Crying Foul: JOE's Top Five Sporting Cheats
Was it a stroke of genius or was it bringing the beautiful game into disrepute? Following Jose Mourinhoâ€™s blatant cheating tactics, JOE looks at five other suspect sporting moments.
The unsporting behaviour from Real Madrid players in Tuesday nightâ€™s Champions League match against Ajax undoubtedly creates a poor image for the game. We canâ€™t deny, however, Mourinhoâ€™s tactical brilliance to clear the yellow card slate of a couple of his stars.
Both Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos deliberately got themselves sent off for time wasting while Real were 4-0 up in the penultimate game in Group G. Former Liverpool dynamo Alonso was first to receive his marching orders after he was given a second yellow card for delaying a free-kick:
If that looks suspect to you then try Sergio Ramosâ€™ effort to see red. The sheer arrogance of this behaviour is enough to piss any football fan rightly off. He even goes as far as shaking the refereeâ€™s hand after the red card.
Mourinho has amazingly denied that the sending offs were deliberate. Conveniently enough for Real Madrid, Alonso and Ramos will now miss Madridâ€™s final group game with Auxerre, which is irrelevant considering that Real have already qualified for the last 16 as group winners.
JOE has been incensed by this type of behaviour and has begun to reminisce about other moments in sport that made us all stand up and shout â€œCHEATERâ€. Here they are:
1. The â€˜Bloodgateâ€™ scandal
The world of rugby was stunned and appalled in April 2009, when one of the most blatant cheating incidents occurred between Harlequins and Leinster in their Heineken Cup quarter-final match. The use of fake blood capsules, a meticulous plan involving a number of players and staff from the English club, questioned the professionalism of rugby and caused a furore in the media. Harlequins wing Tom Williams came off the field with what turned out to be a feigned blood injury in order to facilitate a tactical substitution, (see below).
An investigation by the ERC and the RFU revealed that blood injuries had also been faked by Harlequins to enable tactical substitutions on four previous occasions. These findings resulted in a twelve month ban for Williams - reduced to four months on appeal, a three year ban for former director of rugby Dean Richards and a two year ban for physiotherapist Steph Brennan as well as a Â£260,000 fine for the club. The club chairman Charles Jillings subsequently tendered his resignation, while the club doctor Wendy Chapman was suspended by the GMC for cutting Williams's lip to hide his use of the blood capsule.
2. David Beckham admits to getting booked on purpose
On 9 October 2004, England played Wales in a World Cup qualifier at Old Trafford. David Beckham, who had a clean-cut image at the time, curled a spectacular shot into the top corner to secure a 2-0 victory for Ingerland, but later picked up a yellow card for a foul on Ben Thatcher.
When the dust settled after the match, Beckham admitted to intentionally picking up the yellow card so that he would be automatically suspended for Englandâ€™s next match against minnows Azerbaijan. Beckham said at the time that he knew he'd miss the next game because he had been injured, so chose to be suspended at the same time.
Cheating isnâ€™t cheating unless youâ€™re caught out or, in this instance, you own up to it.
3. Spygate â€“ New England Patriots videotaping scandal
Spygate refers to an incident in the 2007 National Football League (NFL) season, when the New England Patriots were disciplined by the NFL for videotaping New York Jetsâ€™ defensive coachesâ€™ signals during a September 9, 2007 game from a sideline location, an act deemed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to be in violation of league rules.
After an investigation, the NFL fined Patriots head coach Bill Belichick $500,000 for his role in the incident, fined the Patriots $250,000, and docked the team their original first-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft. As part of their probe into the allegations, the NFL required the Patriots to turn over all notes and tapes relating to the taping of opponentsâ€™ defensive signals. The Patriots complied with the order and the NFL reviewed and then destroyed the materials.
4. The Thierry Henry handball
Will we ever let this go? Let bygones be bygones? No way. Thierry Henryâ€™s handball robbed Ireland of a place at the World Cup 2010. Just in case youâ€™re suffering from amnesia or were living under a rock at the time, letâ€™s remind you of the circumstances.
It was 18 November 2009 and Ireland were level with France 13 minutes into extra-time in the second leg of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Play-Off at the Stade de France. Boom, it happened in the blink of an eye â€“ a blink which referee Martin Hansson missed.
Florent Malouda took a free kick just outside the centre circle in the Irish half. He lofted it toward French captain Thierry Henry, who was making a run in the penalty area to Irish goalkeeper Shay Given's right hand side. The ball bounced once to Henry, now inside the six yard box to the left of the goal. As it bounced upwards, Henry handled the ball twice with his left hand, stopping it going out of play and bringing the ball under control, before tapping the ball with the outside of his right foot past Given standing at the near goal post. The ball travelled the short distance to William Gallas arriving in the middle of the goal, who headed the ball into the Irish net.
In the days and weeks after the â€˜Hand of Frogâ€™ there were calls from all corners for a rematch between the nations and for Ireland to be included as a 33rd team in South Africa. None of this ever came to pass. But hey, France crumbled at the World Cup and we all laughed.
5. The ball tampering cricketer
Earlier this year Pakistan cricket star Shahid Afridi was cited for biting the ball in the final one-dayer against Australia, a bizarre episode which cost him a two-match ban.
Applying a substance, such as lip balm or sweetened saliva, to shine one side of the ball or pick the seam of the ball encourages more swing. Conversely, one side of the ball can be roughened by use of an abrasive or cutting surface). The use of sweetened saliva was shown to be particularly useful in obtaining reverse swing in the 2005 Ashes series.
Afridi was caught on camera chewing on one side of the ball while walking with bowler Rana Naved-ul-Hasan in the fifth and final match at the WACA in Perth.
The on-field and third umpires reported the incident to match referee Ranjan Madugalle who conducted separate hearings with team manager Abdur Raqeeb and Afridi before handing the player a two-match international Twenty 20 ban.
Afridi subsequently admitted illegally tampering with the ball.