Cheating in Sports

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.

4 Responses to Cheating in Sports

  1. Brum February 16, 2007 at 1:27 am #

    An Ironic twist in the Stelios Giannakopoulos story, and his integrity is that Bolton Wanderers, the team he plays for, had their next game yesterday-just three days after that incident. The game was more prestigous and arguably more important. Bolton were losing 2-1 with just a few minutes to go, and another of their players,Ivan Campo, who plays alongside Stelios every week, deliberately and blatantly dived in the oppositions penalty box in order to deceive the referee into giving them a penalty. The referee was not fooled and gave him a yellow card. As he was jogging away, the camera zoomed in on Campo to see him laughing about his foiled attempt at deceit with other teamates. It is not only Ironic that they play on the same team but also that the game where Stelios was honest and caring was the one they won and the game three days later where Campo dived, Bolton lost. A great reminder of how the hero may have to sacrifice and make hard decisions short term but their integrity always wins in the long run.

  2. Matt Langdon February 16, 2007 at 9:51 am #

    Thanks Chris. No doubt, Campo’s behaviour was preferred by the Bolton fans and management too.

  3. midnightjester February 16, 2007 at 7:10 pm #

    Thanks for the link to sportscheat.org Matt,

    The interest has increased so quickly in it I have given it a domain and email address, I can be got at

    midnightjester@sportscheat.org

    Football has always been a physical game and I am never bothered when players fly through the air after a physical challenge- that is the natural result of “rule 1 for knees in a tackle”: get your feet off the ground! I forgot one day and that was it for me and playing at a decent level.

    You are right about why they had to just tell players to play on when someone goes down. What Campo did, though, has gradually become accepted as the norm. At some point people forgot their outrage at seeing cheats prosper and started shrugging their shoulders.

    When I say norm, I don’t just mean in football. After the financial cheating in the USA and England we average folks should have been demanding a new financial police force. No-one was killed by the cheating but lives were destroyed: where was our outrage?

    Our expectations of acceptable behaviour have been eroded more and more over time to the point where we ask ourselves: do we have any expectations at all any more? And if we do, will we stand up when they are not met and try to change the tide?

    I keep my expectations of both myself and those around me high. It results in few long term friendships but a happier, less stressful existence as you never feel you are bending the wrong way, twisting to fit a shape that does not fit you.

    Whenever I build teams, whether on a football pitch or in business everyone places high expectations on those around them and, most often, those expectations are met.

    If you had grown up with the game of football I did, Matt, you would have loved it. Can’t blame you for not liking it now, you just have to read the comments on the site and petition to know how the sport is haemorrhaging fans.

    jester

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