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Author Topic: Cheating in Football.  (Read 653 times)

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Offline Sando

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Cheating in Football.
« on: May 31, 2017, 05:45:36 AM »
Culture of cheating.
By Fazeer Mohammed

Many explanations, most money-related, have been offered as to why cheating is such an established aspect of football that variations of dishonesty are so well practised as to border on being celebrated as high-class skills in their own right.

Of course the world’s most popular sport is not alone when it comes to coping with the rising tide of devious behaviour among its most prominent participants. It just seems though that the game’s authorities have given up on sanctioning players who engage in more acting than all of Hollywood and Bollywood put together.

Maybe it’s because the virus, which was always part of the game, has developed to a global pandemic of such proportions that if everyone attempting to fool the referee and his assistants in some form or fashion were sent off the field for most high-profile games these days there would hardly be anyone left on the pitch.

Football is such a multi-billion dollar business now that its superstars are given the same sort of treatment as the most popular entertainers in the music industry: indiscretions are celebrated, there are no consequences for utterly reprehensible behaviour and, conversely, it is the officials who are roundly pilloried by an idol-worshipping array of journalists and broadcasters unwilling to acknowledge how fundamentally corrupt the sport they love and make a healthy living from has become.

Even the altering of the language of the game to sanitise the flagrant cheating reflects the extent to which one of the very fundamentals of football—fair play—essentially no longer exists.

Already on a yellow card from earlier in the game, Chelsea’s Victor Moses was sent off in Saturday’s English FA Cup final against Arsenal at Wembley for the commonplace tactic politely known as “simulation.” It has become the accepted term for the now widespread practice of players pretending to be fouled either to win a penalty or to get an opponent yellow-carded or sent off altogether.

It probably has something to do with the legal ramifications of describing an action as “cheating” that other terms have cropped up. What is unforgiveable though is the way media personalities behave, always with the benefit of hindsight and numerous television replays, in going after the officials for “poor decisions” when they themselves were unsure of the offence when describing the action in real time.

This is not meant to excuse sub-standard officiating for that is an entirely different story, something we are acutely familiar with after the erroneous disallowing of Joevin Jones’ strike for Trinidad and Tobago against Mexico in the World Cup qualifier at the Hasely Crawford Stadium two months ago.

But when those who are described as respected voices and personalities in the game continue to mollycoddle cheats while at the same time pour scorn on officials who will inevitably misread some of the acting—given that it is done so often and so convincingly—then it should be no surprise that at very grassroots of football, children who can barely kick a ball are already learning the art of diving and constantly pulling on their opponents’ shirts.

Even when their dishonesty is exposed for the world to see they are still hailed as heroes and exemplars. In the final round of games in the Spanish top division just over a week ago, Neymar earned a penalty for Barcelona at the Nou Camp with a dive that was so poor in its execution that replays showed him to be some distance away from the lunging defender when the Brazilian initiated the well-practised process of collapsing spectacularly to the ground.

It hardly ever looks so clear-cut in real time and real speed which is why the referee was fooled. So the official attracts the criticism and Neymar gets away scot-free. If such incidents ever come up in any analysis in the media environment it is often minimised as “part of the modern game.”

Look, football and cheating have gone hand-in-hand, literally, for a long time, as Diego Maradona’s infamous “hand of God” goal in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals for Argentina against England in Mexico will attest. At least then there was a measure of embarrassment with the player studiously avoiding any discussion of the incident to media outside Argentina for years.

Now it’s taken for granted as exemplified by Maradona’s fellow-Argentine Paulo Dybala writhing on the turf in pretend agony only to get up and sprint towards goal when the ball rolled in his direction during the second leg of Juventus’ European Champions League semi-final against Monaco in Turin earlier this month.
Still, Saturday’s final in Cardiff between Juve and title-holders Real Madrid will attract a huge global audience with enough real skill on display to mesmerise us into accepting the attendant cheating as just another dimension to the presumed beautiful game.


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