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Question Number: 29646

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/31/2015

RE: Varsity High School

Rick of Portage, MI United States asks...

This is my first year doing Boys High School and early in the season and the number of players taking dives and getting up yelling for calls is high. I've heard some refs say issue them a card for such blatant diving. I don't see anything that says this is a cardable offense. What is your advice for players taking dives?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Rick
Blatant diving is a form of cheating and there is no place for it in the game. The best way to stop it is to caution the offender.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Rick ,
integrity is no different in the honour of ones own character so in cautioning a player for diving you are telling everyone he is a cheater!
If you are SURE the player is diving, contriving to get a foul or his opponent carded for a non event that he himself has perpetuated to draw a free kick or PK then you stop play award an indfk to the opposition from where this dive occurs and caution him for USB by showing him a yellow card . If it is his second yellow card you show the red card and send him off.

The reality of deciphering acting from a serious knock issue is it can take very little to dump a player. I can tap you on the inside on your ankle or catch you with your inside foot up and knock you down with ease by a well timed shoulder nudge. Both send opponents sprawling but might not look like a foul occurred. Plus there will be kicks and shoves and trips that send a player to ground but he or she will add a little theatrics to be sure it gets noticed. THESE fouls suck, because often they are something that a referee would call but we hate the theatrics and COULD book the receiving player for exaggeration particularly when faking injury. It is because we are not doctors it is difficult to tell how much pain a player could be in but so many videos show how a player will take a finger touch on the face as a Mike Tyson knock out punch as the flop on the ground or how on no contact his feet suddenly disappear from under him. I hope you can be in good position and the right angle of view to see these incidents clearly . Or your ARs are good at spotting stuff in behind the play and of invaluable help to spot these cheaters.
! My colleagues wise words that dissent, be it screaming for or against must be gauged carefully and dealt with appropriately. Players will be fouled, you will miss it, but that is football . That said good luck and know a referee with integrity sees what he sees , whether or not another sees it different

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Several issues here. Fortunately, there is no difference in the laws of the game and high school NFHS rules.

1. Attacker feels slight contact and goes to ground. A no-call for the trifling or doubtful offense is usually correct.

2. Some attackers then complaint about the no-call. Usually, the complaint can be ignored. When the complaint(s) become personal, provocative, or public, the referee should warn or caution the attacker for DISSENT as appropriate.

3. Some attackers try to stay up despite a deliberate foul, and the foul should be called when they cannot. Defenders may complain that the attacker has taken a dive. Again, the referee can ignore unless the complaint(s) become personal, provocative, or public, the referee should warn or caution the defender for DISSENT as appropriate.

Note: many high school age players have difficulty dealing with their emotions. They are playing for their school and in front of their friends. When dissent isn't dealt with by the referee, it can increase game management issues and risks of retaliation. So, IMO, DISSENT is best cautioned after no more than one warning. High school (NFHS) rules require a player to be substituted after a caution, so once players see the consequences of dissent, the rest usually stop.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Rick,

While I'm not too familiar with NFHS rules, the LOTG state that that a player must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour if he 'attempts to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled (simulation)'. This falls under Unsporting Behaviour.
Simulation - diving - is a plague on the game. It turns a lot of people away from the game and makes the overall sport look bad. It's also blatant cheating, thus is taken quite seriously.
Don't be afraid to caution players for diving. Without that, they have no reason to stop cheating. And teenage years are definitely old enough to know that cheating is wrong, so I have no problems with cautioning players at this age. A warning is not required; the offence completely crosses the line.
Taking a clear dive without contact is one thing, deliberately 'going down easily' is another. While that could still be considered diving, even from minimal contact, you really want to be 100% certain that the player has actually dived rather than just been caught off guard by minor contact.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


My advice is to caution them as this is considered simulating a foul which is a caution. Please see rule 12-8-1f9 on page 57 in the NFHS rules book.

I hope you have a very successful and long high school career.

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