Stop the Cheats and Reclaim Our Game

The decisive moment in Sunday’s encounter at Old Trafford perfectly highlighted everything that is corroding our game.

That Ashley Young’s blatant offside position was not picked up by yet another incompetent official was bad enough; Young throwing himself to the ground feeling the slightest touch from Shaun Derry, whose only crime was to have the audacity to be on the field of play, was an absolute disgrace. The decision of Lee Mason – who’s not shy when ir comes to awarding a penalty – to give a spot kick and to compound it with a red card was unfathomable.

The standards of refereeing in this country are poor. Whether they’re perceived as poor due to increased TV scrutiny is irrelevant. There are too many decisions being called incorrectly.

The players, however, aren’t helping one bit. They have, in my opinion, a duty to play by the rules. By all means go down if you’re hit. But stay on your feet if you can. And don’t pretend you’ve been hurt when you haven’t.

Of course, that’s never going to happen now; not voluntarily anyway. Therefore retrospective action is required. Five game bans for any player found guilty of diving, or even exaggerating a foul, and points deductions for clubs whose players offend more than three times, would quickly eradicate this issue which is ruining our game. Yes, ruining.

Dzeko and Perch last week, Young this week; all cheating, all trying to influence the referee, all trying to get something that they’re not entitled to. Joey Barton set the standard in the first game of the season, ‘making sure the referee saw’ that Gervinho had touched him (after Barton incited him in the first place), exaggerating contact that wouldn’t have hurt a toddler. It’s absolutely pathetic. Play the game, stop trying to cheat. Let the referee make the calls, based on reasonable, not fraudulent evidence.

If you misrepresented evidence in court you’d be found guilty of contempt, and that’s precisely what these cheats are doing in football. They are in contempt of our game. And they need to be stopped. Now. Retrospective bans and points deductions may sound a hard line to take, but if the authorities don’t act now, our game will be lost for ever to the cheats, fakes and frauds.


About the author

Martin Wanless is a publishing professional with over 12 years' experience. He currently runs the editorial department of Sydney-based Mahlab Media, after moving to Australia from the UK in 2010, and enjoys watching, reading and writing about sport in his spare time. An avid watcher of the Premier League, Martin can be found in the early hours of every Sunday morning watching Premier League matches live with matchsticks propping open his eyes.


Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/martywan



2 Comments

  • How come NO one is saying anything about Chelsea off side goal on Saturday!!!!!!
    and all the other off sides they get from past games ie Drogba against Manu !!! etc. etc. etc.
    Its ONLY blown when its Man United.
    Jealousy is what it is

  • Garry Marshall – I’d say the Chelsea situation is different. They scored 2 offside goals, yes, but it’s hard to say they cheated as such. The old adage is “play to the whistle”. Ivanovic and Mata did exactly that in sticking the ball in the net. The goals should have been ruled out, it isn’t their fault that the linesman made 2 mistakes.

    The Young case is different because he dived to win a penalty. Yes, he was offside too and again it’s not his fault that wasn’t called, however he made the decision to go tumbling over at the slightest of touches from Shaun Derry.

    I’m a United fan by the way, and this is nothing to do with jealousy. It’s about putting a stop to diving no matter who does it – whether it’s Young, Perch, Barton, Dzeko, Suarez, Gerrard or Bale. It’s nothing whatsoever to do with club loyalties.