To dive or not to dive? (41)

  • 31 May 06, 04:43 PM

bridget_chandler.gifAfternoon all,
It’s been interesting observing the heated debate last night’s England game prompted – imagine if it had been an actual World Cup match rather than just a friendly..

Steven Gerrard’s “dive” and the subsequent reaction from BBC Match of the Day pundit Ian Wright sent several of our users straight to their computers where they fired off emails expressing their concerns.

We’ve covered the issue in a follow-up story and have included several messages posted to our messageboards at the bottom.

As far as the BBC’s coverage goes and Ian Wright’s comments, I thought you might be interested to read this response from last night’s Match of the Day editor, Paul Armstrong.

The BBC supports fair play, and in our commentaries and match analysis we often point out when players fall short of the highest standards. But Ian Wright's personal view as a member of our panel was simply that: a view from a former top professional, and it's clear that other players join him in taking this attitude to diving and similar behaviour. The fact that he said what he did doesn't in any way represent a BBC policy - but it would be wrong to bar former players from making observations of this kind. Our audience is perfectly capable of making up their own mind whether they agree or disagree.

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Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 05:00 PM on 31 May 2006,
  • Scott McDonald wrote:

What bothered me the most re the dive was the reaction of John Motson. He was more concerned regarding the way Lampard was put off by the Goalkeeper. I ask you. Nevermind the fact that the England player cheated too win the penalty.

Anyway, justice was done when the penalty was missed.

  • 2.
  • At 06:25 PM on 31 May 2006,
  • Manjit wrote:

I am amazed by the Match of the Day editor's comment's it's rather like a New Labour or Tory spin-doctor defending the indefensible.

Ian Wright performances on the BBC have constantly being inept time and time again. The fact that the BBC fails is beyond the realms of reality. I honestly dread to think what the repugnant Wright will come out with at the World Cup should England exit in controversial circumstances. Will he throw the dummy out of his pram? The fact that the BBC uses our licence fee to pay this man a ridiculous fee to make foolish statements like he did last night is beyond belief.

Shame on you BBC! I hope the entire MOTD team can look themselves in the mirror!

  • 3.
  • At 08:01 PM on 31 May 2006,
  • Tom Baird wrote:

It was only a friendly, it was a rash tackle, he had every right to go down and it won us a penalty. It wasn't a ridiculous dive when the defender has done nothing wrong! The defender had attempted an awful tackle and won't be doing it again. We should be thankful there was no contact or we would be missing another great player!

  • 4.
  • At 08:43 PM on 31 May 2006,
  • Thurlac wrote:

The BBC supports fair play.

The BBC will not censure a presenter who clearly advocates cheating.

Does not compute.
Does not compute.
Does not compute.

  • 5.
  • At 09:04 PM on 31 May 2006,
  • Aaron wrote:

I have to say, the defence above is nonsense. The BBC - irresponsibly - gave Wright a platform, which gives his views authority. He's proven himself to be unworthy of that platform, so do the decent thing and make an example of him.
Ron Atkinson got the boot from ITV for saying wrong, irresponsible things, but he at least thought he was off camera. Every single child playing football in Britain will now have Wright's opinion flash through their mind when they're playing the game - and that's unforgivable.

  • 6.
  • At 10:01 PM on 31 May 2006,
  • nerdboy wrote:

I must admit to not seeing the incident in question with Mr. Wright, however from quotes I have read and past viewings of this 'pundit' if he did indeed say what I believe did this is hardly a suprise. He adds nothing in the way of analysis to a game - unless being blantantly biased and incoherrent counts. Mark Lawrenson and Alan Shearer are hardly any better though, their rubbish jokes and Mr. Shearer's monotone musings aren't up to much. Oh, and please get rid of Motson, past his prime is a nice way of putting it I think.

I thought Wright's comments were a disgrace. To condone cheating just because the player was English just goes to show how juvenile he is: it's akin to a schoolchild pointing a finger and saying "yeah but he did it first!"

What kind of example does he set to young players who are told not to dive by their coaches? Is it okay to spit if your opposition does it first? To kick?

Diving is one of the most dispicable parts of modern football and makes a complete embarrassment of a beautiful game.

  • 8.
  • At 12:16 AM on 01 Jun 2006,
  • George Smibert wrote:

The morality of diving aside, if Gerrard had not taken "evasive action" we would be faced with an even worse injury problem. Admittedly, you can argue the penalty wasn't deserved, but the counter argument that the two footed challenge with the force to injure such a key player deserved to concede a penalty is just as strong.

  • 9.
  • At 04:26 AM on 01 Jun 2006,
  • Brian Selway wrote:

I have been a soccer referee and player all my life . . . I am now 72, and really saddened to see what this great game has deteriorated to. Players these days will do just about anything to win . . . and to the most part referees are working the games with their hands tied . . . if they blew the whistle for every infringement (as written in the book of rules) the game would be stopped every three minutes. There is little honour left in the game . . . I am sad to say that it's all about the money that comes with winning "at any cost".

  • 10.
  • At 08:37 AM on 01 Jun 2006,
  • Bryan wrote:

Dive or no dive I am sure that the rules state that a direct free kick, and hence a penalty if in the penalty box, is awarded if the player kicks or attempts to kick the opponent, trips or attempts to trip etc.

A two footed lunge at a player in the penalty area is a penalty, contact or no contact! So, whether Gerrard fell over or not, the penalty should be given.

The Hungarian's challenge was full of intent and malice, and the right decision was given. Sadly, had Gerrard stayed on his feer I doubt the ref would have awarded the penalty the attempted challenge deserved.

  • 11.
  • At 09:23 AM on 01 Jun 2006,
  • Philip wrote:

Bryan is spot on about the penalty, as are most of the comments about Ian Wright, who is totally unsuitable. When will the BBC realise that Wright is a total turn-off for the football fans?
Lee Dixon and Gavin Peacock are examples of where the BBC have got it right. Such a shame they deliberately lost Graham LeSaux!

  • 12.
  • At 09:32 AM on 01 Jun 2006,
  • JIM wrote:

Sorry but this dive only rated 7 out of 10.
For more lessons on a perfect 10 check Maloney and Petrov of Celtic.
Mind you Pires comes close to a 10 normally.

  • 13.
  • At 01:07 PM on 01 Jun 2006,
  • Thurlac wrote:

So, given the discontent with the brush off response from the MOTD editor, is there any chance of getting Paul Armstrong to come back and give a better and fuller explanation as to how the BBC reconciles its support for fair play and its tolerance of Mr Wright's comments?

Or are we meant to just shut up and be be satisfied that the BBC feels no unease about condoning deceit by inaction?

  • 14.
  • At 02:36 PM on 01 Jun 2006,
  • Homo Iridens wrote:

MoTD needs to change - it's too clubby, too simplistic, and too partisan. It really is time for the BBC to update this format to something more interactive, that links up more with, for example, 606.

Three things could change right away:

1. The pundits.
The Hansen/Lawrenson partnership is just about alright, but really they're just the new Saint and Greavsie. As for Lee Dixon, Peter Schmeichel, Alan Shearer, and Ian Wright, please stop having them on - we never learn anything beyond the basic platitudes. If Mourinho can come into the game without ever having been a top-line player, why resort to dull ex-players? (At least we don't have to put up with Ally an Andy)

2. The host.
Gary is an entertainment celeb, and adds no depth to the coverage whatsoever. Manish would be a vast improvement, and any genuine journalist would add something new.

3. Garth Crooks.
A criminal waste of questions, week in, week out. Appalling, and must be stopped. And I say that as a Spurs fan.

And the format - how about something that actually included something about technique, or tactics, or playing conditions, or something that actually informs the audience rather than lame jokes or unsubstantiated opinion.

Any more of this and I am moving to YouTube.

  • 15.
  • At 03:06 PM on 01 Jun 2006,
  • Derek Hutcheson wrote:

I think the views of Ian Wright were shocking. This was watched by kids all over the country. If he is on the panel for any of the world cup games I shall not tune in to any BBC Sport in the future and shall recommend to all of my friends and colleagues that they do the same also. It's bad enough that we have to put up with english bias all the time but as long as it's sporting it's ok. Ian Wright is a buffoon and I will cease paying my licensce fee if any more is sent his way!

  • 16.
  • At 03:08 PM on 01 Jun 2006,
  • Peter wrote:

In my opinion it's all relative. Gerrard did cheat but today it is part and parcel of the game. If it goes for you all well and good. If it goes against you you can't really crow about it can you. As a proud Welshman who saw Joe Jordan of Scotland cheat us out of a place in the World Cup I felt bitterly cheated then but if Ryan Giggs took a dive to get us to the World Cup I'd shake his hand and pat him on the back.

  • 17.
  • At 03:34 PM on 01 Jun 2006,
  • Denver Trouton wrote:

That is really a shocking excuse from the editor. Something that particularly annoyed me was that while Wright (who I think most of us agree is dire in any case) actually encouraged diving not one member of the team disagreed with him at the time.

In short BBC pundits encouraging cheating should be unacceptable.

  • 18.
  • At 04:36 PM on 01 Jun 2006,
  • Manjit wrote:

One has to wonder why BBC executives actually employed Ian Wright in the first place was it one the early Wrightisms that caught their eye. When Tony Adams admitted a drink problem, Ian Wright said: ‘It took a lot of bottle for Tony to own up to being alcoholic.’

Did the Director of BBC Sport; Roger Mosey feel a sense of pride when England lost to Northern Ireland and Ian Wright proceeded to give his incredible sulk performance to Britain. After taking the licence-payers’ cash to offer his so-called opinions, he threw his dummy out of the pram and declared: ‘I don’t want to talk about it’ after England had lost.

Can Roger Mosey and Paul Armstrong inform us exactly what Ian Wright contributed to Tuesday evening’s match in terms of his comments? James Lawton in today’s Independent in my view sum’s it up: “The witless Ian Wright draws licence payers' money to join in. He applauds Gerrard's dive against the Hungarians and makes barely decipherable contributions to the Carragher discussion.”

The vast majority of people I believe have simply had enough of Ian Wright inarticulate views of football and abuse of the English language. To condone diving as he did on Tuesday evening and then insult Owen Hargreaves was simply unacceptable. I really do think that at the very least the Match of the Day editor should come and justify the continued presence of Ian Wright on the BBC payroll. It is after all us the British public who are funding this through the licence fee and general taxation.

  • 19.
  • At 05:10 PM on 01 Jun 2006,
  • sunil wrote:

what is everybody getting so worked up about, those views expressed by Ian Wright are his personal opinions. We all have opinions on what actually happened but there's no need to slate him over his comments.

  • 20.
  • At 06:42 PM on 01 Jun 2006,
  • Simon wrote:

No-one would dare acuse Terry Butcher of being unpatriotic, but on 5 Live he was quite prepared to describe what he saw - a blatant dive. However in the cosy one-eyed world of the BBCTV pundits' box no-one could quite bring themselves to use the "D word."

This isn't the first time such a dichotomy has arisen: remember when the 5 Live comentators heard and condemned the racist chanting at an England away match that somehow Motson and co were unable to hear? I suspect Jonathan Pearce would have performed better in both instances, incidentally.

BBCTV's football coverage certainly needs a shake-up, but in the light of the comments of the MOTD editor we seem unlikely to get one.

  • 21.
  • At 06:43 PM on 01 Jun 2006,
  • B wrote:

If you say it's ok for England players to dive, then you can't complain if it happens to you. And you will complain.

I do think it was wrong of him to dive, if ther players saw that and in a World Cup he was blocked and he fell in the area, would we get a penalty then?

I am no Chelsea fan, but Drogba got stick for doing the same thing, just becuase its an Englishman doesnt make it right.

  • 23.
  • At 10:28 PM on 01 Jun 2006,
  • Simon wrote:

What disappoints me with regards to BBC selecting Ian Wright as pundit is that he clearly has some sort of agenda.

Wrighty has never liked Sven, presumably because he's foreign and Wrighty would rather "see England in the wilderness with an English manager rather than them winning with a foreign manager", and now his precious little son has been left out of the squad he has even more bile.

While it should be pointed out to Ian that the advice he gave to his son that he should play for a bigger club than Man City was probably the reason Shaun hasn't been selected, it's still an absolutely pathetic reason to snipe at the England manager. If you do such a thing, you're sniping at the England squad as an extension.

It wasn't just the diving comments, it was the immature suggestion that Owen Hargreaves "must know something about Sven's family" for him to be in the squad, and the constant reference to what "they" will do to us in the World Cup. I assume "they" refers to dirty Johnny Foreigner.

The BBC should be above all this bloke-in-the-pub type punditry. If I want to read such nonsense I'll buy the Sun. It's time you got your act together and sack Ian Wright, whose bitter vendetta against Sven is doing no good for the England cause. I doubt any other national side gets this kind of treatment.

  • 24.
  • At 11:18 PM on 01 Jun 2006,
  • Dan Smith wrote:

Ian Wright is perfectly within his rights to say that diving is part of the game.

But I want a promise that, if during the world cup, a dive by an opposing player leads to England being knocked out, that he won't moan about diving. And if he does, I want the other members of the panel to be man enough to pull him up on his hypocrisy.

  • 25.
  • At 01:54 AM on 02 Jun 2006,
  • Peter Cooper wrote:

The point has been well made. An attempt to commit a foul is a foul. In Gerrard's case the 'dive' is an attempt to a) evade a tackle that would have taken one more of our players out of the world cup and b) bring to the ref's attention that a foul had been committed. Neither point is cheating.

Sadly its doesn't say much about Ian Wright's understanding of the game.

Ian Wright offers little, if nothing, to the BBC Sport football coverage.

I'd prefer to see some of the written press get a seat on the MOTD panel during the World Cup, they are able to articulate their points better and have a fantastic knowledge of the game.

If the ex-pro's were offering us some sort of insight into the game and the players that we couldn't get elsewhere then I'd be happy to see more of them, reality is they appear on MOTD with the same old pals act time after time. It's boring.

The same happened in athletics coverage, ex-athletes who are too scared to criticise or shake the boat up, why do you think Michael Johnson's athletics appearances have gone down so well BBC Sport?

  • 27.
  • At 11:03 AM on 02 Jun 2006,
  • Steve Jones wrote:

I really enjoy Ian Wright on MOTD; he's got a great sense of fun and wants to have a laugh (it is only a game after all) and he's a welcome balance to the pseudo gravitas of Hanson. I was so disappointed to hear what he said about Gerrard, and also by the craven lack of challenge from ANYBODY else in the studio. Absolutely shocking and the biggest argument yet for having a more challenging non-footballer on the programme.
MOTD has just forfeited ANY right to make analyis or comments about other teams' behaviour throughout the World Cup.

  • 28.
  • At 09:57 PM on 02 Jun 2006,
  • C Anderson wrote:

The main problem for neutral viewers like me (a Scot) is the bias of the commentators and pundits.

For instance, i remember watching Euro 2004 where i didn't mind England doing well as long as they didn't win it - for obvious reasons.

However the bias of the commentators drove me to want to throw things at the TV, and i couldn't help but laugh when Zidane scored his late double.

The BBC have to realise that their programs are broadcast outside of England too, and that "the nation" do not necessarily all care whether England win.

  • 29.
  • At 12:30 AM on 03 Jun 2006,
  • Deuce Rock wrote:

As an American, I am greatly impressed and extremely proud of the English soccer fans for their overwhelming condemnation of Gerrard's dive as well as Ian Wright's stupid and idiotic comments about the dive. The English soccer fans resisted the temptation of pseudo-patriotism and have condemned cheating for what it is - CHEATING.

  • 30.
  • At 09:22 PM on 03 Jun 2006,
  • Luis wrote:

I complained to The BBC the following day of the Hungary match and got the company line response.

The interesting thing was that I was coaching at a Football Camp that week (aged between 4 & 13) and I asked the children what they thought of Gerrard's dive and Ian Wright's comments.

Unprompted, they ALL said it was bad what Gerrard did and that Ian Wright was 'SILLY' for what he said.

Perhaps we shouldn't underestimate the young players too much as they obviously saw through Ian Wright's ridiculous comments and assertions that we need to get our 'dives' in first before it gets done to England.

What a nice person you are Ian Wright!!

If England do win the World Cup and it is achieved with a blatant piece of cheating then how will we all look back on it in 40 years time?

I suspect it won't be with the same pride and fondness of the boys of 1966!!

Ian Wright is employed for his shock value and he is a truly shocking pundit.

One final question BBC - Ian Wright - WHY?

  • 31.
  • At 12:42 AM on 04 Jun 2006,
  • Jock wrote:

Typical of an English pundit, I seem to remember Ian Wright crying about Drogba's diving a couple of months ago. This is the type of hypocritical nonsense that riles up football fans. If that dive of Gerrard', or Owen's....or Owen's again, or Beckham's was against England it would be a world travesty! No wonder every other country is fed up with the English media's sychophantic rubbish. England win everything.....but it never happens....apart from 66' but doesn't everyone else just know it!!!!!

  • 32.
  • At 12:53 AM on 04 Jun 2006,
  • Paul wrote:

As a Scot I'd like to commend the English fans for their almost blanket condemnation of Gerrard's dive and Wright's STUPID comments. England have fallen foul of cheats before and as a rule rarely dive themselves.

  • 33.
  • At 05:16 PM on 04 Jun 2006,
  • Alan wrote:

Do you think anyone in argentina thought maradona did anything wrong to win the world cup in 86 .
Players accross the world have been doing it for ages. Sadly we lack behind some countrys a long way .
Its about time we woke up to what it takes to win.

Personaly I dont like mr wright and the way he played football .But Hes totally right in his thoughts, his mistake is being honest about it. I didnt see hungary kicking the ball out for Robert Green.

  • 34.
  • At 08:14 PM on 04 Jun 2006,
  • Manjit wrote:

Alan - Robert Green was not playing against Hungary he was injured against Belarus.

The fact that Ian Wright did not even bother to turn up for yesterday's customary pre-match session of punditry on time was surely an affront to licence fee payers? What made it even worse was the fact that he did not even have the courtesy to offer an apology to the audience.

But fear not Ian Wright offered us some classic 'wrightism' such as 'line them up and we'll batter them, do you know what I mean'. Now if that does make you proud to be English what does?

Perhaps the Match of the Day editor will return to this blog and actually offer us something in-depth to why Ian Wright is on the payroll of the BBC.

  • 35.
  • At 11:45 AM on 05 Jun 2006,
  • Gavin Jones wrote:

I dont really like Ian Wright as a pundit but I fully agree with the BBC on this point. The pundits should be able to say whatever they feel and if they disagree with each other then even better. What gets me annoyed is the bias towards england on MOTD, get martin o'neal, gordon strachen or Mark Hughes back in the studio for the likes of wrighty, lineker and shearer to bounce off and lets have some debate at half and full time. And if I hear Motson mention '66 again I'm going to watch all the matches on Mute.

  • 36.
  • At 11:51 AM on 05 Jun 2006,
  • phil wrote:

Ian Wright is simply a English football fan and his opinion will not be one he solely has should a similar situation arise in the World Cup. If for example England concede a soft penalty (France 98 against Argentina for example) and then go on to profit from an equally soft penalty (same game, Michael Owen?) will the studio guests and general public be so critical? I doubt it. We will all be thinking what Wright was. I generally agree that Ian Wright is perhaps not the greatest football pundit although he has at least provided a platform for debate which is something the cardboard cut-out of Alan Shearer would struggle to do.

  • 37.
  • At 12:23 PM on 05 Jun 2006,
  • Steve Griffin wrote:

What was Steven Gerrard supposed to do? Not evade the lunge and allow the Hungarian defender to break his leg to ensure England got the penalty but then miss the World Cup? A dive is when a player goes down when no challenge is made or attempted. Why should reckless challenges go unpunished just because the targeted player has the ability to avoid it?

  • 38.
  • At 06:54 PM on 05 Jun 2006,
  • John Bush wrote:

I have to agree with some of the points raised in the post by 'Homo Iridens'.

The ex-player contingent employed by the BBC for their "footballing knowledge" has expanded too far. Ian Wright, as a case in point, may be able to offer some insight once in a blue moon, but more often than not there is little content in the rest of his chat. Therein lies the problem, the studio should be having discussion - not chat. Most of the ex-players may have professional experience, but certainly not in journalism. I don't want to join a witch hunt, but the BBC should look to trim its ex-pro staff and involve a couple more people that might have information that would add to interesting debate (a sports journalist or professional commentator).

The pundits on the couch must be able to add something more eloquent than "the end of the day". The art of commentary is to add to the experience, not just repeat what has just happened. It should be honest, factual, and unbiased. Point out what options a player could have taken, notice when a formation has changed - deliberately or not.

The addition should, ideally, also refrain from involving past glories...

(As a Scot who wishes England all the best of luck I have to be honest and say, that we can be just as bad - but with talking about past failures!)

  • 39.
  • At 07:35 PM on 05 Jun 2006,
  • MazieDribble wrote:

Iam wright is biased and the BBC like him because he appeals to the typical stereotypical 'sun reader'. He also has popular appeal (my wife likes him and she hates football)

Yes he is blatantly biased in favour of England. He makes no secret of being a partiot.

But do you want a panel of Linekers?

  • 40.
  • At 12:17 AM on 24 Jun 2006,
  • paulus wrote:

I just cannot understand why the BBc continues with Lineker presenting games . No doubt he knows plenty about soccer, but ..... ( and according to an article in this weeks Private Eye ) I am not the only one who just cant stand the man ! He seems unable to say anything without turning it into some very childish, silly joke followed by endless, hilarious laughter and giggling often at the expense of the French guest, who at least makes some effort of making a few serious and constructive remarks ! Ha, ha. ha, ha, day in, day out ! It is a relieve switching over to people like Terry, Gullit etc at ITV for a bit of maturity and informative remarks........ paulus

No doubt the majority of football fans are relatively happy with the usual pundits of Lineker, Hanson and the now ever present Shearer. But, Brits being Brits, we will never be fully happy with whoever is presenting the matches. Even if we had Pele and Venables sooner or later we'd get a little annoyed by something they said or did. I personally prefer the BBC to ITV, not only for the quality but also there are less adverts! So although no show can be perfect, keep doing a good job!

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