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To Cheat or Not to Cheat?
The RamsTrust Column
Written by RamsTrust board member Elaine Dean   
Wednesday, December 02 2009

The furore over the joint most blatant handball of all time has only lessened slightly this week amid certainties that the match will not now be replayed.

The economic cost of that flagrant cheating to Ireland is almost impossible to ascertain; the cost to Thierry Henry may also be high in terms of personal  endorsements and his previously unblemished reputation. The whole world knows  that France do not deserve to be on the plane to South Africa and most of the  French people would have preferred to have qualified fairly and many have stated that they wished for a replay. What will happen now is that most people will want to see the French team depart from OR Tambo airport at the earliest  possible opportunity.

The press have had a field day digging up the greatest sporting cheat moments of all time including Slaven Bilic’s feigned injury in France 1998, Maradona’s ‘hand of god’ moment and several incidents involving current Derby County captain Robbie Savage.

Robbie Savage has also caused some controversy since the Henry incident by saying that almost all footballers would have done exactly the same in Henry’s place. It was down to the referee and assistants to rule the goal out but none  did. It was just ‘one of those things’.


Do the Irish deserve a replay? There’s nothing to say that they would definitely have gone through if it had come down to penalties but certainly on the night they were the better team. There can be very few people who believe it  was right and fair and I have been very impressed with the attitude of the  French press and public (with the notable exception of President Sarkozy) who  feel that their reputation has been besmirched. Even Thierry Henry, after a  lengthy silence, came out saying a replay would be only fair.


I don’t like cheating and I find to have been cheated against almost impossible to reconcile with over any length of time. Yes, it still rankles  with me that Robbie Savage dived for a penalty against us when he played for  Leicester and then celebrated the awarding of a penalty to the fury of the Pride  Park faithful. It’s the only time I really felt any affection for the dour Craig  Burley when he got hold of him and shook him like a rag doll in front of us.  Quite how Burley escaped a red card I will never know – but maybe the referee  sensed the crowd were almost at breaking point already. Savage was then jostled  in the tunnel and finally brought back out on the pitch by the police for his  own safety. How times and hearts change!


I didn’t like Savage doing it then and I wouldn’t like it if he did it now.


Cheating is cheating and no matter how much money is dependent on the outcome of a game – it is deplorable and no way to win entry to or the final of a sporting competition.


This column is for individual members of RamsTrust to put their point of view across in the media. Although the views will not contravene the principles of the trust, the views expressed are entirely personal to the author and do not necessarily represent RamsTrust policy.

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