Modern soccer is a joke. “Jogo bonito?”—not anymore. Soccer is marred, among other things, by the beguiling act of—you already know it—diving. Take the 2021 Euro—almost every game here has been decided by a player diving and getting an undeserved call. The most striking example occurred today (i.e., July 07, 2021) in the Semifinal, when a blatant dive in the penalty area by an English player (i.e, Stirling) led to England’s undeserved win over Denmark. Diving affecting major games is not a recent phenomenon—it has been ongoing for years now. Take, for example, the “No Era Penal” incident back in 2014, wherein the infamous dive by the Dutch player Arjen Robben led to Mexico’s undeserved exit in the Round of 16. Hell, back in 2011, researchers published a paper (hereinafter named “Gwendolyn”; see link below) which studied diving in soccer. The paper found the simple fact that players dive when the benefits outweigh the costs of doing so. See Gwendolyn. Keeping this in mind, Gwendolyn suggested that increasing the ability of referees to detect dives and increase the punishments associated with diving may deter players from doing so. See id. But look where we are ten years later. If anything, the problem has only gotten worse—even with the introduction of VAR! Will there ever be an end to this quandary?
I resoundingly say, “No.” The tools are there, but the buffoonery continues. Clearly, the game has vitiated into a shell of whatever former glory it had, and there are no signs of improvement on the horizon whatsoever. Some people may blame the players, but I say to them to heed the old adage: “Don’t blame the player, blame the game.” Indeed, soccer—in its current, professional state at least—actively encourages diving, and I will not judge a player for maximizing his chances to win when his livelihood is on the line. Something must change, but will it? We all know it won’t. I am not here to propose solutions or even suggest that they are any. I am only here to point out that soccer is terminally ill—already dead, I should say—and it’s time to abandon ship. Watch a different sport, pick up a hobby, or actually play soccer in real life—anything beats this facade.
<(Paper link: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0026017)