12:09 16 September 2009
It's a common problem in football, players taking a dive in hopes of a penalty. But how can you tell which is fake and which is real? One scientist believes he's found the answer.
Psychologist Dr Paul Morris has identified several distinctive actions that players make before purposefully taking a dive.
His helpful guide, which gives four tell-tale signs that someone is cheating, could help referees in spotting a dive from a real foul.
The biggest giveaway is what he has termed the "Archer's Bow". This is essentially the position a player is in before falling to the ground - holding both arms up in the air, with open palms, chest thrust out and legs bent at the knee.
The "Archer's Bow" position is a clear sign when a player is diving
"This occurs in many dives but, biomechanically, it does not occur in a natural fall," Morris said. "Instead, instinctively, the arms either go down in an attempt to cushion the fall or out to the side for balance."
According to the scientist, the player makes this unnatural movement to grab the attention of the ref, however "moving the body like this is completely controlled behaviour, so it clearly doesnt show a genuine fall. The moment both arms go above the shoulder is a clear indication of deception," he said.
Other key signs to watch for include clutching their body where they have not been hit, taking an extra roll when they hit the ground, and taking fully controlled strides after being tackled before falling.
Morris said, "Referees have a very difficult job and, given the demands of the task, they do it remarkably well.
"We think even experienced professionals could enhance their decision-making by studying the categories of deceptive behaviour we have identified."
The research comes as Eduardo da Silva has had his ban annulled by UEFA. The Arsenal striker was banned for two matches after he was accused of fooling the ref into giving a penalty for Arsenal against Celtic in the Champions League.
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