For my study I am conducting an investigation into the deviance in sport, particularly looking at the much-publicised increase ‘diving’ in professional league football.
In my investigation I will be focusing on:
1. What is deviance in sport and simulation?
2. Is simulation ruining football?
3. Why has there been such an increase in ‘diving’ in football?
4. How the officials at FIFA, UEFA and FA are trying to reduce the amount of simulation in football.
5. Performance enhancing drugs and recent incidents involving the illegal substance nandrolone.
I will obtain the data and information for my investigation from the following sources:
1. Internet – has a wealth of sports-related information available through a generalised search or via accessing information from sport-specific sites. The Internet will be my main source of information, where I will be able to obtain interviews with the head officials at FIFA and top professional managers and referees on their views of simulation.
2. Newspapers – are able to provide useful quotes, information and analysis about current issues of deviance. Again I will be able to obtain views and interviews of important managers, players and officials
3. Television and radio – I can see diving and simulation on televised games and I can hear what commentators have to say about simulation.
4. Letter & interview – I will write a letter and get an interview with a representative at Coventry City Football Club asking them a few questions about deviance and simulation.
5. Textbooks – I can gather generalised information about deviance in sport from numerous textbooks.
Review of literature
For my project I am focusing on the deviance in sport, particularly looking at the much-publicised increase ‘diving/simulation’ in professional league football and also the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs.
My information was gathered from the Internet, textbooks, from television – seeing deviance firsthand in matches and also listening to managers, commentators and other officials talking about deviance and finally from the radio where I heard discussions and interviews which were related to deviance.
Meeting objective 1. What is deviance and “simulation” in sport? “Deviance in society is where an individual or group breaks away from the expected norms of the society, drifts away from the structural and functional rules. An example is a criminal who disobeys the rules of society.” Modified and taken from Sport and PE (2000), Crawford.
Sport also has its rules, written and ‘unwritten’. These ‘unwritten’ rules can be referred to as the ‘spirit of the game’, these rules are values and ethics which we expect all
Sports-performers to follow. Deviance occurs when participants break these rules, this is known as cheating. There are huge varieties of different forms of deviance – drug taking,
Diving is more formally known by the Football Association and The Official Laws of the Game as “simulation.” Referees these days are told that ‘any simulation action anywhere on the field which is intended to deceive the referee, must be sanctioned as unsporting behavior’ which I have obtained from the Referees’ chart and players guide to the laws of Association football (1998). In other words if a player ‘dives’ or tries to deceive the referee that player must be cautioned.
But what is simulation? And what are the different types of simulation in football?
1. The most obvious is the ‘dive’ a player comes under little or no contact from his opponent and he falls to the ground appealing for a penalty or free kick. Trying to deceive the referee.
2. Another form of simulation is the over-exaggeration of the result of a tackle from his opponent.
On 27th November 2001, Peirlugi Collina the world best and most respected referee state in an interview “Simulation is the worst thing in football. It’s a cancer in football.” I obtained this interview from the BBC web-site from the Internet, to comply with Objective 2. Is simulation ruining football?
Martin Rogers from The Mirror, has suggested that the recent increase in deviance in sport is due mainly to the rewards, mainly financial in today’s sport. The rewards at the top level of a majority of sport are huge and due especially to the increase of media coverage and commercialization; some players feel the fear of failure too great, and the need to win at all cost, which is why they cheat. Meeting with objective 3. Why has there been such an increase in ‘diving’ in football?
Diving and deviance is an obvious and major problem in football and all involved in football agree that something needs to be done, this is echoed by the president of FIFA Sepp Blatter. On September 26th 2001 he gave an interview obtained from a leading sports website Sportal; he states in the interview that “in the upcoming World Cup that player who dive or cheat in any form can expect to receive red cards.” Blatter believes that video panels are the best way to stop players cheating, he believes that “if players know that the camera’s are watch them, they will behave better and less likely to dive. This is gonna be the major talking point of the World Cup but I am sure that the players, managers, officials and fans would all love to see diving abolished from football. To meet objective 4, How the officials at FIFA, UEFA and FA are trying to reduce the amount of simulation in football?
Meeting with objective 5, Recent incidents involving the illegal substance nandrolone?
“I cannot believe what’s happened and feel sick at the suggestion I would take drugs.” The former Manchester United player Jaap Stam said in a recent interview, obtained from The Mirror newspaper on 24th January 2002.
“I do not know why the test should come out positive and I am in a state of shock. One thing I can say without hesitation or doubt is I have never knowingly taken nandrolone or any other illegal substance. I am not – and have never been – an cheat!”
Discussion and conclusion
But are professional footballers cheating?
A leading member of the Referees’ Association and former top referee made the statement that footballers ‘cheated’. He was made by the F.A to apologise and withdraw his statement.
One of the most frequent ways of cheating is ‘diving’. The Official Laws of the Game refer to it as ‘simulating’. Referees are told that ‘any simulating action anywhere on the field, which is intended to deceive the referee, must be sanctioned as unsporting behaviour’ which I have obtained from the Referees’ laws of Association football. In other words the if a player ‘dives’ or tries to deceive the referee that player must be cautioned.
Today diving or simulation has become more widespread and in most cases more sinister and deviance. It’s also often a very difficult decision for a referee to make. A referee has to be 100% certain before deciding that a player has ‘dived’ when he has been tackled by his opponent.
A referee has to be convinced that no physical contact of any kind has been made before accusing a player of diving. Unless the referee is perfectly placed, it is not always easy to be sure, so some seemingly blatant dives do go often go unpunished or a referee may also give a wrong decision of a free kick or penalty when a has blatantly dived. Jimmy Hill football pundit believes “‘diving’ is becoming an “art-form” that players are going into the penalty area with the intention to cheat, to entice the defender into making a mis-timed challenge resulting in a penalty.” Simulation was the topic on his television program ‘Hold The Back Page.’
They also discussed that the influx of foreign players to the English game is influencing the younger generation. I had a telephone interview with a representative from Coventry City and discussed the clubs views on deviance. (Letter in Appendix 1 and the questions that were asked.) From the interview I learnt that Coventry has a strict policy on diving, any player cautioned for diving will be disciplined, usually with a fine. This even occurs at junior level. Coventry is definitely on the side of the FIFA to rid football of diving and favours video replay after a game and the disciplining of a player if he has been diving. All Coventry players at every level have a list of legal substances that they are allowed to take and those known illegal ones. So there is no excuse for usage of any illegal banned substance.
Another form of simulation is the over-exaggeration of the result of any tackle. The Football Associations’ rules states that:
‘Players who clearly simulate injury in order to deceive the referee should also be dealt with under this law’.
This refers to those players who fake serious injury after a tackle. An example that simulation has become more sinister, as these players they are deliberately trying to get the referee to take disciplinary action against the opposition. Over the last few years there have been 100’s of examples of players being sent off because of the over-exaggeration of a tackle from his opponent.
It shows that even top referees at the highest level can be deceived, and that cheating and the cheaters can sometimes prosper. And that is why these footballers continue to ‘dive’ because they are getting away with it and are getting distinct advantages for it, for example getting a player sent off or getting a free kick or penalty.
Athletes are encouraged to behave in ways that wouldn’t be allowed in other areas of life. This can pose problems for sport. ‘On the field’ deviance “includes violations against the norm, that can occur while preparing or participating in sporting events” (Coakely 1993).
Why deviance in sport takes place?? “Deviance can be caused by media coverage or commercialism, or the pressure to win.” From Sport and PE Crawford (2000).
Over the last few years’ deviance has increased, and the commercialism and money in sport has also spiraled. The rewards of winning are massive in sport, a famous American saying “winning is not the most important thing, it’s the only thing!” This is becoming more and more evident and true in sport these days, it is about winning at all costs. Pressures to succeeded come from all different sources, for the players will have pressure from managers, whose job could be at stake depending on their performance, sponsors – will obviously want the players they are sponsoring to play well, pressure from oneself – the need to be a success.
The finance of a professional clubs (e.g football clubs) are very important, with the players wages increasing every season it is important the clubs maintain their set targets for the season. Whether it being survival in the premier league or whether they can qualify for the champion’s league for example. So if in the last minute of the last game of the season and your club needs to win to stay in the premier league would you mind your player diving in the penalty area when he comes under contact against his opponent?
On 27th November 2001, Peirlugi Collina the worlds best referee and most respected state in an interview ‘Simulation is one of the worst things in football. Its a cancer in football.’
Pierlugi went on to talk about how difficult it is for a referee to always make the right descions “a good referee needs to find the balance between application of the rules and common sense.” So that referees are not continuously deceived by simulation by players.
Aresne Wenger, the manager of Arsenal football club has strong views on diving, he was furious after Arsenal’s game against Greek champions Panathinakos in their Champions League match on the 26th September 2001. “Players were going down pretending to be seriously hurt and have serious injuries and they would then sprint back onto the pitch from the touchline.
Diving and deviance is an obvious and major problem in football and all involved in football agree that something needs to be done, this is echoed by the president on FIFA Sepp Blatter. On September 26th he gave an interview stating that in the World Cup players who dive or cheat in any form can receive red cards. And Blatter believes it can be done, before World Cup 94 in America FIFA’s main aim was to get rid of tackling from behind and that was a successful campaign; this year FIFA want to get ride of cheating from the game. Blatter believes that video panels are the best way to stop players cheating, he believes that “if player know that the camera’s are watching them, they will behave better and be less likely to dive.”
Prior to the world cup, diving was major talking point, players, managers, officials and fans would all love to see diving abolished from football. Their campaign to rid of diving was relatively successful, it turned out diving wasn’t a major problem. The main incident occurred in the early stages of the tournament and officials were quick to take action. Rivaldo of Brazil went down holding his heading and rolled around on the floor after Turkey’s Alpay kicked a ball at Rivaldo’s LEG. The referee then sent off Alpay due only to Rivaldo’s extreme reaction! FIFA officials acted quickly after watching video replays and fined Rivaldo for his actions and threaten to ban him for 3 matches. This set an immediate example that FIFA were keen to punish those who cheat and there was no other major diving incidents for the rest of the tournament.
Pierlugi Collina is in favour of this new means of stopping diving he stated that “Before Euro 2000 we discussed the possibility of using video evidence in cases of diving, so the disciplinary committee could take the decision to suspend the player who did it.” “Personally, I’m in favour of that”.
Drug taking is the ultimate in gamesmanship – taking a product to increase your performance and increase your chances of winning. Drug abuse has been a massive area of deviance in sport over the last few years and one of most controversial. Many athletes have tested positive to drug tests but claim that all they took was a simple cough mixture or other product that brought about the inaccuracy’s in the testing.
Over the last 2 season some of the best and most respected footballers in the world have tested positive to the banned substance nandrolone. Players such Edgar Davids, Frank de Boer, Jaap Stam, Pep Guardolia and many more have all tested positive to the banned steroid nandrolone. These players got bans averaging 5months and fines from around ï¿½30-50 000. All the players have protested their innocence and denied ever taking any banned substances. All these players accused are very respected footballers around the world.
In July, UEFA admitted it was likely that Frank de Boer’s positive test had been cause by contaminated food supplements.
“I cannot believe what’s happened and feel sick at the suggestion I would take drugs.” The former Manchester United player Jaap Stam said in a recent interview with The Mirror newspaper
“I do not know why the test should come out positive and I am in a state of shock. One thing I can say without hesitation or doubt is I have never knowingly taken nandrolone or any other illegal substance. I am not – and have never been – a cheat and would never do anything like this to jeopardize the happiness of my family or the future of my career. It is ridiculous to suggest that I would whatever the results says.”
The huge rewards of winning have meant that the temptation to take drugs too great for many athletes to bear. For example Ben Johnson felt the risk was worth while – even though he was stripped of his gold medal from the 1988 Olympics and banned from competition for many years, he continued to make money from his fame.
In the past months British skier Alain Baxter has had his bronze medal stripped from him and he could face a lifetime ban from the sport. For testing positive on a drugs test.
His explanation was the he had used a Vicks Vapor inhaler purchased in the US with realizing that, unlike the UK version, it contained a mild version of methamphetamine; which in its stronger form, can give the user a feeling of invincibility, but given that the potential side-effects include hallucination, palpitation and blackouts, it is the last drug a skier would take. Baxter is currently still fighting the decision, Baxter is a regular user of Vicks inhalers in the UK and he has been assured it was listed as a safe product in the UK; he says it didn’t occur to him that the ingredients would differ in the US.
I encountered a few difficulties in my project, the first was that I did not receive any replies to the letters that I wrote to Coventry City football club. I wrote them letters asking whether they could reply to some questions I had prepared on deviance. So instead I called Coventry City and asked to speak to a representative, which wasn’t as useful as a reply to the letter.
Also all my textbooks that I used were very generalized none of them were specifically designed to concentrate on deviance in sport.
If I was to extend my project and had a higher allowance of words I would try and cover the full topic of deviance, deviance has a massive breadth of resources; too big for me to cover in this project; which is why I focused more on simulation in football and drugs.
If I were to improve my project I would actually go personally to Coventry City football club to try and get an interview with someone at the club, so that they could answer my questions. Try and get interview with different sources and see how deviance affects each, for example for referees, players, managers, chairmen etc. Also I would try and find books designed specifically for deviance, so I could get more information about the topic.
Galligan F.et al (2000) Advanced PE for Edexcel, Heinemann Educational
Davis, B. et al (2000) Physical Education and study of sport, Mosby
Crawford, (2000) PE and Sport.
Honeybourne, J et al (1996) Advanced PE & sport