Saturday, July 3, 2010

Embellishment and Cheating

One of the more frustrating aspects of the World Cup is the impact of embellishment on the game. Football is a physical game played at a fast pace. When running at full speed, getting bumped can take you down; when you get kicked, it hurts; an elbow to the face is going to leave a mark.

The result of this contact is that the referee blows his whistle and stops play. From here we get a foul, perhaps a card, and it goes from there.

So there is a big reward for a player that can appear to have taken the worst of it when they may not have been touched at all. At a minimum they get to stop the momentum of the game but the real payday could be getting an opponent red carded and ejected.

Technically, embellishment is a cardable foul but the speed of the game and the angles of the ref make the chances of getting it wrong as likely as getting it right. So it's a card that stays in the pocket most of the time.

In the fallout of Saurez's handball in the box, it turns out that FIFA has a disciplinary committee whose job it is to review games and player infractions and that FIFA also has rules that "call for suspensions of 'at least one match' if the panel finds a player guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct toward an opponent."

What can be more unsportsmanlike than faking something that didn't occur and deceiving the ref? Where the heck is the Disciplinary Committee on this topic? How many games would some of top players have had to sit out if the panel was watching the same game tape we do? What would the impact of this type of post game review have on the outbreak of acting we've seen at too many football games?

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