Chelsea v Hull: 'Swan Lake', 'disgraceful' or not a dive?

Media playback is not supported on this device

Diving: MOTD2 Extra pundits criticise 'blight' of simulation

Hull manager Steve Bruce said it was like "something out of Swan Lake", BBC pundit Garth Crooks led the condemnation by saying referee Chris Foy "bottled it", while Jose Mourinho couldn't see what the problem was.

Three dives, two yellow cards, one major refereeing controversy.

So what was all the fuss about and who is right, Steve or Jose?

Ref sees nothing, Bruce sees red (figuratively)

30 mins: Willian goes over. It looks like a dive. Booking.

38 mins: Gary Cahill puts in a dangerous tackle. Yellow, but no red, card.

55 mins: Gary Cahill goes over. It looks like a dive. NO booking.

58 mins: Diego Costa goes over. It looks like a dive. Booking.

60 mins: Tom Huddlestone puts in a dangerous tackle. Red card.

Gary Cahill
Gary Cahill was booked in the first half for a dangerous tackle on Sone Aluko

It was one of the more frustrating afternoons of Steve Bruce's career.

When Gary Cahill scythed down Sone Aluko, who was charging through on goal, the England defender was only booked. That was the start.

But that was like a nice relaxing bath for the Tigers compared to their fury at an incident early in the second half.

Chelsea, leading 1-0 at the time, broke forward with Oscar pulling the ball across the box to Cahill, who chipped it into the space between David Meyler and Tom Huddlestone, and went down as if there was a brick wall between the two.

Hull were not impressed. Seven players surrounded referee Foy incandescent at the decision - or lack of it. About four minutes later Diego Costa would be booked for a similar offence, while Willian had earlier had his name taken for the same thing.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Cahill dive was blatant - Bruce

To make matters worse, Huddlestone was sent off for a bad tackle of his own soon afterwards, and Costa would kill the game off by making it 2-0.

Bruce's anger was clear.

"The referee shows his intent because he's booked two players for diving and Cahill is lucky to be on the pitch for his first challenge," he said.

"If he hasn't dived there, then I don't know what one is. We all know what he's trying to do, he's trying to get a penalty. The referee is 10 yards away and there's no excuse. We need him to do his job otherwise it will keep rearing its ugly head.

"Unfortunately, from the first minute, Chris Foy had one of those awful afternoons."

Bruce added it was "like something out of Swan Lake - it's that blatant", in reference to the ballet written by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1876.

"If I say what I really, genuinely want to say, then I'll be hauled up in front of the Premier League again and I'm going to have to pay the 10 grand or whatever it was," said Bruce.

"I will make sure I button my lips and say nothing about it and keep my money in my pocket," he added.

If that is him buttoning his lips, what is it he would like to have said?

Gary Cahill tackle description
How our live text commentator Tom Rostance saw events unfold
Gary Cahill dive description
Steve Bruce quote

The pundits pile in...

Nobody could accuse BBC Sport's pundits of sitting on the fence following the incident.

Garth Crooks, in particular, was pulling no punches on Final Score.

"Chris Foy booked two players for diving, but not one crucial player. It was a massive decision to make. And he bottled it," the ex-Tottenham striker said.

"It's disgraceful. It questions the integrity of the refereeing. Is he intimidated by Stamford Bridge?

"The only conclusion you can come to is because it's Chelsea. And it's Chris Foy, an experienced referee. And now the injustice has got the Hull players' blood boiling. They're thinking they might as well take the law into their own hands."

Chelsea tweet
How Chelsea's Twitter account saw it...

Former Arsenal striker John Hartson agreed with Crooks: "Diving needs to be stamped out. There needs to be more intervention, more punishment. It's spreading throughout football right now. Certainly in the Premier League. There is too much of it.

"Gary Cahill is a big, tough, centre-half and has just dived. It is not acceptable but sometimes if you have a midfielder who has tricky feet and goes over a little easily you can understand it but from a 6ft 4in centre-half, it is not on.

"More should be done about diving, because it's happening a lot. The authorities are not clamping down on it strongly enough."

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, watching from Glasgow before presenting Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday, said: "Diving is getting silly. Players need to self-police the game. The only way it will change. What is the point of the PFA if they can't get their players to have a code of conduct?"

Robbie Savage joined the club on BBC Radio 5 live's 606 phone-in show.

"When is it going to stop, because we're seeing more and more of it. I'd like referees to come out after the game and explain what they do, but it's simply not going to happen.

"Gary Cahill did get away with it. It just has to stop."

Speaking on Match of the Day, former England midfielder Danny Murphy said: "Hull were unlucky because Gary Cahill was let off. Cahill's reaction is what saved him. We did notice a tiny touch. It's either a penalty or a yellow card and fans get frustrated by the lack of consistency."

Crooks concluded: "I think we should ask managers at the end of the game whether, when their players dive, they condone that sort of behaviour. If they don't, then they should tell their players not to do it. They are the manager, after all."

And Mourinho was indeed asked about it...

What's all the fuss about?

One man stood up for Cahill, one brave lonely voice who refused to be dictated to by pundits, or his counterpart, or fans, or, you know, video evidence.

That man's name... Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, whose players don't dive - apart from that one time last season when one of them did.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Mourinho insists his players do not dive

"I give the referee the doubt. We spoke last season about simulation because we had a situation and I was the first one to say to Oscar, against Southampton, that he has to stay on his feet, but the reality is that many players from other teams do that too much," said Mourinho.

"In Chelsea we are clean. Willian was in the middle of the pitch, so not even a reason to dive, and I don't think Diego's is a dive."

In the news conference he went further: "I had this question before, from your colleagues on TV and radio, and I don't believe Cahill dived.

"And if you tell me I am wrong because he dived, something happened. Or they blocked his run. Or they touched. Or he lost balance.

"But that big, honest guy, I don't believe he dived in the opposition's box."

'I'm not having it'

Did that placate Crooks? Not quite.

"Jose Mourinho said other clubs seem to be diving. That's a justification for your team doing it, is it? Today we're talking about your team, Jose. If he's using what other teams do as a defence for his team then I'm not having it.

"Jose is wrong about Willian not simulating because Chris Foy booked him. And Jose's wrong about Gary Cahill, because he dived.

"I'm getting sick and tired of hearing managers coming to post-match interviews saying they haven't seen an incident. There are cameras and monitors everywhere. I don't think a manager should give us any nonsense about not having seen it - they should come and speak to the nation having seen everything."

Jake Livermore and Gary Cahill
Jake Livermore was one of seven players to contront referee Chris Foy

'Make them lie in the goal for 15 minutes'

So what did our BBC Sport live text commentary readers think about the incident? Well you had some interesting ideas on how to eradicate diving.

SMC used #bbcfootball to say: "Well done Garth Crooks for having the nerve to call a dive a dive!"

Kevin in Hornchurch texted in: "We need a sin bin for pathetic divers, so they get a 15-minute period sitting on stools in front of opposing teams' fans. That would stop it, but be lots of fun in the meantime. Embarrass the jokers. It's just really doing football no favours at all."

Dan in Reading replied: "Sin bin? No, make the offender lie down in the goal for 15 minutes - humiliate the cheats."

Ben in Bath had another suggestion: "What the game needs is an orange card for diving. It won't mean anything during the game, but the incident is looked at after and if found guilty of diving, the player is given a three-game ban. That would finally get rid of it."

Or as Mike Rono (are you Mourinho in disguise?) said: "Garth Crooks, take a chill pill!"

Top Stories