Saturday, 20 September 2008

Sportsmanship, Or Lack Of

I see that Reading were awarded a goal in their game at Watford today. Apparently the linesman told the referee it was a goal, despite the fact that it had clearly gone out of play for a corner four yards wide of the goal!

Now we're all human, and we all make mistakes from time to time, but surely in a game like this, it wouldn't be expecting too much for the Reading players to tell the referee that there was no goal. If the referee insisted, then right the wrong by allowing Watford to score.

I remember Crystal Palace being similarly awarded a goal in 1971, which had actually hit the side-netting, but the referee changed his mind after speaking to Steve Kember who told him that it was not a goal.

While certain acts of sportsmanship are common these days (e.g. kicking the ball out of play for the sake of an injured player) - sadly others are few and far between.

I can recall Paolo Di Canio (West Ham) catching the ball rather than trying to head a late winner because Everton goalkeeper was down with a bad knee injury, and in a Carlsberg Cup match, Denmark were awarded a penalty when an Iran defender handled the ball thinking the whistle had gone. On instructions from his coach, Morten Wieghorst deliberately shot wide from the penalty spot.

There was the Arsenal v Sheffield United replayed FA Cup match a few years back, after Arsenal had 'accidentally' broken an unwritten rule and failed to return the ball to United after an injury.

Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson told his side to concede a goal to Plymouth after a Yeovil player (ironically, Johnson's son) had accidentally scored when trying to return the ball to the Plymouth goalkeeper who was permitted to walk the ball through straight from the kick-off.

Today's goal will most likely not have a lasting impact on either team's future, but how nice it would have been for someone to have stepped up today and done the right thing. Now THAT would have been memorable.

And no, I had no financial interest in this game.

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