Book Review

In March 2018, the Australian cricket team was involved in a ball tampering scandal. Cameron Bancroft was caught sandpapering one side of the ball to make it swing more. In the subsequent hoo-hah, even the Australian Prime Minister got involved. The bowler, the captain and the vice-captain got lengthy bans after a long and public investigation.

There are famous cheats in many sports. Drug taking is the most offensive. I just have to write ‘hand of god’ and you know what I am referring to. In fencing, Boris Onischenko wired his sword to record false hits and was disqualified from the 1976 Olympics. In marathons, participants often cheat. In one race, a participant had taken a bus. In another, one person rode in a car for eleven miles.

In football, diving is probably the most common form of cheating. Biting the ears of other players seems more like mental derangement than cheating. We also have exaggerating the impact of a foul or feigning injury.

As far as the spectator is concerned, they pay their money to see a fair game. That’s why we have or will have VAR. Or, should we adopt the attitude that everyone else is at it, so why not our side?

So, I come on to discuss Chicharito’s goal against Fulham. He did celebrate the goal by hugging other teammates. But, if you look at replays of the incident, he doesn’t look happy. Normally, when a player scores a goal, he looks ecstatic.

One couldn’t expect Chicharito to show remorse by going up to the referee and telling him he handled the ball. But I do believe there should be some sort of retrospective penalty for his cheat. It could take the form of a match ban or financial penalty. Perhaps, even a goal deduction.

On a more positive note, let’s recall the time when Di Canio won a FIFA fair play award in 1981, when West Ham played Everton. The Everton goalkeeper, Paul Gerrard, had rushed out of his area to make a challenge and fell injured. As a cross came over, Di Canio caught the ball instead of shooting into an empty net and received a standing ovation from the Goodison crowd.