Date: 16th April 2014 at 9:39am
Written by:

Football is stuffed full of hypocrisy at times. Players are rightly and routinely criticised for diving but at the same time criticised for not going down when it might convince the referee to award a penalty. The latter seems to be the opinion of post match pundits following the game against West Ham last night.

Arteta didn’t do Sagna any favours as he played a ball across the penalty area and Jarvis was quick to try to intercept. The Hammers winger got his toe to it first taking it away from the Arsenal full back. His path took him through Sagna’s leg but whatever contact there was had been initiated by Jarvis as much as it was by Sagna. Remembering that for it to be a foul it would have to be deemed careless, reckless or using excessive force did Sagna foul Jarvis or Jarvis foul Sagna? Are such things decided only on who got to the ball first or is some contact inevitable in such situations?

It all took place in the full and clear sight of the referee and while I’ve seen ’em given and all that I doubt it would necessarily have been called as a foul anywhere else on the pitch. But I can accept that it is entirely subjective and sometimes the decision will go for or against you on either side.

However, there wasn’t enough contact to bring anyone down so the only way Jarvis could have gone to ground was to have thrown himself there – to have exaggerated any contact – or in other words taken a dive. Quite frankly it is difficult to see how, had Jarvis done so, it would have looked like anything other than a dive. Yet that is what pundits such as Neville and Merson and others were insisting he should have done – to have simulated the extent of any contact with the intention of deceiving the referee into thinking there was more than would have brought a player down.

I fully accept that I’m seeing the foul itself through the jaundiced eyes of a partisan supporter but the point is that the hypocrisy of football pundits can be staggering at times. In future, when any involved criticise a player for diving, they should be booked for simulating pious indignation.

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