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What I think about … cheating

As of today (21-June-2010) we are about 2/3 through the qualification round of the FIFA World Cup. I watched two games yesterday, and both were marred by cheating that was rewarded.

I have an interesting perspective, as I referee a lot of water polo. Water polo has a similar outlook as soccer, in that trivial fouls or fouls that don’t take away advantage are not called. However, unlike soccer, while there is plenty of grabbing and holding, there isn’t the same “cheating” ethic. A water polo player who gets a rep as a faker will just not get calls. Further, water polo referees interpret a player giving in too easily to contact as giving away the advantage rather than it being taken, so no foul is called.

Players are going to work the referees until the referees and the the leagues do something about it.

Specifically for soccer .. I would like to see the sanctioning authority for professional competitions review games and apply penalties for blatant cheating such as those we saw today. Of course game results can’t be changed, but severe suspensions for clear cheating will have a big impact. Hoping that the referee will catch it is not good enough.

In doing some review for the post I found this blog post on His suggestion .. red card for diving. I don’t think that is enough; in fact I think it will do more harm than good, as referees will hesitate to make the call. I like the retroactive punishment better.

2010 World Cup Cheating ..

** Italy (v. New Zealand) – 20-June-2010

Italian Daniele De Rossi was driving toward the far post on a corner kick, felt a whisper of a tug on his sleeve from Kiwi Tommy Smith, and flopped as if he were shot. The referee (Uruguayan Carlos Batres) bought it and awarded the penalty. The Azzurri are well known for their theatrics, yet it seems to work.

** Brazil and Ivory Coast – 20-June-2010

This game had scurrilous cheating from both sides. Brazil’s second goal came only after Luis Fabiano used his hands TWICE to control the ball before scoring. It didn’t impact the outcome (thankfully). Then, Ivory Coast winger Kader Keita gave the worst bit cheating to date when he ran at Kaka off the ball. His chest collided with Kaka’s arm and he fell to the ground clutching his face. A face that never came into contact with Kaka. Disgraceful. But the referee bought it, and gave Kaka his second yellow, and early shower, and a suspension for the Brazil/Portugal game, possibly the most intriguing game in the preliminaries! I hope that FIFA rescinds the yellow or waives the suspension.

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