Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sport is not fair.

I can imagine there will be many people complaining about Luis Suárez this afternoon, after he handled the ball into the back of the net to help Liverpool beat Mansfield. Cries of "cheat" will no doubt be thrown about, and I can empathise with those people as I have been on the wrong end of terrible refereeing/umpiring decisions during my time playing sport, yet it is important to remember one thing when playing sport: it is not fair.

What do I mean? It's it fairly simple, sport is not, nor ever can be fair. If sport was fair, if players confessed to their own fouls and everyone lived happily ever after, there would be no need for officials.  But as we are all aware that is not the case. Indeed there is so much scrutiny over dishonesty in football that in European fixtures, there are now 5 officials watching the game (although I am fairly sure the officials that stand by the goal do nothing).

The desire to win, will often over-ride the desire to do what is right. A business (such as football) is structured around player performance, bonuses for scoring goals and reaching certain rounds of  competitions: why would Suárez say he handled it? What is in it for him? As an individual it's fair to say he does not have an immaculate reputation, so what does he have to lose? Whilst fans of other teams will judge him, Liverpool fans will defend him to the death (as if they stood behind him over racist allegations, I'm sure they can forgive a handball...that helped them win).

I mean this is a worse handball, but that has all been forgotten?

Arsenal fans still think of Henry as a legend...but remember when this happened?

Then there is this link of Steven Taylor (well worth a watch if you have never seen it...he got caught, but its bloody hilarious).

Of course I could go on, the hand of god (all lower case) from Maradona will go down in football history, but that's the point. It is one of those things. Cheating or gamesmanship is just as much a key part of sport as sportsmanship (in fact it would appear gamesmanship is more common). So when something like this happens, just remember sport isn't fair, and never will be, as it is that element of un-certainty that keeps us coming back for more.

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