London, Mar 31 : One-third of footballers who "take a dive" in a match will fool the referee, a new study has revealed.
According to a study of 60 games and 2,803 falls, players who use the tactic also tend not to be punished - of all the players judged to have "dived", not a single one was penalised.
Worryingly, the video analysis revealed that six percent of falls in the international league games were thought to be at least partially faked.
The research showed that players are most likely to dive when the game is being drawn.
And the study shows they have become so adept at cheating that 33 percent of the time players get away with it.
Environmental scientist Robbie Wilson, who carried out the research, said monitoring footballers was an excellent opportunity to study the art of deception.
"One of the difficulties in studying deception is it is hard to identify - by its very nature it is supposed to go undetected," the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
"We realised professional football gave us a unique opportunity as there are so many cameras recording the game it is obvious when a player is not touched and rolls around.
"This is then a clear case of someone trying to deceive another person," he said.
For the study, researchers analysed falls from 60 games - 10 each from the Spanish, German, Dutch, Italian, French and Australian leagues - to determine whether they were `dives'.
The falls were then classed as legitimate, slightly deceptive - where the player was touched by an opponent but exaggerated the impact - or highly deceptive.
Where the falls occurred, the time in the game and the score at the time were also recorded.
Wilson, from the University of Queensland, Australia, said six percent (169) of the 2803 falls observed were dives with the remaining 2633 considered legitimate.
The study found players were most likely to `take a dive' when a game is level and they are near the attacking end, in the hope of securing a penalty.
He said on average 33 per cent of dives were `rewarded' by the referee with a penalty.
"There is an 80 per cent chance of scoring a goal from a penalty and the study shows players are ruthless in their ability to win one.
"That's why they are doing most of the dives in the penalty area," Wilson added.
The study has been published online in the journal PLoS One. (ANI)
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