London - Diving or “simulation” is becoming a growing problem and everyone involved in football has a responsibility to make it stop, Everton manager Roberto Martinez said on Friday.
Martinez's comments coincided with Fifa president Sepp Blatter slating players for what he described as “incredibly unfair and preposterous” simulation and feigning injury.
“It is our fault,” the 40-yerar-old Spaniard told reporters ahead of Everton's FA Cup third round tie with Queens Park Rangers at Goodison Park.
“It has been creeping in and has been happening for a couple of seasons now. It is down to all of us to try to eradicate that.”
The latest and most blatant example of the increasingly growing trend came at Southampton on New Year's Day when Chelsea's Brazilian midfielder Oscar dragged his leg into the onrushing goalkeeper then launched himself through the air as soon as he made contact. He was cautioned for the dive and criticised by his own manager Jose Mourinho for it afterwards.
Managers rarely criticise their own players, but even the Portuguese seemed embarrassed by Oscar's attempt to win a penalty, especially, as, if he had kept running past Saints keeper Kelvin Davis, he probably would have scored rather than getting his knees dirty.
Martinez said referees needed “sympathy” in difficult situations when they had to make instant, important calls.
“It is difficult to make big calls at the moment because you have certain players that more often than not, try to simulate and go to ground easily,” he said.
“That makes the referee's decision much harder. We all need to accept and understand that referees, if they are not 100 per cent, are not going to give the decisions.”
Martinez, who has been based in Britain since 1995, accused players today of trying to “buy decisions”.
He said: “Unfortunately, it has been happening for a couple of seasons now and, with a mixture of cultures in the last few seasons, we are going to be getting that side of the game.
“I don't think it is something we should allow to creep in. I prefer to see a referee be firm and wanting to be 100 per cent right before giving a big decision, but they have a hard job.”
In his column Blatter also said that players who feign injury to win penalties should be punished.
“I find this deeply irritating, especially when the (supposedly) half-dead player comes back to life as soon as they have left the pitch.
“The ball is in the referees' court,” he added in his weekly column in FIFA News. – Reuters