Tuesday 17 October 2017

Foreigners have imported culture of diving to Premier League, says Tore Andre Flo

Patrick Johnston

FOREIGN imports are responsible for the proliferation of diving in the Premier League, claims former Chelsea striker Tore Andre Flo.

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis was left irritated by Liverpool forward Luis Suarez during his side's goalless draw in their Premier League clash earlier this month, accusing the Uruguayan of going to ground too easily.

Pulis called for retrospective three-match bans for anyone found guilty of "falling over" with his new signing, former Liverpool striker Michael Owen, blaming the rise in diving on the many foreign imports playing in England.

Norwegian Flo, who joined Chelsea in 1997 from Brann Bergen and played in London for three seasons before joining Rangers in the Scottish Premier League for £12 million, agreed with Owen.

"I think maybe it is not in English culture to dive when you play football," Flo said.

"I think it is coming from other countries even though there are some English people who can fall easy but still it is a bit more from the foreigners.

"The English League is where it happens the least still. Even though it happens in England, I think it happens more in other leagues."

Flo, who scored 23 goals in 76 appearances for his country, believed a review system like Pulis suggested was a good idea to stamp out the problem.

However, he felt players should stay on their feet and trust the referee to acknowledge fouls rather than fall to win decisions as Owen admitted doing.

"Sometimes you really want to prove this was a foul. I can only speak for myself but I never felt like that," the tall, slim Flo said.

"It is up to the referee to decide if it was a foul or not and then you try to do what you can to stay on your feet and he can decide.

"There is some diving but it is hard to tell (when it happens) the best thing would have been if every player was honest but unfortunately that is not quite the way it is."

However, former Liverpool and England striker Robbie Fowler said that a review policy would not work as it would be too difficult to tell if a player had dived or made the most of a limited amount of contact to win free-kicks or penalties.

"Ideally you don't want it in the game but sometimes it happens," Fowler told reporters.

"Some of them do look ridiculous but how do you stop it?

"If I go down and it looks like a dive but I say I was touched are you calling me a liar? It is hard to prove.

"We do want it out of the game but it is getting it and proving so it is a real tough one and a touchy one."

Fowler once famously asked in vain for a referee to not give a penalty when he tumbled over playing for Liverpool in a match against league rivals Arsenal at Highbury.

The penalty was awarded and although Fowler's spot kick was saved, Jason McAteer scored from the rebound.

The 39-year-old, who said he was still interested in playing after a contract to play in an Indian soccer league fell through earlier this year, said the diving debate was getting out of hand.

"We go on about it a little bit too much and it has always been there and there is certain instances where it has been highlighted but I think it has always been there.

"Just because of one or two isolated incidents now it has brought it to the forefront."

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