dictate the outcome to the referee.

Our Pretend Fair Play competition was based on what we called the Eduardo Question. It was intended more as gag than character assassination, but it is right to draw the line now, first reminding readers of what Arsenal visitors to this site made of the question and its title.

Bear in mind there was no anti-Arsenal sentiment on our part. At their best, which wasn’t often enough because the squad wasn’t strong enough, the Gunners played the sort of football we’d have loved to see win the Premier. And some of the debate followed our declaration of sympathy for Aaron Ramsey after his appalling injury against Stoke City.

What follows is an edited selection of the views of Gooners, as expressed either in direct answers in the Who Are You? series (to the question “would you be happy to take a vital win secured by cheating?”) , or in comments posted here after our coverage of the Ramsey injury.

Fatima al Shamsi

I’m going to preface my answer by saying that I think football is one of the most beautiful things ever. I absolutely love this game. Anything that makes the game ugly really irritates me. Diving and cheating and unnecessary aggression on the field really angers me because I feel like a player is overcompensating for a lack of skill. I play football myself so I understand that these things happen when you play but there’s a stark difference most times to shoving and pushing and a blatant tackle and dramatic acrobatic antics.
With that said, these things to happen in football and if we’re given a penalty then I’ll gladly take it because of the handful of times we didn’t get it when we deserved it.

Chris Borg , The Gunning Hawk site

I could spend hours discussing this. If that scenario takes place, I would be bitterly disappointed of course because we complain when Rooney dives and we complain when Gerrard dives. But, although the press would do it, I would not stop at that particular episode as you can’t put down to just that a full year of hard work.

Darren Wright, the Wrighty7 site

Take it all day! Eduardo’s already done it this season so one more won’t hurt!

Pat McLaughlin, from the Just Arsenal site

I think that a big mistake was made with the Eduardo scenario. It happens every week and you can’t punish everyone. We need to accept its just part of the game, and if you get one over on the ref then fair dos. But I am a great believer in the referee’s decision is final. Once the moment’s gone forget it.


Thanks for the Ramsey well wishes, I also acknowledge that Arsenal are no saints and that Gallas should have seen red at Bolton a few weeks prior to the Ramsey incident.


“But it is reasonable to point out that much of the sympathy Eduardo rightly received, after he was on the end of a career-threatening challenge, evaporated when he made his name synonymous with cheating.”
I’ve copied these 2 parts of your post so I can just mention something. I don’t think the world is out to get Arsenal, but in mentioning Eduardo, don’t you think that the media coverage against him was far and way excessive to the actual incident? Players dive / go over easily every week, and I have never seen anything like such an outpouring of coverage over a similar incident.


N’gog was never charged for bringing the game into disrepute, eduardo never got up demanding a penalty where as wayne rooney and steve gerrard can go over, eyeball the ref, demand the penalty, celebrate winning the penalty ,and this is all before they have even hit the deck, eduardo was discriminated against and picked on as the first ever diving cheat charged

Scotcheggs Rule

Eduardo dives once (with contact) and is branded a cheat, Gerard (4 times at the Emirates the other week) and Rooney dive every week yet this doesn’t get mentioned yet you castigate Eduardo for an exaggerated reaction?

Lunatic Asylum

If anyone was to be given the benefit of the doubt should of been eduardo, after all in a split second he must of seen a mad pole rushing out to him and maybe brought back a memory of his injurt and running at speed too , what if the keeper boruc a big lad he is .. went crashing into eddie , both running at speed! im not sayin he didnt look 4 it , who knows … all the slating of eduardo was out of order!

Fizzy again

The Eduardo ‘dive’ wasnt in a class of its own. Gerrard pulls off similar ones most weeks, and goes on to try to claim a penalty, something which Eduardo didnt actually do. Rooney does something similar quite regularly too, and likewise throws his hands in the air claiming it was a foul … Eduardo does it once, and once only, with no claiming for a penalty afterwards, and the media go into a feeding frenzy … By having something called ‘the Eduardo question’ you are simply reinforcing this falsehood in peoples minds.

A J F Gooner (an apparently French fan with whom Salut! also had entertaining exchanges in his own language or, in our case, close to it)

… xenophobic england made Eduardo the symbol of diving, but this is only inside england. But the country is so insular, that one can forgive you in constantly making yourselves utterly and ridiculuously blend when you chose to label eduardo a diver while you feel free not to mention that Rooney, Gerrad, Terry and all the shawcross of this world (tackling with no technique and no care) as a disgrace to the game?
THis is really sad. The judges said he’s not a diver but the xenophobic england can’t see the light!
Wake up, the world cup’s coming and you will be on the receiving end.

There, the balance is redressed, Eduardo is pardoned and we’d better think of something else to ask people when the Who Are You? series kicks off again in August. And in our new spirit of reconciliation, we wouldn’t dream of suggesting that Croatia’s exit from the qualifying stages means the number of divers heading for South Africa has fallen by one.

Colin Randall

* Picture of Eduardo, warming up with Denilson, courtesy of the Flickr pages of “Wonker”, who regrets that he has no close-ups because “he hardly ever scores, so never comes near me”.

22 thoughts on “Arsenal, cheating and a looming World Cup divefest”

  1. its obstruction and is a punishable foul and a In-direct free kick should be awarded! but its hard to spot them as your attention stays on the ball rather than the players in the box. John Terry and carvelho work this system to well. its up to the linesman to spot the fouls on a free kick. but that job is harder than the referee’s job

  2. Briggy – while I agree that the diving is, in a lot of cases very hard to spot, the shirt pulling is not. You wouldn’t need any video replays to spot 99% of shirt pulls – and in some cases, the state of the player’s shirt after a “hidden” one is evidence enough. I’d also be interested to hear your opinion as a ref on the blocking of players from freekicks and corners – when defenders face away from the ball and look only at the player they’re marking, usually with an arm either side of them. When does this become a foul? Surely as soon as they move with the player with no knowledge of where the ball is, it’s deliberate obstruction?

  3. I see Arsenal has just signed Chamakh on a free transfer from Bordeaux. I wonder if he’ll prove to be worth more to them than they paid. And how he’ll enjoy his visit to the SoL.

  4. I suppose the bottom line is that Arsenal fans – and all fans – are welcome here. It is a football site for Christ’s sake. Its allegiance is obvious and strong, but it is open to everyone and discusses topics of broad interest.
    Loads of Gooners have come here with thoughtful comments, including strong criticism of our views, and they are welcome too. The rest veer from hypersensitive to insulting, and their posts deserve to be kept here so everyone can see that M Wenger’s eloquence does not necessarily rub off on every single one of his club’s supporters, superior as they may feel to northerners.

  5. If there was a dictat from the authorities which decreed that shirt pulling was to be punished immediately with a red card and the offending players club fined heavily then it would soon stop. If half a dozen players are sent off in half a dozen games and the matches are abandoned then so be it. They would soon stop doing it.

    Everybody does it because it goes unpunished. The referees can see it, but they don’t know who to punish first or which way to give a free kich (or award a penalty.

    There are some complete shitheads in Britain and regrettably quite a few of them have appeared on this thread.

  6. Sorry but Owen dived to earn a penalty against the Argies ok it was the Argies but he still dived. no one condemn him for that all that mattered was Beckham scored the resulting penalty, as someone has previously stated diving is not a new thing with old school players who where british mastering the arts Denis Laws, Billy Bremner to name 2. the arguement is since Eduardo dived its almost like the media have said Eduardo started this disgusting habit! like in our Gooner fanzine we had the cover for that month as the invention of diving a mock up of the film the invention of lying

  7. In some ways it’s been beneficial that the incident came from a team with what appears to be such a large online following. Although I’ll take massive exception with calling this a “lame website”, but there you go – some people are sensitive.

    What you can say though is that it’s only the “Eduardo” question because it happened pre-season, while they were qualifying for the CL and it became such a large incident.

    I’d fully imagine had Sunderland vs. Manchester United been the first match of the season, and Phil Bardsley done exactly what he did in the fixture it would probably have been called the “Bardsley question”.

    There’s no need for everyone to be so overly sensitive about something which was just putting a title to a question, I guess in many ways the site is lucky that so many people seem to want to come and express their one-track and somewhat narrowminded views here and help the website along nicely.

    Controversy creates debate.

  8. sobs if we was to punish shirt pulling we would be looking at constant videos and taking retrospective action against 70% of the footballers leaving every team with bans. it aint going to happen. and how can you tell if a dive is a dive some players slip over and end up with a yellow card for there lack of a sin. ie van Bronckhurst vs Liverpool a few years back which led to him being wrongfully sent off for a 2nd yellow. also I think Patrick Berger, was also punished for slipping over.
    this is a grey area and as a level 7 referee myself I know how hard it is to tell if someone is diving. we have the benefit of multi camera’s and slo mo replays referee’s don’t and even the replays doesnt codemn many

  9. “typ[ical nothern monkeys.. put arsenal on your headlines .. and u get 100 times more hits to this lame website..”

    well thanks for hitting the website again. It was a perfectly justafiable question, as Salut didn’t make the Eduardo headline in the first place.

    It’s just like shirt-pulling. People say “it happens avery week, you can’t punish everybody” what a load of tosh. If yuo punished everybody, they’d stop doing it as much

  10. Leaving aside those who cannot make their points without mindless abuse, I repeat what has been said many times here before: Arsenal were my Big Five/Six team of choice for the title/I admire the way Wenger wants them to play/I sympathise(d) hugely, and here, with Aaron Ramsey (for which more Gooners praised than insulted me)/I oppose cheating by any player, any nationality, any team including my own/title of question was lighthearted banter and the Arsenal fans who took part in my Q&As entered fully into the spirit of it.
    The headline contained Arsenal because the posting is in large measure about Arsenal. Tomorrow there will be a piece about Cardiff and Blackpool. Maybe I ought to avoid mention for fear of attracting a few more hits than usual.
    And yes, I’d punish shirtpulling too. Not more than diving, but as much – and so easy to detect retrospectively that even Uefa might not struggle with its verdicts.

  11. You have to excuse my bad spelling on my comment earlier. but given I have positive feedback from it, I take it the points got across correctly.
    You know what is far worse than diving imo and thats shirt pulling which goes on a lot more than diving. as much as you want to remove these bad practices from the game it just aint going to happen.
    and as for it just being Johnny foriegner or Gerrard and Rooney 2 of the most consistent divers player for Villa and guess what there both English anyone want to guess there names.

  12. England’s Shame and How we Tried to Get Revenge.

    When Eduardo was chopped down by Taylor at B’ham it was one of the first cases of a gifted foreigner being seriously injured by an English clogger in the PL.
    The media protected Taylor and as an afterthought wished Eduardo well.
    Eduardo was less than receptive to Taylor’s attempts at apology.

    The sum total of which was that we English were ashamed of what had happened and someone needed to pay.

    The Eduardo penalty was too good to be true. Eduardo could be newly presented in a negative light thereby partially helping us forget the earlier B’ham incident. A Scottish club were the new ‘victims’ which suited the English even better as we English could do all the pointing and nobody would be pointing at us this time.

    So Eduardo got battered twice once by Taylor and once by the British media.

    Poor bloke then lost his form. Not really a surprise. He’s a yard slower physically (thanks to Taylor) and mentally (thanks to the British Media).

    The associated ironies:
    Celtic’s star man being sent off for diving in the SPL a few days later.
    Arsenal sadly have the worst diver in the EPL – step forward Mr. Eboue.
    Arsenal won the UEFA appeal and Eduardo was exonerated.

    All of which was reported on briefly and then forgotten about as quickly as possible by those of you who wanted the ‘Eduardo
    is actually the bad guy’ image to stick.

    Unless Eduardo somehow manages to get back to how he used to be, cunts like this website have done their job very well and helped destroy the bloke’s career.
    The English skill of blaming others for our own failings is one of the main reasons why this country is a shithole full of arseholes.

  13. Some of us are old enough to remember Francis Lee and Cloughy wasn’t averse to going over when he thought it might be advantageous to the cause.
    I would imagine Obadiah Shufflebottom of Oswaldtwistle Wanderers c. 1889 did something of the same.

  14. When Ronnie dives, he is clever. When Educado dives, he is a cheat. I am so sick of English media.

  15. typ[ical nothern monkeys.. put arsenal on your headlines .. and u get 100 times more hits to this lame website..

  16. I can think of at least 10 dives what where far worse than Eduardo’s ie Pedersen diving last year for Blackburn lucky the ref caught him, but the panel on MOTD thought it was hillarous, the next day on Goals on sunday I didnt show the incident so not to pset there guest for the day big fat sam,Every team has a diver although this shouldnt be used as a excuse. Arsenal won the flair play league for the last few seasons but still people see us as a dirty team??? maybe you need to re-address this and start looking closer to home like your own thug of a footballer Cana

  17. Start looking at players within your own country before you start questions players of my country. Poor article

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