Do the right thing or take the luck and run?

Club Website ballIt’s not very often that football throws up a moral dilemma but, following Crystal Palace’s ‘goal’ that never was, there’s been one up for discussion this week.

Aside from the inevitable discussions about the use of goal-line technology in the professional game, Palace’s ‘goal’ against Bristol City – the ball bounced back off the stanchion in the corner of the net but was not spotted by the officials – has wider implications for the game as a whole. So, this week’s big question for you lot out there is this:

If your opposition score a goal that everyone sees apart from the match officials, should you do the right thing or just get on with the game?

After all, football is all about goals.  They are the bread and butter, the bottom line, the only stat that matters in a game.  They don’t come along every minute so, if a side has done well enough to break down a defence and fashion a goal, shouldn’t they be rewarded for it?

“But that’s what the referee’s there for!” we can hear half of you scream.  Indeed, it is the responsibility of the referee and his assistants to officiate the game. However, we all know that mistakes are made, particularly in the amateur game where a referee often doesn’t have any assistance from the touchline.

So, should players do more to help the match officials when it’s obvious they’ve got things wrong? Palace boss Neil Warnock was angry that his opposite number Gary Johnson didn’t do more to help the situation and his chairman, Simon Jordan, went so far as to accuse the Bristol City players of cheating.

“The Bristol City players saw what was going on and by saying nothing, that’s cheating,” he said. “The players knew it was a goal, their manager knew it was a goal and they could have done something about it – let us go up the other end and score or something. There is a responsibility for doing the right thing.”

So should the players have to take responsibility for the referee’s mistakes?  Do they have a duty to do the right thing and see that a fair goal is rewarded?

Or is this just part of the game?  The old football cliche says that decisions even themselves out over the season, so is a blatant goal ignored just like any another bad decision? Should players rub their hands together, count their lucky stars and take the good fortune coming their way and do the proverbial runner?

Or should they be responsible for the spirit of the game and ensuring that such oversights are rectified.  Like we said, it’s a big moral question: do the right thing or take the luck and run?

So, it’s over to you – the footballing masses, the voice of the real game.

Cast your vote in the box below or on your club website itself… and don’t forget to let us have your comments.  We want to get the debate going so speak your mind in our comments section below.

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Dan Pope
Writer at Teamer
Freelance writer, editor and copywriter, with a passion for grassroots sport. A right back turned football writer, Dan is the former editor of Club Website and has been lucky enough to work in the field of grassroots and community sport for the last 10 years.

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4 Comments

  1. Dave on August 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    What about all the other decisions refs get wrong? Pro players need to stop cheating themselves ie diving, pushing in the box during corners. Look at vidic today for Man U giving a slap to a player in the box, so should vidic have got a slap back to make up for it? Referees can only rule on what they see. Video referees are the only answer.

  2. Marc Lester on August 29, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    As a referee, I feel that video refereeing is the ONLY way forward. If it is not brought in during the coming seasons these controversial decisions will just continue to happen and be spread all over the newspapers for weeks.

    Lets make it easier for the guys in the middle. Many other sports use video so why cant football?

  3. John on August 31, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Football. The beautiful Game. What makes football so popular? Controversy makes the game what it is. Video referees would sterilize the game and give us nothing to get passionate about. What would you talk about down the pub after the game? What would you argue about with your work mates about on Monday if the referee never made a mistake. I reckon your conversations would be quite short and boring. Referees are human and do make mistakes. Thank god for that.

    Without the referee, we don’t have a game. With video referee’s we get something that is sterile and un-exciting. Let any critic of a referee, put on the black suit and go out there and try it. At grass roots level, it’s hard enough, but at the the top of the game being watched by thousands and having every decision scrutinized by TV pundits who often need to run the replay four or five times before coming to a decision. Try it! Don’t sit and spout about something that you have had no experience of and more often than not would run away from at the first mistake.

    I think that even though referee’s get it wrong from time to time, by the end of the season it evens itself out. Win some decisions, lose some decisions. Man up and get on with this fantastic, controversial and magnificent game we all love. The drama, the passion, the excitement and the disappointments. Bring it all on!

  4. Jim Williams on September 15, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    We had a similar incident last year when I was running the line. A long range shot came in and it hit the post and went in but the ref was unsighted and our keeper scooped it out from waaaay behind the line and the ref didnt know if it had crossed the line – I did the only decent thing you can do and awarded the goal against my own side.

    Its a game and winning is important but cheating is not the way to win. If you have to cheat to win then you may as well give it up now.

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