Opta have provided the data on the players who have been booked for diving since August 2010, as listed below:
2 – Bale, Suárez, Hernández.
1 – Bellamy, Holt, Diouf, van Persie, Thomas, Torres, Pratley, Bentley, Derbyshire, Stearman, Larsson, Dorrans, Tevez, Zabaleta, Agger, Cox, Modric, Carroll, Sturridge, David Luiz, Balotelli, Moses, Hoilett, Oscar, Carruthers and Davies.
Of course, not every player that dives will be cautioned for it (see Luis Suárez‘ ridiculous effort against Stoke last Sunday for proof of that), but these are the only figures available that I can work with.
Graeme Riley (one of the statisticians on both LFCHistory.net and The Tomkins Times) advised me:
355 players have started games this season, of which 82 are classified as attackers. Of these 82, 38 are from the UK, 44 are from outside the UK.
This equates to 46% being from the UK, with 54% from elsewhere around the world.
I went through the above list of players who have been booked for diving, and guess what? 47% of the cards went to players from the UK and Ireland (I included Eire as their players have a long history of playing in English football) and 53% to the rest of the world.
I was also able to locate the statistics of the nationalities that appeared in the Premier League last season, and 56% of the players who appeared were from the UK and Ireland. So it seems that 44% of the players (foreigners) account for around 53% of the cards.
Slightly higher, but hardly decisive, and whilst Suárez escaped a caution against Stoke, he was unfairly booked away at Sunderland this season despite contact having been made, thanks to the Mackems’ defenders crowding round him and accusing him of diving, so perhaps these things even themselves out eventually.
Of course foreign players dive, but British players do too. Gareth Bale was booked twice for diving last season (the only player to be cautioned more than once in 2011/12 for simulation), and got away with a ludicrous one at the weekend too, for instance.
In short, both sets of players are cautioned almost exactly in line (proportionally) with the amount of players they provide to the Premier League, and don’t let Owen, Ferguson or anyone else tell you otherwise.