Wednesday, 11 November 2009


In the past week I've seen two very different instances of cheating in football, but both as bad as each other, in my opinion.

The first is so bad it's actually laughable! Elizabeth Lambert has risen to (in)fame in the past few days after being caught on camera committing some of the worst fouling I've ever seen! She plays American College Soccer for the University of New Mexico, and was on television as their team lost 1-0 to Brigham Young Univeristy and was caught pulling hair, kicking out, flying into tackles with intent, punching and kicking balls in players faces as they hit the ground. Somehow, she managed to get through the whole match, although she has been suspended by her team since. See a news report on the 'dirtiest ever woman footballer' by clicking this link to YouTube.

Second, David Ngog, a forward for Liverpool, whose gymnastic ability earned his team a second half penalty to save Liverpool from an embarrassing home defeat to newly promoted Birmingham City. Controversy and debate has erupted in the world of sport since the incident, where replays show that no contact is made whatsoever from Lee Carsley's tackle but Ngog falls and is awarded a penalty (see this video report, again on YouTube). Maybe the referee could never have known and had to get the forward the benefit of the doubt, but the arguments for and against television referees in football, as in rugby union and other sports, has flared up again: surely it would have brought justice to the match?

In both cases, cheating is going on because they are doing things which are against the rules of the game. Now, different rules have different consequences for when they are broken: pulling a girl to the ground by her hair would be a red card offence (a sending off), simulating a foul ends in a yellow card (half way to a red card). But, my thinking is, cheating is cheating. There is no excuse: if you are playing a sport, especially being paid thousands of pounds a week to do so, you follow the rules and respect the game. If not for the sport itself then for the thousands of punters who will spend upwards of £20 to come and see the game being played and cheer you on.

Lambert, at least has released a statement, admitting her faults and accepting any punishments, but neither cheater has made a public apology: Lambert to the girls she abused, Ngog to Carsley (who was punished for not bringing him down in the penalty box) or either to the sport which they have disrespected. It just goes to show what lengths people will go through to win...