Why Do Soccer Players Fake Injuries? Explained

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

Why do soccer players fake injuries? The beautiful game is the most popular sport in the world, but one of its main criticisms is that soccer players have a bad reputation of faking injuries to try to manipulate the outcome of the game.

Faking an injury, also known as diving, is an unfortunate tactic of the game, but the truth is that a lot of the time even some “fake injuries” are real injuries with a bit of extra dramatization from the player. In this blog, I will cover everything you need to know about why soccer players fake injuries.

Why Do Soccer Players Fake Injuries? Image by source

The Art of Faking Injuries

Simulating fouls, or faking injuries on the soccer field, is a controversial strategy used by players to influence referees’ decisions and potentially alter the game’s outcome. In every soccer match, one of the referee’s main tasks is to distinguish between real injuries and deceptive acts by the players.

If a player is caught faking an injury, the referee can punish them with a yellow card, or even a red card, depending on the overall interaction of the foul. Soccer players who simulate and dive aren’t just trying to deceive referees; they’re also playing mind games with opponents.

When opposing team members perceive another player exaggerating contact or feigning injury, it creates feelings of frustration which could mess with their focus, concentration, and tactics.

Why Do Professional Soccer Players Fake Injuries?

Serious fans, players, and coaches of the game know why professional players fake injuries, but if you are new to the sport you may be wondering why. These are the main reasons why elite professional soccer players fake injuries, sometimes with fouls that don’t even make contact.

  • To trick the referee into getting the opposing player in trouble with a yellow or red card
  • To manipulate the emotions of the player that caused the “foul”
  • To win a penalty kick or free kick for their team, which are good goal scoring opportunities
  • To waste time

How do you Know if a Player is Faking Injury or Has a Real Injury?

Many people don’t consider soccer a contact sport, but the reality is soccer is a contact sport and even some of the fouls that look soft can hurt and cause injuries. Just think about this for a moment if you have not played soccer before.

I want you to go outside and do 10 sets of 5 to 10 second sprints. Then rest and do it again. Then rest and do it one more time. Then grab a soccer ball and try to dribble the ball the length of a soccer field, while a defender chases you and slides tackles you to win the ball.

After that, tell me if that slide tackle hurts or not. Even if it is not that strong of a tackle, it will most likely still hurt somewhat due to the fatigue from all of the running and decision making that happens in a game.

Soccer is a very physically and mentally demanding sport that requires a lot of stamina. Even if you are in really good shape, and if you are at the pro level, after 90 minutes of sprinting and stopping over and over again, you will be tired.

Add to that tiredness a player from the opposing team coming at you at full speed with cleats on and you can see why even some “soft tackles” can hurt. Of course soccer does not have as much physical contact as other sports, but that does not mean that the contact does not hurt at all.

To find out if a player is faking an injury or has a real injury, the referee will call in the physiotherapists and trainers to check up on the player. If the player is able to continue they can stay on the field, but if the player is injured and the team has eligible subs, the injured player can be substituted.

Usually you can tell by the actions of the player if they are injured or faking an injury and also by how fast they get up and recover. For example, this video of David Luiz is a clear dive used to try to change the outcome of the game.

Why Do Soccer Players Fake Injuries? Image by source

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the dangers of playing through a real injury and not a fake injury?

Just because a lot of soccer players are known for diving and faking injuries that does not mean that all injuries are fake. Playing through a soccer injury is not smart, because it can lead to more injuries in the future and can make that current injury worse. That is why if a player has a real injury it is best to find a substitute and begin the recovery process as soon as possible.

Why do professional footballers fake injuries a lot?

Professional soccer players often fake injures a lot in order to

  • Trick the referee into punishing the opposing team’s player
  • Trick the referee into awarding free kicks and penalty kicks, which are good goal scoring opportunities,
  • Attempt to manipulate the emotions of the opposing team players

What is the best soccer training program?

The best online soccer training program and soccer app is Football Entangled. There is no other program like Football Entangled on the market and this community, much more than just an app, will help stay injury free and unlock peak performance.

How can I learn more about the game?

To learn more about soccer the most important thing is to join a team and play the game as much as possible. If possible, analyze high level games as much as you can and your own games as well by recording them with a soccer camera. Also read soccer books, listen to podcasts, watch soccer documentaries, as well as some movies, tv shows, and anime.


In conclusion, unfortunately “diving” or “simulating” is a part of the beautiful game that takes away some of its beauty. In this blog, I covered all of the basic information you need to know about why soccer players fake injuries.

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