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Home   /   Crossing the line in sport: Is cheating always wrong?

A classic example is Arjen Robben in the 2014 World Cup round of 16 between Netherlands and Mexico in which he received the slightest of touches to the toe of his right foot inside the opposition penalty box, and he proceeded to leap in the air like an Olympic diver with arms and legs spread apart until he flopped to the floor.

This ridiculous moment ended up winning his team the penalty and eventually the game, knocking Mexico out of the world cup and sending the Netherlands through to the quarter final.

This act of cheating is frowned upon by everyone within the football world, however had he not dived he wouldn’t have won the penalty and potentially not made it through the round of 16, so you can see why he did it, tempting the argument whether it was wrong or not.

Diving in football is one of the most controversial topics in sport as a whole, and not just football and is debated almost week in week out on numerous occasions on whether it is cheating or just morally wrong.

Going down to win a foul without contact from an opposing player is obviously cheating and should always result in a yellow card for the offender, however receiving minimal contact and overexaggerating a dive in order to win a foul is a much more difficult argument to make, as sometimes contact that is wort a foul is only given when the player hits the floor.

This kind of cheating is obviously wrong on a moral standpoint as the player is often pretending the contact is heavier than it is to benefit their team, yet if that is what the player has to do in order to win a game of football then it is hard to argue against doing it if you were in that same situation. The balance is very fine, and this is why the controversial topic is debated regularly week in week out.

Whether something is cheating or not has always and always will be a blurred line in sport, as many things fall between out-and-out cheating and the idea of gamesmanship. Breaking the rules is one thing, but should bending the rules to benefit one side also be considered cheating, even when no concrete laws of the game have been broken? In my opinion rule bending is entirely wrong even of the rule technically hasn’t been broken.

Rules should be followed, not broken or bent to give an advantage to one side, because that the defeats the integrity of what sport is about; 2 teams on an equal set of rules trying to win a game against each other.

If one team is bending rules to gain an advantage then the core component of sport is broken and it is no longer fair. Therefore, although balances can be made between the two sides, I can comfortably say that cheating is always wrong as is disrupts the integrity of sport and goes completely against what sport is all about, including the ideals and morals that go along with it.

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April 2024