Tuesday, 21 September 2010

If You're Going To Cheat, Cheat To Win

Once again the Pakistani cricket team has come to England and controversy has ensued. In 2006 it was over alleged ball-tampering: Inzamam took his boys off the field in protest at Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove's decision and that was that. This time, however, sport has been tainted even further. At least with ball-tampering there is an attempted gain from the practice. Spot-fixing is quite the reverse.

I can understand cheating to win; I certainly don't condone it, but I can see why people do it. The desire to be at the pinnacle of your chosen discipline can be all-consuming, and weak minds can be led to break rules in that pursuit. If they're caught, fair cop. If not, that's a job for the conscience. Cheating to lose (or indeed induce a negative outcome for you and your team) is a different kettle of fish altogether. In this instance, both teams are devalued. If a team cheats to win, and does so, the team who loses is seen as the victim, leading to speculation that they would have won had the offenders not acted in such a way. Cheat to lose, however, and succeed, and both teams must bear the brunt - the offending party for committing the act in the first place, and the opposition whose victory is effectively negated due to the notion that they were not competing against a willing opposition. It's a lose-lose situation, and one which has very sinister connotations for professional sport. Let us hope that it is a flash in the pan; history may dictate otherwise though.

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