Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 26961

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 10/29/2012

RE: rec Adult

alex of richmond hill, ontario canada asks...

I thought that diving is defined as going down without any 'contact' from an opponent. However, I saw many opinions that torres was rightly cautioned on diving in the manutd vs chelsea game because: 1. contact was minimal (i.e. he can continue playing but instead chose to throw himself on the ground), and 2. torres cannot get to the ball even though there is contact (i.e. he knew he lost the ball and decided to go down). Are these 2 reasons legitimate?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Alex
The Laws states that it is an offence when a player attempts to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled.
As we know there is contact in the game between players and not all contact is a foul.
In this situation Referee Clattenberg clearly felt that Torres pretended to be fouled and that the contact was minimal and not enough to have been a foul. The player also exaggerated his fall and held his leg as if the contact was significant causing injury. Added all together that was an attempt to deceive the referee into awarding an advantageous free kick and perhaps a caution for the defender. We have the benefit of slow motion, freeze frame, zoom lens and multiple viewing angles. The referee gets one go at it from his angle of view.
In the recent Ireland V Germany game the German forward Marco Reus went down easily on a challenge by John O'Shea inside the penalty area. There was contact by the Irish defender but the referee either did not see it or deemed that it was not enough to pull the player to the ground in the manner it happened. Reus was cautioned for simulation.
What has happened over the years is that when there was minimal contact referees simply waved away the call for a foul / penalty, even when the attempt was to deceive. I detect an effort by senior group referees to 'encourage' player to stand up / play on and not to be looking for fouls by taking a tougher approach on those that 'look for' the foul through the issue of a caution for simulation.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

A 'dive' can occur with or without contact. The offense is an exaggeration and/or an attempt at deception of the referee.

Read other questions answered by Referee Keith Contarino

View Referee Keith Contarino profile

Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

My colleagues are quite correct that the misconduct caution is for attempting to deceive the referee by simulating a foul or exaggerating the result of a foul. Basically this is a tactical move by a player to fool the referee, and try to gain an unfair advantage agains the opponent. It is properly identified as unsporting behavior, which is the technical name for the misconduct awarded in these situations.

These moves are a form of cheating, and FIFA and the International Board have admonished, cajoled and threatened referees into enforcing the sanctions against such behavior. It ruins the beautiful game.

Read other questions answered by Referee Michelle Maloney

View Referee Michelle Maloney profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 26961
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 26986

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The free opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members. While there is no charge for asking the questions, donation to maintain the site are welcomed! <>