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Last weekend saw yet another unsavoury incident in which a footballer has conned a referee into awarding a penalty.

But it is not the officials who are to blame.

Ashley Young has earned himself a reputation for going to ground too easily

With Chelsea surprisingly trailing by two goals to one at home to West Brom with only moments left to play, Brazilian midfielder Ramires broke into the penalty area and threw himself into the oncoming defender, leaving referee Andre Marriner with a difficult decision to make.

‘He won the penalty’

It was a prime example of one of the most pathetic phrases in football, ‘he won the penalty’. Surely you are either fouled or you are not?

Unfortunately, the art of going to ground and earning a foul has become a skill in the modern game and it has done nothing to support referees in what is already a very challenging job.

Ramires and Young

Ramires is not alone in this ‘art form’, Manchester United’s Ashley Young has earned himself a reputation for going to ground too easily with the most recent example coming against Real Sociedad in last week’s Champions League fixture.

The slightest touch from the opposing defender saw Young go to ground and earn his side a penalty. Justice was done in the end as Robin van Persie failed to convert his penalty on this occasion.

Inventing a foul

There are too many players who have been caught trying to cheat the referee. Liverpool’s Luis Suarez recently admitted to ‘inventing a foul’ as he attempted to win a penalty, Stoke City’s Erik Pieters has this season been accused of diving and Gareth Bale was often scrutinised for going to ground too early.

This is not just a modern day phenomenon. Referees have had the wool pulled over their eyes for many years by players all too happy to cheat their way to victory.


Who could forget Robert Pires flicking his leg out and deliberately catching Portsmouth’s Dejan Stefanovic to win a penalty for Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ during the 2003-04 campaign?

Perhaps the most famous incident of all saw England exit the 1986 World Cup at the quarter-final stage after Diego Maradona’s ‘hand of God’ goal won the game for Argentina.

Referees are of course not completely faultless in this argument. The men in control of proceedings in the game are often criticised for some truly appalling decisions where common sense simply fails to prevail.

However, their job is an unenviable one at such a fast pace and is made all the more difficult by players trying to con them when the opportunity arises.

Decisions favour the bigger teams

It takes a brave referee to not award a penalty to the home side with less than a minute to play when the crowd demand the decision, like recently at Stamford Bridge, although these decisions do often go in favour of the bigger sides.

Imagine the uproar if an official booked a player for diving in the dying stages of a game and the penalty should have been given for a foul. They would be criticised a whole lot more for that than they are for falling for the cheating antics of some players.

It is understandable to see the men in control make the easy decision when they are not one hundred percent sure. The pressure on them is huge.

It is the responsibility of the players to play the game in the correct manner and not cheat their way to victory.

The hard men of yesteryear’s game would have been ashamed by some of the modern day theatrics involved in the beautiful game.

Originally published at fourfourtweet.co.uk

Post written by Gary Maiden for FourFourTweet
Blog: fourfourtweet.co.uk, Twitter: @FourFourTweet

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