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Speaker: KICK IT! The Wee Fella

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  • Bryan Dods,

    Too much splitting hairs about cheating. How about the karma?

    In the second half Ghana was playing a very different style to the fast, athletic, and exciting way they played the first half. Dives were being made every time they came close to the opposition. Very calculated. It really showed because the first half had been quite clean. A big rev-up by the coach perhaps.

    I saw Gyan make what appeared to be a consiliatory guesture to an opposition player. He cupped the players neck with his palm, and then cuffed him hard across the side of the head and ear. The look on his face after he had done it was not a pleasant sight to see.

    I was so delighted to see the prick bounce the ball off the crossbar I roared with laughter.
    It wasn't exactly instant karma, but it was fairly quick.

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Are you simply saying that he used the rules as they stand to his best advantage, or what?

    Although I suspect in the end it came down to instinct, he did what any other footballer in his position would have done. If you're defending, and somebody's about to score, your job is to stop them from scoring. You can do it legally, by heading a ball away or making a legal tackle, but if you figure you can't do that, you'll do it by fouling: you either hack the player down, or stop a ball with your hands on the line. They're both fouls, they both attract a penalty and - if the referee deems that you saved a certain goal - they both attract a red card. So if it's early in the game or if your team is ahead by two it may be unwise to leave the team undermanned in exchange for a slight reduction in the chances of a goal. At any rate, those are your options. And letting the ball go in isn't the popular one.

    It had never happened before in this particular way - in the last minute of extra time of a world cup quarterfinal - but deliberate hand-balls in the penalty box happen all the time. Australia did it twice in three games this year. On neither occasion the culprit was called a cheat, even though the second time the ref didn't spot it and it cost another team access to the round of sixteen. Yet Suarez gets called a cheat, for reasons that border on the mysterious. Although as in the case of Italy and diving I don't discount that a certain amount of racial profiling comes into it.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    that's an entirely shallow way of reading, and quite without any attempt to understand the mores of the sport.

    Sorry, I didn't realise you needed a Football union card to post on this blog.

    Yet Suarez gets called a cheat, for reasons that border on the mysterious.

    I think def. 5 covers it.

    –verb (used with object)
    1. to defraud; swindle:
    2. to deceive; influence by fraud:
    3. to elude; deprive of something expected:
    –verb (used without object)
    4. to practice fraud or deceit:
    5. to violate rules or regulations: He cheats at Football (sic).

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Phew.....at least I didn't call him a cheat. Yes, he did break a "law" of football. But....

    if the referee deems that you saved a certain goal

    Hmmm...what about the "last player" bringing down a bloke on the way to the goal? That too attracts a red card for basically denying a guy a "fair" shot at the goal. Nothing "certain" about that.

    Dare I say the other guy in the goal nearly used his hand - or at least his arm - as well? He certainly flashed it at the ball.....but.... did he miss?? Love to ask him.

    As I said. GREAT drama.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1497 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Flash back to the away leg of the All Whites tie against Bahrain. We’d held on for 90 minutes in 40 deg heat, and had one foot on the plane to South Africa.

    Bahrain got a break just on our side of half way, and headed off for goal. What did Nelsen do? He brought the player down from behind. He got a yellow for it but he knew exactly what he was doing and decided it was the right thing to do for the team.

    I’ve never seen him getting bagged for that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Sorry, I didn't realise you needed a Football union card to post on this blog.

    Oh, bollocks. And furthermore, you know that it's bollocks. All that some people here are saying is that you need to make a little more of an effort to understand the culture of a sport before you accuse somebody of cheating.

    And your clever use of the dictionary notwithstanding, a person who commits a professional foul in football is not a cheater. Has never been, will never be.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    We're just arguing definitions here.

    If it's the broad definition - to break the rules - then Suarez cheated, and so do many other players in nearly every game. And in many other sports (batsmen who don't walk, rugby players in the ruck, etc).

    Some don't get punished for it. Suarez did. Rightly so.

    That's about it, really.

    (There is the separate issue of Suarez behaving like a dick afterwards, rather than looking sheepish and/or delivering a PR-scripted fake-apology, but I can't get too worked up about that myself).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    So a professional foul, in football, rugby, tiddlywinks, is not cheating?
    If you say so.

    Incidentally, I'm not entirely alone in this view, FWIW.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Apart from the fact that it's a barely coherent blog post, you'll note that it's not about Suarez, nor is it about professional fouling.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    So... does anything count as cheating, in football?


    Note: not being facetious; genuinely still struggling to understand your position.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    understand the culture of a sport

    Well it has been an eye opener and I'm sure to be more understanding now when the same moral elasticity is applied to events off the field. Raising another generation of relaxed merchant bankers, eh.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    So... does anything count as cheating, in football?

    Well, yes, and I listed a whole damn bunch of those things up thread.

    (And Sacha, look, it isn't moral elasticity; it's a set of morals you disagree with, a different kind of thing.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1376 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    So... does anything count as cheating, in football?

    Scoring a goal with your hand and then, when the ref points to the kick-off restart, not saying anything: cheating. Simulating a foul, getting e penalty out of it and not saying anything when it's awarded: cheating. There are a lot of small instances like that in every football game: claiming it should be a throw-in for your team when you know it isn't, etc. That's cheating, albeit minor, and irritating as hell. What Suarez did wasn't cheating. It was fouling and getting caught and benig promptly and appropriately penalised for it.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • bmk,

    I don't see how anyone would have done anything different to Suarez. You're standing on the goal line and the ball is about to go into the net putting you out of the world cup, of course you are going to stop it anyway you can. Are all the people who are judging him saying they would have just watched the ball go into the net?

    Since Jun 2010 • 323 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Well, yes, and I listed a whole damn bunch of those things up thread.

    Settle down. Also, no you didn't. You listed some of "the real sins of football", and since much of the list is not "cheating" at all, then how can one be expected to know that that's what you're talking about?

    There are a lot of small instances like that in every football game: claiming it should be a throw-in for your team when you know it isn't, etc.

    Okay, starting to get it.

    Anyhow, as I said yesterday, whether it's "cheating" or not is really beside the point - and I'm willing to retract the accusation on the grounds that we can't really know if it was deliberate or instinctive.

    As I said, the real villains are FIFA who allow a rule that punishes the infringed-against more than it does the infringer. That's messed up.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Minor point: Fifa doesn't write the Laws of the Game; that's done by IFAB. Fifa have four seats on IFAB, and the Home Nations one each. Fifa do set the suspension that Suarez gets, but.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1376 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Minor point:

    Fair enough.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Just for perspective, I played waterpolo goalkeeper for 20 years. Professional fouling is a constant part of the game. It is not allowed to push the ball underwater, but I must have done it 200 times to prevent a certain goal. Every time a penalty shot was awarded, and 9 out 10 of them went in. But that other one made it worthwhile overall. No one ever raised an eyebrow - they were just stoked to get a penalty shot, and a major foul awarded against the specialist goalie. It was never brought up that the penalty was not severe enough, even though I did it in several games which came down to a one point difference, and the penalty save could be attributed to be the game breaker (if you are prepared to ignore everything else that happened in the game).

    The overall lower number of goals scored in soccer tend to make people see fouls in the goal area as huge crimes. I see them just like Gio - part of the game as it is defined and played by professionals. Yes, handballing likely goals is encouraged because of this. The solution is to slot the bloody penalty. Or slam the ball in the corner so it can't be handballed in the first place. Or to score more goals, make more saves of your own.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    As simon g said, it comes down to the definition of cheating. I note that the sense recordari offers from a dictionary is one of 5 in that entry, and that some of the others require an element of fraud or deception.

    I don't think the analogy with the criminal mismanagement of finance companies is at all apt. Investors were deceived and did not expect malfeasance, which behaviour attracts moral opprobrium from everyone.

    Professional footballers, and their fans, accept and expect fouling, and effectively sign up for it when they choose to participate.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • BlairMacca,

    Wow who knew a hand ball in a football game between two countries miles away from NZ could elicit such venom???
    Look whats done is done. Shouldn't we focus on the fact that we have two mouth watering semi's coming up????

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 201 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I don't think the analogy with the criminal mismanagement of finance companies is at all apt.

    No laws were broken in Hanover's case, were they? So it's an even lower standard than Suarez's action. If you asked investors or Ghanaian fans, I imagine you'd hear similar expressions of their deep admiration for the fine and upstanding human beings playing the game to its rules at their cost.

    But they should really be addressing the regulators who allow it - and the defenders of such conduct who set the public mood that regulators and politicians respond to. All just a laugh, innit.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Wow who knew a hand ball in a football game between two countries miles away from NZ could elicit such venom???

    Look, I just can't quite get past the fact that the weather in Wellington has been better than Auckland over the past few days, which is clearly against the rules, and should be called 'cheating' by any reasonable definition.

    And maybe I'm one of those parents who gets annoyed when 8th grade players hang around the goal mouth preventing those brilliant moments when a young footballer breaks through the last line of defence on half way, charges up the field and scores a brilliant goal (or invariably kicks the ball from too far out and misses), with great celebrations all through the team.

    So sue me. Like I said somewhere up thread, my heart says 'cheat' while me head says 'you really should lighten up'.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    When we were young we played to the spirit of the game. When we got competitive we played to the rules of the game. When we get old we play to the spirit of the game.

    I think one of the classic examples are the "Walkers" or "Don't walkers" in cricket. The walkers will accept the play before the umpire adjudicates. The don'ts wait for the umpire to wave the finger....or not....

    So if the umpire doesn't see it but everyone else on the field does, does that make the batsman a cheat?

    Isn't that why there is an umpire?

    I have been reluctant to use the word "sportsmanship" but I think it might cover all those aspects of sport when we play to the spirit of the game. And it is present even at WC level with teams kicking the ball back to the opposition after an injury break. A small but very significant happening that enrages everyone if it is abused.

    But even I have to admit that once the competitive juices are flowing, be it inside the athlete, the coach or the spectators, then we all have to accept the rules and, especially, the way they are adjudicated. It comes down to human senses and decision making (of all parties) and we are not perfect. - especially when we are stressed. As all those involved in any game at this level certainly were, are and will be.

    After all......its just a game.....eh?

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1497 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    For some reason I feel compelled to play 'Love is a battlefield', but won't.
    Well mostly not;

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Chapman,

    Without worrying about what constitutes cheating exactly, surely the fact that a red-card offense typically carries a suspension, that is, an actual punishment beyond the game in progress, indicates that it is something that is discouraged and hence beyond the boundaries of the game.

    In comparison, it is much easier to interpret an infraction as part of the game, since a free kick doesn't do much more than balance any advantage that might have been gained by the infraction (and a free kick isn't even awarded if the fouled team has the advantage).

    I think we can be justified in not respecting a player who does something that gets a red card.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 132 posts Report Reply

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