FTK Blog: Cheating in Football – this is nothing new

The Thierry Henry Le Hand of God which has embarrassed the player and FIFA is just another example of the hypocrisy that pervades our national sport. Thierry Henry is an Arsenal legend, I cannot defend him for his actions brought into disrepute his national football federation and his own reputation. The correct action would have been to inform the referee that he had in fact committed the foul of handling the ball. This would have meant natural justice would have prevailed. The tie would have ended with penalties and who knows the result may well have been the same.
To analyse why Thierry Henry did not do the right thing is to understand that cheating or professionalism or win at all costs has be
en the culture in out game for decades. This is not something that was brought to our shores by foreign players, because for as long as I can recall cheating has practised by the overwhelming majority of teams engaged in this sport. The difference is the openness of the act and the amount of outrage that follows. The introduction of video technology would expose much more cheating which would be a good thing. Let me give you examples.
Chelsea v Man Utd  8/11/2009
Chelsea football team under Mourhino used many cheating tactics, from blocking the runs of opponent players to barging goalkeepers out of the way. In the game at Stamford Bridge, following the debatable foul by Darren Fletcher on Ashley Cole, as the free kick came across for John Terry to score, Drogba was seen on replays to have tugged Wes Brown to the ground. This was cheating.
Liverpool v Birmingham  9/11/2009
Ngog dived over the outstretched leg of Lee Carsley to win his side a penalty and save the blushes of Benitez. A clear case of simulation or diving. Our own Robert Pires, Eduardo and Eboue have been accused of similar acts of cheating.
Rooney is a diver, so is Steven Gerrard, all of them great players but under this definition cheats none the less.
Every time the defender puts his arm around an opposing player at a corner, this is cheating, as it prevents the free movement of the player. Every time a professional foul of obstruction is committed this is cheating. Time wasting by keepers and managers alike, this is cheating. In fact if we look at almost every aspect of our game from overly aggressive tackling, the waving imaginary cards to the quickly taken free kick, this is all to a lesser or greater degree cheating. However we do not use that term, we called it taking advantage, or professionalism or just the rub of the green and what goes around comes around. But it is still cheating.
So I would have more sympathy for the protestations of the Irish if there was not this culture in the game. Robbie Keane cheated himself when he provoked Jens Lehmann in that Invincibles draw at White Hart Lane in 2004 that saw Arsenal win the title. The thing that upsets me about the World Cup qualifiers was the way that seeding was introduced for the play off draws. This again was cheating, but done by FIFA. So I argue the way for cheating to be removed from the game is for all concerned to accept that cheating is rife and ever present from governing authority to managers to the players themselves. Referees have been caught match fixing and their inability to be consistent also helps those who wish to cheat. The match will not be replayed, the world will not end, but one thing is certain… Cheating will continue to exist in our game until it impacts in such a way that lawyers or the police get involved.

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