By Chris Harris

Robin van Persie believes that footballers are within their rights to bring fouls to a referee's attention.

The issue of 'simulation' has been high on the agenda ever since Eduardo was charged by UEFA for 'deceiving an official' when he won a penalty in the Champions League play-off against Celtic last month. The Croatian striker's two-match European ban was annulled on appeal but players have been under scrutiny in the weeks since that incident.

Like most football fans, Van Persie finds diving abhorrent. But the Dutchman insists that players should not be castigated for demonstrating to the referee when they have genuinely been fouled.

"It is not my intention to dive" said Van Persie. "I'm against divers because it is not honest.

"But I had a little moment against Manchester United the other week after the whole Eduardo thing. I had the ball on the right side, cut it back and Evra gave me a little push. It put me off balance.

"I fell down and the whole stadium started to boo me but I was like 'come on, Evra pushed me!'.

"I do exaggerate. Sometimes, for example, when you are in the middle of the action, you get a little push and your opponent has finished the attacking action. Then, you are in the right to show the referee you were pushed. That is not diving. That is saying 'come on, this is not honest play from the other players.'

"Sometimes you have a little movement with your arms or your body but I do not believe that is cheating. But it is difficult."

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25 Sep 2009