Singapore: Liverpool great Robbie Fowler on Monday defended Luis Suarez from accusations that the Reds forward was a diver, saying it was hard to tell most of the time whether a player's fall was faked or not.
Fowler, speaking in Singapore after a weekend Masters tournament featuring past Premier League greats, agreed in a chat with journalists that Suarez has been receiving a lot of flak recently for his dramatic falls.
"It certainly looks that way, doesn't it? In the game... It's not nice when players dive," said Fowler, who famously refused to be awarded a penalty by the referee in a crunch match against Arsenal in 1996, although he was overruled.
"He might throw himself to the floor," stated Fowler, the Premier League's fourth-highest goalscorer of all time with 162.
But he added that "sometimes when you play, if you are moving quick and you are touched, sometimes it looks like a dive but really it's not so".
FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce was reported last week to have described Suarez's theatrical tumble against Stoke, in a match that ended in a draw, as "cheating".
Boyce also said the tendency for players to fall easily was a "cancer" in the game. The Liverpool striker hit back at his comments, reportedly saying Boyce just "wanted to get publicity".
Fowler said diving had always taken place in football and eradicating it would be difficult.
"I think it's just hard to prove, we do want it out of the game but it's getting it and proving it. It's a tough one and a touchy one isn't it?" he said.
"Ideally you don't really want it in the game but sometimes it happens through no fault other than you're moving quick."
Fowler said he had never dived in his career.
"Not that I know of, I've obviously gone down where people have touched me but I've never willingly gone down... I'm trying to recall if I've ever done it, and I don't think I have, to be honest."
Story first published on: Monday, 15 October 2012 15:04 IST