Footballers asked to own up to cheating? You’re having a laugh

November 20, 2009

So a popular solution to rid the game of cheating in the fall out to Henry’s handball is to ask them to own up.

It seems people want referees to approach players after an incident and ask them, expecting the player to admit to the infringement. What? I’m sorry, but we’re getting dangerously close to the call for the men in the white coats now, it’s only a matter of time before someone is sectioned.

Cheating is rife in the game, and if players can get away with it, they will. Just think about it for a second, and how many of these incidents do you see at every match you go to? Shirt pulling, wrestling in the box, standing on ankles, diving, even claiming for a free kick/throw in/offside (delete as appropriate) when players clearly know it’s not? Even we as fans hopefully call for penalties and free kicks when there’s no chance they’ll be given, do we have to stop that too?

It’s quite frankly ridiculous. Let’s face it here, players are paid handsomely for what they do. They are paid even more when they win. Do you think most of them care HOW they win? Not a chance! And who is to say anyway, that players would be honest when asked by the referee? Can you imagine asking Ashley Cole, the man who claimed to be insulted at Arsenal’s offer of £55,000 a week, if he’d handled a ball in the box and honestly expect a genuine answer? Neither can I.

And besides, if a referee were to ask a player, the player would already know that the referee couldn’t be sure so the battle would be lost. It becomes a completely pointless exercise.

A footballer who displays an act of sportsmanship such as Di Canio, Robbie Fowler or Andrey Arshavin will rightly be lauded for their actions. However, they will always be the exception to the rule. The game has moved to such an extent now that managers and other players demand their teams do everything they can to get that all important win.

To expect everybody in the game to voluntarily cease that habit is quite possibly the most naive suggestion I’ve ever heard.

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