Cheating Is Spoiling the “Beautiful Game”

Well, it’s finally got to the stage where I have to say something.  I am steadily losing my respect for the “Beautiful Game”.  I am finding it difficult to enjoy watching any soccer game lately…including these World Cup games.  Actually, when I think about it, it’s been bothering me for years and I suppose it has finally reached a tipping point.

I’ve had just about enough of the diving, play acting and pretending by most of the world’s top players.  Let’s be clear about this, it is dishonest, it is cheating.  And it is spoiling the game.

I can’t think of one game I have seen on TV in the English Premier League, Champions League, World Cup and Euro Championships, in the last 5 years where there hasn’t been a plethora of diving and play acting.  Players will fake a dive in the box in the hope of being awarded a penalty kick…cheating.  Players will fake being hit in the face (Kaka incident) to get other players red carded…cheating.  Players will appeal to the ref for a corner or throw-in when they know for a fact, they last touched the ball before it went out…cheating.  Players will roll over 3-4 times on the ground pretending to be in agony when they were barely touched and not hurt…cheating.

This cheating is pervasive in soccer and it seems more so the higher the level of play.  It is ruining the beautiful game and I am losing respect for it.

Obviously the players are okay with this.  They don’t mind being cheated out of games and they don’t feel bad about cheating other teams out of games.  Where is the respect between players?  Where is the code of ethics?  What about the fans?  Seems like they are okay with the fraud and cheating going off with the players in the teams that they support.  The usual response is, “It’s all part of the game”.

Well, no it’s not part of the game.  Cheating, fraud, play acting and the rest of it, in an attempt to win, is NOT part of any game that I know of.

In golf, players will penalize themselves if they break a rule, even if others are not looking.  In rugby, there is no arguing with the refs and no pretending to be hurt to get another player ejected.  Heck, in tennis, before they embraced new technology, some players would tell the ref the ball was in, when it was called as out against their opponent…and a let was played.  So, why all the cheating in soccer?

When I was a kid growing up in England in the 70’s, there wasn’t this play acting/cheating going on in games.  It was actually frowned upon.  When we played games, if we went down pretending to be hurt or embellishing a foul, even our own teammates would shout at us to stop play acting.  If you went down, rolled over 3-4 times and pretended to be hurt, you would be looked at like an idiot…it was embarrassing to try and embellish a foul or being hurt…you would have been ridiculed  In other words, you would be looked at as a CHEAT.  So no one did this.  I don’t even remember instances of this on TV during the professional games in those days.

But now, things have changed.  I don’t know if the BIG money has made the difference or whether the influx of foriegn players in most leagues has made it a regular occurance.

The sad thing is it could be stamped out instantly and I blame FIFA for not doing so.  Retroactive video evidence would practically put an end to all the cheating, fraud, diving, play acting, etc. overnight.  But FIFA won’t even consider this.  And the players just take advantage of the system.

Let’s take the World Cup games for instance.  What if there was a panel of observers who viewed the tape of the game right after the game?  And anyone who in their opinion, based on evidence in the tape, pretended to be fouled when they weren’t, dived to try and get a penalty awarded, held their knee in agony when they were simply pushed over or even appealed for a corner when they clearly touched the ball last for a goal kick, then they should be disciplined.

How they should be disciplined is a whole other topic, but they could be given points, like a red/yellow card system, could be banned from future games if the instance was severe, fined, etc.

So none of this stops the flow of the game…no complaint there.  But it will have the effect of each player knowing their actions will be scrutinized in minute detail and from different angles.

And don’t say it can’t be done.  It is done right now with every NFL game.  Each NFL game is scrutinized after the fact.  Players are even fined if they don’t get called on a foul during the game.  The officials might miss the call (let’s face it, they can’t see everything), but if the player is caught on tape after the fact, doing a major foul on an opponent, especially if that foul is dangerous to the health of the opponent, then he is fined.  There is just no reason that this can’t be done in all the major soccer tournaments and most of the major pro leagues throughout the world.

You could make the argument that this won’t be an option for some minor leagues and youth leagues.  That might be so, but at least it puts a stop to it for the major games and all games on TV.  And the other side effect is that our younger players will not see the fraud and cheating anymore from their role models and it will create a whole new generation of players who don’t have a tendency to cheat to try and win games.

Here’s a test.  For the next World Cup game, count how many times, there is an instance of cheating, over exaguration, diving, pretending, etc.  I would think there will be at least 20.

It’s a disgrace and it’s spoiling the “Beautiful Game”.

About the Author Mike Saif

43 comments
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Brad says July 5, 2010

I completely agree with your comments. While watching these games and trying to get others (NFL/Football fanatics) involved this year, I have been saddened by the focus that has been placed on the drama and theatrics. One friend of mine now refers to soccer as Pro Wrestling #2 because of all the fake injuries and what he calls lack of integrity. I like so many others, wish they would just play the game. As a player at the top level, I would want to spend my career competing rather than laying on the field. I assume that I would also be more dangerous on my feet than grabbing my ankle. I actually applauded the yellow cards given for diving this year…and will continue to do so.

Mike Saif
Mike Saif says July 6, 2010

The only problem with giving yellow cards for diving, is it puts the ref in a tough spot. It’s difficult enough to decide if it’s a foul or not, never mind trying to figure out if the player dived or over reacted. I have actually seen players yellow carded when they were actually fouled.

No, I think the best way is to view the tape of the game and catch the cheats then.

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John says July 6, 2010

Video evidence is used in Rugby after the fact to view any controversy and the refs aren’t disciplined for missing those incidents.

This is how it should happen in football and no punishment should be given to the ref for missing it as he has his hands full as it is.

The cheating and simulation has grown because it wasn’t killed off in it’s infancy,usually in Latin European countries back in the 70’s and in fact it was admired for getting an edge over the opposition.

The only way to stamp it out is to over punish the cheats so that it will make players think twice before trying to con the officials.
There will be a plethora of wrong decisions but it will at least then force FIFA to act.

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Martin says July 7, 2010

I agree with your sentiments Mike. Ever since referees started issuing red cards for elbows to the head the number of players who go down clutching their face in agony when they feel the slightest contact in that area has increased exponentially. Unfortunately what is seen on TV gets copied throughout the game and I am so disheartened when I see it happening on our local park pitches. It is frustrating knowing that those who control the game don’t appear to have the will to change it. Maybe it needs continual pressure from coaching organizations at all levels plus media coverage to get FIFA to take some action. As we have seen with the goal line technology issue it is only when everyone else cries out for action that Sepp Blatter jumps on the bandwagon.

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Shane Best says July 12, 2010

Man you are the first person to write what I have been saying for weeks now!! — This is absolutely correct!!

Have a FIFA committee go back and watch tapes of the game – and if someone CHEATS — fine them, their team and dismiss them from the next game. The cheating will stop in an instance if the players know this will happen. Kaka’s card should have been recinded – and the fake actor dismissed from the next international competition and his team fined $100,000 for mocking the sport of soccer.

I have no problem with appealing offsides and corners – but the fake injury and diving is GETTING RIDICULOUS – the Dutch just displayed the dirtiest futbol I have seen in years!! I am burning my dam Dutch football training books and will NEVER again buy anything that has anything to do with Dutch football. That display during the FINAL was a disgrace to the game and every true Dutchman should hide their face in SHAME! A mockery of the game. These overpaid crybaby players are making a mockery of the game. FIFA must do something now!!

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Shane Best says July 12, 2010

Thank Goodness — players and most fans in the United States still look at the PETTY faking injury as being a COMPLETE Wimp!

I don’t teach my kids to play that way – and coaches across the US please don’t coach them to do that! Teach them it is a sham and makes a mockery of the game – teach them to get up and play like a competitor – NOT A WIMP. The Italians, then the French, now the Dutch and Spanish – they are all SHAMEING this sport!

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Bud says July 12, 2010

Bravo—Mike I couldn’t agree more—It is ruining a beautiful game and hopefully someone with FIFA will realize it is killing the game (the players won’t ever realize). FIFA must get a handle on this and I agree that watching the game afterwards and assessing penalties will clean their act up and then will filter down to the kids coming up

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Mike Horner says July 12, 2010

I echo all of your sentiments Mike, but I like immediate consequences for actions. How about this: Any time the referee must ask a player on the ground about his condition, he must leave the field for 5 minutes and any player removed via stretcher may not return for 10 minutes. This is an adaptation of the rules for high school in Michigan where all yellow carded players must sit for 10 minutes. Perhaps that’s not a bad idea at the FIFA level also. 10 minutes in the “penalty box” should stop a lot of the dirty play.

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Pat Pawlowski says July 12, 2010

Soccer is hurting it’s own pocketbook. The US will never fully embrace the diving, antics and the ridiculous officiating the world Cup has shown. If you want US market share:

Add post game review with game disqualification & fines

Add another yellow card and each card carries 5 minutes out of the game for the player and a fine

Add post game review of officiating with salary review for poor offciating.

Add sanctions to coaches/manager for the conduct of players.

Add instant replay for limited circumstances such as goals.

FIFA either is clueless or too arrogant to care.

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sam says July 12, 2010

It seems the problem is that the people in FIFA that can make the changes either have no back bone and should be replaced with a more pro active group or they are just too old to care. I beleive a pro active FIFA governing body could sit down with heads of the associations from major football countries of the world to fix this problem before we start loosing fans or FIFA becomes a lame duck as a world football governing body. The kids I coach know they will be pulled imediately if they pay this knid of game.
cheers mike

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Al says July 13, 2010

I totally agree and think most fans would too. When passionate fans agree with this, can you imagine how the average American sees all this. A total joke. So what can we do about it. What grass roots program can you lead to make FIFA see the error here.

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Mike Troup says July 13, 2010

Great article! Right on the money. FIFA is a damn disgrace. If any of my players try this crap, they are pulled off the field instantly!!
The reason a ref was put on the field when games were first formally played is because he could be closer to the game and police it.

Now, technology means that the fan on his couch is actually closer to the game than the referee, in that he can see all the action from multiple angles at varying speeds. I have always advocated that the head referee should, in fact, be in the booth, monitoring the action.

If he is not allowed to call down an infringement, then he at least should be able to fine or penalize the player after the game.

How about if a penalty kick is given for what is determined to be a dive, a ‘makeup’ penalty is given to the victimized team, plus a red card to the diver. THAT should stop all this nonsense! That, and show it on the big screen if it is a stadium with that kind of setup- that would further shame the diver… are you listening, Edwardo, Ronaldo, DE ROSSI?

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Tim Peabody says July 13, 2010

Great Article. Still we as Coaches have an even greater responsibility to the game. The Beautiful game was not meant to be filled with numerous slide tackles, mug and tugs on corner kicks, dive, flail that escalate into nothing more than a manipulation of the referee who may or may not be competent. But if you reduce the game to a “basic” battle then the skill, artistry and fitness which makes the sport is lost. Everyone who witnessed the WC Final actually heard “expert announcers” refer to the “Dutch Strategy” of physical play. I believe the coach reduced the the highly talented Dutch team to a bunch of Hatchett men who thought that intimidation was a strategy. Well the game was victimized, the players from Spain became partners in the crime, returning the dirty play and ulitmately we had a final that became a game played by the talented players of two of the Worlds Finest Countries (and who have provided some of the best Coaches) but reduced to a WWE wrestling extravagaza in which the winner was the all hating soccer public in America who find the game a miserable excuse for a sport. A bunch of pretenders with only the winner to be determined by a penalty faked by one of the players, or by some who raised their hand for off sides so the 3rd official raises his flag even thought the player remains on side. In the end we got a real goal only after a sending off, by the official, much critisized for what I don’t know. Take Michigan’s High school rule a player gets taken off, sit for 5 minutes, a yellow card ten minutes, and if the team gets 5 yellows then the coach must take one player off the field for 15 minutes? Maybe its the American in me but the whole thing should be controlled by the Coach. In 25 years I have had 3 players get yellow cards, they sat after that, no red cards. Players don’t dive because they will be taken out of the game, simply put CHEATING IS NOT ALLOWEED. As adults and PARENTS you must BE THE EXAMPLE.

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Mike Kemlock says July 13, 2010

Mike,

Congratulations for saying what needs said. I am a youth coach, a youth referee and a high school referee. I do not teach flopping as a coach and as a fereree I have given a couple of yellow cards for unsporting behavior (flopping). I have been a proponent for the Dutch method of playing soccer, but needless to say I am ashamed to say I am a Dutch fan. Thank you for your honesty!

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Peter R. Butler says July 14, 2010

Great article! My thought is that now every time a player goes to the ground it is either a foul or a dive….sometimes a player just loses his balance. The acid test should be if he ‘appeals’ to the referee for a foul! The biggest incident of ‘cheating’ in this World Cup was the ‘goal’ that was not given to England against Germany. When the German goalkeeper actually boasted after the match that he ‘sold’ the officials after knowing the ball had crossed the line. He should not have been allowed to play another game of international football, period!

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mick says July 14, 2010

I agree that the cheating is spoiling the game as coaches at amateur level we can try and stop youngsters from going down this track but I think in the professional game I would like to see the Players organisations handing out some discipline as its their members who are cheating their members. The cheating comes in many forms from foul throws, asking for throws when your the person who as knocked the ball out (is this something that as been instilled by managers “shout for everything mentality”), pulling shirts etc,what really annoys me is this new fad of trying to rugby tackle the oppostion at corners – I would ask referees to start giving penalities it would soon start to hit home. The sad thing about it all is that youngsters copy and we have to explain that its not the way to play the beautiful game. The biggest football competition in the world as just finished with a final that instead of being a spectical for the type of football we expect to see from two great teams was ruined by cheating.

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Dave Schenk says July 14, 2010

Good stuff. I have been a fan of Dutch soccer since I was a little boy (my parents having moved from Holland to Canada as youngsters)but I was never more disappointed than with their play in the WC finals.

They played like a bunch of hooligans and should have had players sent off much earlier than they did. The GAME is being ruined by dirty play and diving (Arjen Robben), use the technology available to make the game BEAUTIFUL once again!!

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iheartsocker says July 14, 2010

and add shirt grabbing and using arms to corral and grab during corner kicks

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Ron says July 14, 2010

Great article and I think this is easier than most of us think. Most FA organizations allow the contesting of a red card via video evidence for a player who feels the penalty was too harsh. They need to take it one step further and use the video to find the cheating that was missed during the game. If the cheating incident led to the team winning the game (ie a penalty awarded for a dive), I say take the points away for the win. I don’t want to see the game replayed, extended or any other artificial delays, just a proper penalty for the action. Just think how a player who cost his team 3 points woudl be treated by his teammates and fans…

In time, coaches will eliminate it on their own team because it will effect their ability to win and more importantly for their team to avoid relegation and to get paid… which is really what this all boils down to. Winning=Revenue.

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Mark F says July 14, 2010

I couldn’t agree more as I hate the cheating. My 11 & 12 year old players ask me about this all the time. They wonder why it’s part of the game when it is so obvious that it is cheating. NIKE put out an ad after the World Cup USA loss congratulating the USA team and addressing diving from a youth player view. I thought it was appropriate.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hN3efui2fM&feature=player_embedded

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Jim Haley, Jr. says July 14, 2010

I agree 100 % ! Enough of the cheating-that is what it is-cheating. Juilliard has less
drama than the World Cup!

I have seen it on the high school level as well. I make it abundantly clear that if any of our players-they are pulled immediately.

Years ago, professional athletes set better examples on and off the field. Some team members have asked me why do I get upset with integrity violations-because “everyone does it.” My answer is that I don’t expect perfection-but I won’t tolerate integrity violations/cheating from our team.

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Greg says July 14, 2010

Agree with the intent of the article and need for FIFA to change, but there is no need to wait until after a game. With the communication now in place for the referees, have a sideline official immediately review instances of a “dive” while play continues (I am less concerned with the calls for touches out of play), and if a clear violation or fake is seen, radio the center referee such that at the next stoppage of play, a yellow card is shown to the offending player for diving. That is immediate, has a direct impact on the game being played and, I believe, would reduce the instances of such performances quite quickly. You may even regain team peer pressure to stop the action becuase no one wants to take the risk of having their team go a man down because a teammate picked up an early yellow for faking a foul. It’s up to FIFA to drive the change.

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Mike Gomez says July 14, 2010

Excellent post! I couldn’t agree with you more. You articulated well the frustration I and my friends have been feeling over the past several years. This type of cheating is changing the complexion of the game in a very very negative way to the point that this is no longer the sport I grew up playing or want to watch! Like all of you, I’m embarrassed when my non-soccer friends see this tactic/behavior and politely ask me about it. FIFA must act now to reverse this horrific trend or it truly will no longer be the beautiful game.

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Brian says July 14, 2010

I agree to some extent but here’s what amazes me. People complain incessantly about the cheating that is diving and other fakery, demanding that such cheats be tarred and feathered. But how often do you hear people complain about the other forms of cheating like shirt grabbing, holding, pushing, mugging, bone crunching tackles and other cheap shots?

Attacking players feel that their diving isn’t cheating, but rather only evens out the rampant cheating committed by defending players.

BOTH are cheating and BOTH need to be stamped out. But you can’t eliminate one while ignoring the other.

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Jim Haley, Jr. says July 15, 2010

I agree 100 % ! Enough of the cheating-that is what it is-cheating. Juilliard has less
drama than the World Cup!

I have seen it on the high school level as well. I make it abundantly clear that if any of our players-take a dive or fake an injury* (correction to original post)-they are pulled immediately.

Years ago, professional athletes set better examples on and off the field. Some team members have asked me why do I get upset with integrity violations-because “everyone does it.” My answer is that I don’t expect perfection-but I won’t tolerate integrity violations/cheating from our team.

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Jack Roo says July 15, 2010

You always get what you deserve eventually, this is a law of the universe and the game has put this law on display in its various forms for the whole course of human history. Brazil won in 2002 but what of Rivaldo? He is a laughing stock to this day. You win or lose as a team but you cheat as an individual. Do not lose faith in the beautiful game, it is far greater than all that.

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EDDY says July 15, 2010

I completely agree and have been thinking the same for a few
years. Retrospective cards, issued after the game by the referee watching a replay. This would soon get managers instructing players not to do it, for fear of their players being banned and missing games. Whereas at the moment Managers allow it, as they know the majority of the time players are getting away with it. Come on let honesty prevail.

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Pete Bolin says July 15, 2010

1984 started it all with the “hand of God” goal. Been getting worse ever since. Why? Because cheating WORKS! A simple video replay would have corrected that and sent a message. But the rotten cheat who committed the maleficence was recently rewarded with a four year contract extension. All why clutching to his rosary beads which he probably doesn’t know who to use. Cheats at that as well.

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EDDY PLANT says July 15, 2010

I agree entirely with your comment, but not only is it spoiling the beautiful game, in my opinion it is also preventing the development of skillful players. Surely
skill should be rewarded with succes. Not with the players
being pushed, pulled, blocked. For the good of football please lets see something done about it. How many signatures
could we all get supporting this and presenting it through
the press to FIFA. Worth a try ??

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jason says July 15, 2010

I completely disagree…. yeah I said it.
I don’t enjoy the exuberant flopping or the play acting that comes with players trying to get players sent off like in the case of Kaka. But why is everyone so influenced by the English commentators. Its typical american style to try and make something fit their own style. Its part of the history of the game. Back in the day players were fouled out of games and refs and fifa wouldn’t make changes, players started to help them. Sure its become a bit annoying but its the natural evolution of the game. Its easy to criticize sitting in your cozy chair watching slow motion replays (that are not that accurate) but to be running full speed with a defender hunting you down waiting for his moment to tackle you and hope he gets enough of the ball so the ref doesn’t call him on it, and you are left with a decision to let him snap your ankle or instinctively preserve your health and move out of the way and lose the ball? Hmmm what would you do? We all know we would resort to moving out of the way. Having said that I don’t think you can change it. The only cultures that really don’t like it are the English and the Dutch from what I understand, but we all know they do it still. Notice the English commentators where are mad at other countries and when their own players did it, it was always a foul. Pathetic!
If you want to see less diving you will have to take tackling out and that is a part of the game.
For me diving is not cheating….actually the beauty of the this game is that its only against the rules if the ref says so. It needs to stay that way and we need to have better referee’s.

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GACampbell says July 15, 2010

I was greatly disappointed in the World Cup games that I watched. The game has been ruined by the over paid athletes who play the game. They have grown up being told, “Whatever it takes to win”. They have done just that! Faking an injury. Taking a fall to get the call. Whatever happened to playing bloody and broken? Just play the game and stop whining. Fans would enjoy more hard work by an entire team, resulting in more goals, than a single goal game with yellow and red flashes for 90 plus minutes.

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Kimberly Walsh says July 15, 2010

LOL… I find this part of your “statement” interesting…
“Its easy to criticize sitting in your cozy chair watching slow motion replays (that are not that accurate) but to be running full speed with a defender hunting you down waiting for his moment to tackle you and hope he gets enough of the ball so the ref doesn’t call him on it, and you are left with a decision to let him snap your ankle or instinctively preserve your health and move out of the way and lose the ball? Hmmm what would you do? We all know we would resort to moving out of the way.”
THe presumption that those that do not like the diving and the cheating in general are only “sofa sitters” is comical. and your running down the field senario.. LOL.. really?… Is anyone under the impression that people dive so they will not be hurt? REally? players dive to gain an unfair advantage. It is unsportsmanlike conduct at the very least. Unfortunately, I feel that the increase in cheatin in Football is a by product of the lack of morality in our society. People cheat at everything and rationalize their behavior like “Jason”… It is completely contradictory to have children march out before our big matches with our FIFA Fair Play flags and then carry on cheating on the field…Football is life… there are rules… play fair

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Mark says July 16, 2010

The main problem is FIFA. They do not want video reply or professional ref’s. When you put world class soccer players with amatuer referee’s things are going to go very wrong. So you ask why does FIFA expose themselves. International soccer is about money- that is the bottom line-top teams in each confederation of FIFA are given preference in qualifying by recieving byes in the first rounds, certain teams regularly recieve easy qualifying groups. Example T&T & Jamaica in the carribien, no wonder Jack Warner(T&T) VP of FIFA has always controled this area and these two teams never meet in knockout stages only in the group stages.This also happens regularly in the backwater confederations like Africa & Asia. FIFA is corrupt and trys to manipulate results. Ex. Ireland vs.France-Henry confesses to his hand ball it is seen clearly on television and yet there is not a replay of the game!!! France was FIFA’s choice to go to the finals and Ireland suffered as a result. How difficult would it have been to have replay of the match @ nuetral site or to punish France for cheating and awarding the game to Ireland. The culture of cheating starts at the very top of the chain in Zurich. Grugdingly Mr Blatter will agree to goal line technology for major tournaments he will fight all other innvoations to maintain a certain control in manipulating results. Referee’s are poorly paid ,trained and treated by FIFA it is no wonder that there have been involved in betting scandals in Germany, Greece, Bulgaria and many of the eastern european leagues. Make a referee’s union apart from FIFA, pay them well ,give them proper and constant training, let them govern themselves as far as punishing ref’s for poor work have an indepedant body like interpol monitor suspected involvement with organized crime. These scandals create a firm distrust of the fans and players for referee’s. If a ref makes a few poor calls in many places of the world the fan’s and players sense something is not right and a fix is on. This perception is FIFA’s fault and no wonder there is little respect for the officials.They are marginalized by FIFA and when it goes really wrong they are banished . This is how FIFA covers its tracks. In the end cheating has become part of the culture of soccer and it will be a mighty struggle to correct it. There is a man who might be able to fix this problem ,Michel Platini who wants to level the playing field in Europe with drastic reforms especially for international tournaments like champions league. If the day comes that he assumes the presidency of FIFA president we may see some change. In the meantime hang on it is only going to get uglier and filter down to our youth ranks as our young players follow thier “hero’s” example of “fair play.”

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Eddie says July 16, 2010

Great article.

FIFA needs to understand that the lack of honor and integrity in the game is affecting its adoption and popularity in the United States, and disaffecting true soccerites everywhere. Stressing respect, saying no to racism, and integrity should be promoted at the same levels. Conduct reviews are in fact sorely needed with the current state of the world game.

If leading players would organize their own campaign to elevate the integrity among themseleves, that would be even better.

Comments suggesting better refs are needed – and that play acting to draw fouls and inflate disciplined are simply part of the game – are misguided. The ref team is there to conduct the match making minimal interference in play, by making necessary decisions. Suggesting that the refs, or their lack of omnipresence, are responsible for the disgusting acting displays is absurd. Whether a player’s action are completely fabricated, exaggerating minor contact, or simply allowing themselves to go to ground — it is all a part of “title” soccer — and should be discouraged/eliminated. Refs should be juding the merit of a foul, not deciding how much acting was involved.

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Kevin says July 16, 2010

I too have become disenchanted with the unsportsmanlike conduct in this game. With a game that puts on a “show” of sportsmanship before each game with the handshakes – post game handshakes, post game jersey trades, kicking the ball out of bounds when a player is injured and having it returned to your team when the play resumes – it is a game that still has potential to be the most gentlemanly of all.

Due to the diving, referees are always in a bind. At a minimum of contact players fly through the air as if hit by a car, and writhe in pain as if extremities were missing – only to bounce back up after a time(which is being wasted – different topic) to put on a run down the field as if they were never touched (because they werent).

I have an in-game solution. Anytime a player is injured enough to roll around on the floor to stop the game – he must leave the field for a 1 minute of play, or be subbed out. Immediately puts pressure on players to play through the minor bumps and should all but stop the diving and rolling. This hurts the legitimately injured you say. You are right, however take the injury time to see how they are, then you get one more minute to see if they can still go. If you fake injury will you risk the time off the field after long?

Additionally – video review of the game for “non” fouls should be started immediately. How many times was there no, nil, zero, absolute zero contact and players flop? Too many. How many times were players given cards for phantoms actions? Video review should be completed to find the offenders and penalize them – also to remove any cards that were given to players as a result of these calls.

Late game injuries by the team leading need to be address also. How many times have you seen a player simply sit down after a challenge and complain about an injury – trying to waste time. Rules should be created to ADD time to the clock when this happens – not just the injury time back – but add 30 seconds + the injury time for every injury by the leading team.

Under no circumstances should the referee be penalized for anything found under video review. He is out there in real time and has but milliseconds to make deicisions. This does not mean his performance should not be reviewed.

There is no solution that is perfect. All suggestions have pro’s and con’s, however a corrective action plan is needed and with that comes some pain. The INTEGRITY of the game is at hand.

With that said – I love this game and I will watch forever – yes forever as I can watch in paradise – mon the hoops.

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Fernando says July 20, 2010

It is awful that there is so much faking and acting but as suggested ‘money’ plays a big roll in all this.

– The ‘need’ to win for the club to do well or survive as players, as in most pro sports, receive undeserved amounts of money in salaries as well as transfer fees from club to club.
– The referees are not allowed to apply the Laws of the Game as intended because there would be too many cards and many players would be ejected which would have a detrimental effect for teams and likely for the game itself. A good example was the karate kick in the World Cup Final by De Jong, a clear red card which would have changed the game completely. It was obvious that Webb, typically a very good referee, had been ‘advised’ as how to proceed with red cards.
With all this big money involved in most pro sports, you can see the referees alowing more contact, pushing, grabbing, cheating, etc. (clearly intructed to do so) to allow for more scoring opportunities and teams with the biggest budgets (and better players) to win more often than not.
There is a place for technology in football but it has to be implemented properly so we do not turn the game into American football where you are stopped (only 11 min per game of actual playing time, the rest are commercials, huddles, etc.) most of the time. The beautiful thing about football is that it flows and the players can be creative.

Implementing instant review would make football (soccer) more successful in the US because it would fit nicely into the American model where the most successful sports, Baseball, American Football, Basketball, etc. are built around time outs and play stoppages so the big money can come in the form of advertising.

So, yes, all this faking, acting and critical referee errors are affecting the game and technology may have a place, however, we need to make sure it is implemented correctly so the game flow and creativity is not spoiled.

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Jim Haley, Jr. says July 21, 2010

Anyone who leaves the field on a stretcher should not return the match.

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Jim Haley, Jr. says July 21, 2010

Anyone who leaves the field on a stretcher should not return to the match.

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Willie says July 22, 2010

I am outraged by the level of cheating in Men’s professional soccer! I live and work in the US where soccer is not completely accepted as a sport, and many of the people who say such comments point to the blatant cheating they see when they watch a microsecond of soccer as they flip through the channels. I am talking about your everyday joe, who knows nothing about soccer, but decides to give it a try when they are watching TV, and wham!! some great soccer athlete is flying through the air looking as though they had been shot, and the replay shows absolutely no contact!! The pro’s need to quit relying on the penalties and play the game, the way it was meant to be played….for fun and sport….no shirt pulling, no “tactical” fouls, no diving, no CHEATING!! Thank you for posting this topic, I hope the pro’s are reading all of the responses that have been posted, maybe they’ll wake up before it’s too late!

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Jim Haley, Jr. says July 23, 2010

I believe the referees need to have the moral courage and integrity to make the right calls. I know it sounds basic, but that is what I believe.

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David Barlos says August 16, 2010

The problem is that cheating works. There is very little downside to faking a foul or trying to fool the referee.

FIFA should review film of professional and international games for the obvious (clearly identifiable) attempts to cheat and FINE and/or suspend the players involved. These players should be labeled as cheats.

If taking off a shirt deserves a yellow card, then intentional cheating should warrant missing games.

Once punishment becomes severe enough at the professional level, the cheating will diminish and filter down to the lower levels.

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Les says August 20, 2010

Let’s get a heavy fine and a penalty for the faking crap.
I suggest putting the fourth official up in a replay booth in lieu of working substituting, and he could give a severity level # 1-2-3 – etc to the head set of the center ref to help him make the right call. 9 out of 10 times he would have been able to see the playback and radio in as the ref is approaching the area that the acting is going on after the whistle and he would rely on the 4-official’s information in dealing with the foul (or – NOT)
keep up the good work.
Les from WESTERLY, RI

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