Football: a cheater’s game – Mon 5th Feb 07

Ok, so I may have been a bit harsh on Ronaldo yesterday. What’s that a flying pig you ask? Yes. Yes it is.

Here’s why: I picked on one player for one thing (that admittedly he does a lot), but never let it be said that I’m close-minded.

The truth is, football is rife with cheating. And it pisses me off. Here’s why:

When was the last time you saw a team defending a lead NOT try and waste time?

When was the last time you saw a team taking a free kick or throw in NOT try and steal as many extra feet/yards closer to goal / further away from their own as possible?

But there’s a difference yeah?! No. Cheating is still cheating, and people will get away with as much as they think they can! It’s true in football, and it’s true in life.

When was the last time a striker won a penalty that wasn’t a penalty and admitted as much? Or signalled to the ref, “no actually ref, it was a fair tackle, no pen.” (Robbie Fowler aside). It doesn’t happen, because everyone is looking to get one over on the opposition, fairly and unfairly.

How often do you see players surrounding a referee trying to get an opponent booked/sent off? Every game? Several times a game by both teams? It’s all the same thing.<br><br>Yes, Ronaldo cheats. But is it any different to your team shuffling as close to a free-kick taker as possible instead of standing 10 yards away and STAYING there? No. “Well Ronaldo is so blatant!” you might say. Oh I’m sorry, is cheating allowable when it’s surreptitious? Do we have a wry smile when someone gets away with a little clever gamesmanship? Fine. But don’t criticise players who dive.

What’s worse? Hacking away at a player and fouling him because he does you for skill? Or that player going to ground easily to gain an advantage? You’re still not playing by the rules either way.

I’m not trying to let Ronaldo off the hook. I’m saying that all cheaters are as bad as each other and you can’t have a go at one type of cheating but not another.

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