No place for cheating in grassroots game

Is football a game to "win at all costs"?

Is football a game to "win at all costs"?

Cheating has no place in football for the majority of the UK’s football community, a recent Club Website poll can reveal.

In the aftermath of Thierry Henry’s now infamous handball which helped France qualify for the 2010 World Cup, Club Website asked if football was a game to “win at all costs”.

The response suggests a strong moral fibre runs through the football community, with an emphatic 64 percent of responses saying that cheating “can not be condoned” at any level of the game.

A further seven percent said they wouldn’t cheat in their own matches but conceded that the “win at all costs” mentality exists at the top of the game.

Whilst Henry has received much criticism since the incident, many people from within the game have refused to blame the player himself and 29 percent of our users lend further support to his actions, saying that you should do “whatever it takes” to win a game of football, whatever level you play at.

Interestingly, the proportion of respondents who condemned cheating in our poll reduced slowly as the days passed following the incident, which shows how highly passions were running in the wake of France’s qualification on such dubious terms.

Whilst many argue that Henry’s reputation will forever be tainted, the fact is that France will be on the plane to South Africa next summer.

Henry Handball

Image courtesy of Sky Sports

The sense of injustice will remain for some – particularly in Ireland – but, provided he stays fit, Thierry Henry will be strutting his stuff on the biggest stage in football next summer, regardless of how he got there.

And one thing is for sure: the issue of cheating in sport or “winning at all costs” will continue to be debated long after this and many other World Cups, when the “Hand of Henry” will be nothing but a distant memory.

Have your say!

What do you think about the results of our latest poll?  Is the result just a knee-jerk reaction to such a high profile incident?  Or is keeping a strong moral fibre in football crucial to the future of the game?

Let us know what you think in our comments section below.

Club Website poll result:

Thierry Henry’s blatant handball against Ireland helped France to the World Cup. Is football a game of ‘win at all costs’?

– No. Cheating can’t be condoned at any level of the game.  64.3%
– Yes. You do whatever it takes, no matter what level you play at.  29.1%
– Only in such huge matches at the top of the game. I wouldn’t cheat in my match.  6.6%

Total votes cast: 7,369

. Cheating can’t be condoned at any level of the game. 4736 64.26%
Yes. You do whatever it takes, no matter what level you play at. 2147 29.13%
Only in such huge matches at the top of the game. I wouldn’t cheat in my match. 486 6.59%

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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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1 Comment

  1. Don Sussex on November 28, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Cheating has been going on for years and the fact that Henry done in such a high profile game does not make him any worse than players like Rooney, Gerrard and Drogma doing it in 90% of the games they play in.

    In my mind, even players calling for corners or throw ins knowing that they touched the ball last should be considered as cheats. It may be a lower scale but it is still trying to con the ref and managers should let their players know that they won’t tolerate it.

    But, there I go, just dreaming again.

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