The Ugly face of the Beautiful Game

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The beautiful game as it is known throughout the world has unrivalled reach across the globe in terms of popularity. Famously coined by the Brazilian midfield extraordinaire, Didi, the term ‘The beautiful game’ has become synonymous with football. As much as the Brazilians play it with flair, there has been the ugly side of the game has reared up in recent times.

While many players who have left their mark on the game for the right reason but there are those people who have tried to tarnish the reputation of the sport by playing it unfairly, even being given several warnings.

The first mistake made in football that can be considered as good as a crime is racism which is just unacceptable in any form. While FIFA is taking every measure to stop racism from the game, it is a trait which will pass on unless the punishment is very severe and may threaten their career.

Luis Suarez picked up an eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra match, while John Terry was given a four-match suspension last year after being found guilty by the Football Association of a similar offence.

This is hardly enough for such players who go beyond the law to belittle others. Throughout his time at Inter Milan stint forward Mario Balotelli was subjected to racist taunts from opposing fans, which fortunately did not have an influence on his desire to play the game.

A racist deserves to be banned for at least a major portion of his career rather than a few matches. Kevin-Prince Boateng’s decision to walk off when faced with monkey chants from the crowd last year finally provoked Blatter to set up an anti-discrimination task force. Unless the punishment becomes a career-threatening one, racism will never be history in football.


The world’s footballers appear to be increasingly sensitive to gravity’s pull. Diving has become commonplace in today’s game. Exclude racism, and simulation has become one of the aspects threatening to abrade the game.

Diving has become an increasingly relevant part of football in recent years, and it’s quite clear the fans don’t like it. Footballers have become famous nowadays for inventing dives out of nowhere and earning their team three points worth millions of pounds.

Top players in the planet like Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Didier Drogba, Dani Alves, Cristiano Ronaldo and Cesc Fabregas all regularly seek to gain an advantage through unfair means.

In the Premier League too, the better players are the most frequent offenders. Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez, two of the best players in English football, have taken diving in English football to a new level.

Watching Gareth Bale running at top speed is a sight to behold but him falling even without the defender touching him is disgraceful to football and all it does is damage the reputation of the beautiful game. 

Diving is undoubtedly something football would be better off without. Unfortunately, if there is an opportunity to seek an advantage, players will do so however possible.Players dive because, more often than not, they are rewarded for it.

The A-league and the MLS have resorted to punishing those who wrongly entered into the playground rather than go with the playwright by imposing fines and harder restrictions.

This is probably the only way to play fairly as simulation is an epidemic that doesn’t stop spreading for good.

Dirty Play

Another ugly side of the beautiful game is the most common and unsportsmanlike way of playing it with an intention to injure and win rather than play and win. For every Maradona and George Best there has always been a Vinnie Jones and Joey Barton.

Tackling is a dying art nowadays and is being used for the dirty part of the game by many a player. Joey Barton has been described as the dirtiest player in the Premier League, warranted by the fact that he got booked 39 times and sent off on three occasions during his tenure at Manchester.

Paul Scholes and Roy Keane are some of the toughest tacklers in the Premier League and often do dirty work on the field. However great a player you may be, physically threatening your opponent’s careers on the field is an act par crime. There are the next bunch of people who are very straightforward in their intentions and injure their opponent by directly kicking them.

Pepe, Nigel De Jong, Karl Henry, Roy Keane, Eric Cantona are some of the famous players to have used this technique. Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt of Marco Materazzi is a disgraceful act for such a great player. So was Roy Keane’s infamous tackle on Alfe-Inge Haaland which he called as revenge and Eric Cantona’s Kung-fu Kick.

These incidents do nothing but disrepute the game and the team they play for not to mention the damage they cause to the team by making themselves unavailable. This is one part of the game which will always remain however strong the punishments are unless the players change their attitude towards their fellow competitors.

Hand of God

The match between England and Argentina in the 1986 World Cup Finals was known for two reasons. One was for the greatest goal to have ever been scored in a World Cup Finals when Diego Maradona made 4 defenders and Peter Shilton look like jokers when he went past all of them to score the winning goal for England.

The other incident happened just minutes before this one. Six minutes into the second half, Maradona played a pass to teammate Valdano and continued his run hoping for a one-two but Steve Hodge miscued the interception and the ball went into the box.

Maradona leapt over the tall Peter Shilton and deflected the ball into his net with his hand. Thus he performed on of the most shameful acts ever on a football pitch and celebrated the goal. England were to lose the match on a one-goal deficit because of this and Argentina would go on to win the World Cup.

There have been others who have followed suit and performed this bringing dishonour to the team and wrongfully winning the match. Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry are two others who performed this disgraceful act and unfairly won the match. As he has in every title, Luis Suarez has found a place in this one too. He handled the ball from entering the net against Ghana in the 2010 World Cup quarter-final and incidentally Ghana missed the penalty and Uruguay went through to the semi-finals. This man is a shame to play with or against.


Till the previous season this wouldn’t have been there but this season I have been forced to include this since Luis Suarez tends to get hungry during matches. During the liverpool-Chelsea game Luis Suarez suddenly bit Brainslav Ivanovic in the shoulder for no apparent reason and the referee failed to notice it. He was later banned 10 games for the action and he had earlier bit Otman Bakkal during his Stint at Ajax.

He was banned seven games for that. Whatever the punishment may be, biting a player is an inhuman act which no sane man would do. While Vampires are believed to be folktales, those arguing against their non-existence have got a strong example in their favour.

Cleaning all these inhuman acts is necessary to preserve the  face of the beautiful game.

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Gareth Bale
Luis Suarez
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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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