It’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.