Why retrospective action should be taken against cheating in football

Yesterday debate was once again sparked as to why blatant attempts to cheat in football are not acted on. This came after Portugal’s Pepe appeared to fake injury to try and deceive the referee. After minimal contact from Medhi Benatia, the former Real Madrid man overreacted to say the least, dropping to the floor.

The World Cup has taken centre stage for the foreseeable future as nations come together to compete and enjoy the sport many people love, football. At this year’s tournament we have seen the introduction of video assistant referees (otherwise known as VAR) to help ensure correct decisions are given.

So, with effort in place to reduce the chance of decisions going wrong and an attempt to make the game fairer, why should action against cheating be the next development?

Intent

Football in this day and age is a multi-million-pound industry, there is a lot of money involved. It can often be defined as more of a business than a sport.

If a referee is to be deceived by a decision and potentially gives a red card for a challenge that was relatively harmless, even a wrong penalty or anything else due to being decieved, it could in effect cost a lot of money. Take theoretically, Manchester United are beaten 1-0 by Manchester City due to a penalty decision given by the referee. After the game it is very much clear it was a dive. Now think about if United have a better goal difference and miss out on the league title to City by a margin of 3pts.

It is a serious game and there can be no joking like a school football match, ‘it was just a joke’. No, there can be serious repercussions, that can affect realistically, people’s jobs. The intent to cheat, is such a negative thing.

A bad reflection on the sport

Everyone is probably aware of the term ‘sportsmanship’, a thing that has in recent years appeared to fade away from the game of football.

Sportsmanship in simple terms refers to that fact that the sport should be fair, and people should follow the rules of the game.

It can often be seen in sport. For instance, snooker. Most of the snooker players at present, play the game fairly and in a good manner. It has been seen plenty of times where occasions have risen when the player has accidently knocked the ball, which is illegal and then subsequently they have informed the referee. There is no benefit to them realistically but it’s just the correct thing to do.

Currently though, football players are more known for time wasting, diving, faking injuries and such. Quite frankly it is shows the sport in a poor light, as described yesterday by Martin Keown on commentary, Pepe’s attempts to get his fellow professional Benatia in trouble were “pathetic”.

Role model impact

Football is a sport which is broadcasted to millions of people around the world, including people of a variety of ages. This could be adults or even children.

As people in such spotlight footballers are seen as role models, young fans worldwide love the players and aspire to be like some of their idols.

Behaving in a bad manner can potentially affect young people growing up. As a young person if you see your idol doing something, there is a good chance you might try it. Eventually it will become a welcome part of the sport due to it being what upcoming players are growing up on.

Action should be taken to reduce the amount of clear cheating incidents in football as quickly as possible.

By James Miller

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