The 1200 or so islands that make up the Maldives are a paradise for holiday makers and especially divers who can explore the coral reefs in the clear waters of the Indian Ocean.

But in other circumstances diving is not allowed in Maldives.

I mean on the football field.

AFC Project Future is an initiative for the development of young Asian referees under the age of 25. They are selected firstly from the AFC Festivals of Football and, after successfully completing a selection course, they take part in a two year development programme which takes them to different parts of Asia.

Recently 11 referees, who were selected from the 2010 Festivals, officiated matches in the Maldives Third Division as part of their training and diving was certainly on the agenda.

Diving on the field was very common.

Diving, or simulation to give it its official title, is no more prevalent in Maldives than in other countries but judging from the amount of players who dived or made miraculous recoveries from the ‘injuries’ they received during the matches, Maldives should promote itself not only as a centre for diving but also as an Asian version of Lourdes in France where many of the Roman Catholic faith believe miracle healing has taken place.

Diving is a common problem in world football and referees can only hope to get most calls right but the divers are highly skilled.

You win some – you lose some.

Wouldn’t it also be good if we could go back to the good old days when it was a sign of weakness to show you were injured instead of leaving the field for the slightest knock as happens today?

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