When you pay people money to win, you are going to encounter cheating. Cheating happens when the result is only pride, so money makes it a fact. It’s unfortunate and it is something that should be monitored in professional leagues. It happens in many forms: performance enhancing drugs, faking fouls, deliberately underperforming.
I used to really want to like soccer. I just couldn’t do it though – the diving and faking of injuries was an intense turnoff for me. There’s a lot of money in international soccer, so there’s a lot of pressure to cheat to succeed. Players regularly cheat and it is talked about openly every week. The players are considered gods around the world and their behaviour is scrutinized. What a great opportunity for heroism. However, too often the players ignore the responsibility their great power brings with it.
Recently the English Premiership made a rule change that said the referee is in charge of stopping a game if a player is injured. In the past players were encouraged to kick the ball out of play to show consideration for their fellow player and his pain. I can only assume the new rule was brought in to stop players faking injuries to have the play stopped. That’s a sad state of affairs. Last week, Stelios Giannakopoulos saw an opponent apparently injured and kicked the ball out of play instead of going for an open goal. Stelios’ opponent got up quickly, showing that there was no injury so his play was criticized by his manager and fans. His response was, “I did what I felt was right at the time and to play fair.” His manager said, “I admire Stelios for what he did, but I thought it was the wrong decision.” Let’s applaud Stelios for his courage and caring.
There is a blog calling for cheating in soccer to stop. Have a look and sign the petition if you feel strongly about it. I’m following soccer nowadays, but I still cringe at the cheating – the deliberate attempts at faking. I won’t forget the last seconds of the World Cup game between Italy and Australia.