1) Introduction to the idea of Fair Play
Attempt 2 of an introduction
As soon as you hear this combination of words in connection with football, you automatically think of England, the mother country of football and also the eponym and originator of this idea. One might think of grand gestures that express purely chivalrous behaviour, as the person acting in this way disregards his own advantages and generously hands over to the opponent something that he is not legally entitled to. Someone refrains from taking advantage of an opportunity; he has a deeply rooted sense of justice that commands him in this situation to act differently from the way he is geared to success. Stepping back from one’s own right in favour of another, obviously putting oneself at a disadvantage, is what it is all about.
The audience knows and has known this at all times, that much seems certain. One would still leave one’s seat to spontaneously applaud the one who has just acted in such a way, regardless of partisanship. Prizes are even offered because one longs so much for these scenes to exist. But this of all things is actually absurd. For as soon as the prize is promised, the competition for the greatness of chivalry could break out, and this alone – to include one’s own needs in one’s thoughts and actions – is already dishonourable.
Nevertheless: the spectator wants it, even the officials have recognised a connection between fair, sporting behaviour and spectator favour in general. An entire industry feeds off the spread of chivalrous gestures, namely the film industry. No hero ever acts selfishly. He stands up with all his might exclusively for the good cause. He would walk through fire for his friend, he throws himself unrestrainedly into the bullet if the beautiful woman should be the victim, he gives up food and drink to give it to a child if there is a need. In fact, he is prepared to do without anything for the good cause. Every detective commissioner works as a matter of course and around the clock – just as selflessly — but only for the good cause and never for filthy lucre.
There is no room for opportunism. All concepts of honour such as selflessness, helpfulness, intrepidity, honesty, sincerity, loyalty, reliability, to name but a few, attract millions of viewers to the cinemas. Surely there must be something to it?
Now the question may be allowed, why is it hardly to be found on the football pitches of this world today, especially at the professional level? Especially in football, the mores seem to be particularly brutalised. In tennis, for example, one can observe fighting for one’s rights, doggedness and heedlessness towards one’s opponent, but one does not have to look far to observe a fair gesture. In football, this is almost non-existent.
It is worth remembering that the Turkish player Alpay Özalan was awarded the Fair Play Prize in the Turkey-Croatia match at the 1996 European Championships for failing to apply an emergency brake. If you think about it: A player omits the most unsporting of all actions – which in this situation, according to human judgement, would have secured the team the (partial) success of the 0:0 (highly questionable that this would probably have been crowned with success; see chapter “Free kicks” and “What is a penalty?”) – and is awarded a prize for fair play for it! Well, if that was the fairest gesture of the tournament! In the next tournament, a prize will probably be awarded to someone who squats over the opponent with an axe and then doesn’t chop off his leg. That’s enough to bring tears to your eyes! A real man of honour.
A small, further side blow: Alpay Özalan probably thought at the moment when his opponent Vlaovic slipped away from him: “Okay, I won’t kill him now and I won’t break his bones. Then maybe I’ll get the award.” That’s the kind of stuff real guys are made of, isn’t it?
But this is for publicity. Fair play is desirable. It could help maintain and build spectator potential. To see people who fight each other to the hilt but never overstep the mark. Think of a Fritz Walter or an Uwe Seeler. What gives these players their very special myth? Most certainly because this thought immediately comes to mind: Fighting, fighting, passion, great actions, fierce duels, anything, but foul play? Never!
It should be a matter of course that things are fair on the football pitch, and if the football lover looks back a little historically, he will most likely find that not only were those scenes much more frequent in the past, but that they were very much appreciated — even without prize incentives. It might even become a motivation to watch a football match, as one can not only see great performances and dramatic games — well, more on that throughout the text as well, that these are far too rare — but also real men of honour who, while fighting each other as hard as they can — within the bounds of what is permissible — are nevertheless on friendly terms before, They were able to give their all, there were plenty of fierce and fierce duels, but they never went after the health of their opponents and afterwards even the loser could walk off the pitch with his head held high, congratulating his opponent in full recognition. Every player can look himself in the mirror the next morning. Fair play is one part that makes sport worth watching – as long as one once again leaves pure fan interests aside.
So as much as fair play is even in the spectator’s interest, and would thus be suitable for the preservation and promotion of the sport, it is rarely really encountered these days. The media have their guidelines, and there is no getting around them: There is only one celebrated winner. How he got there is declared a complete side issue. The loser is at the same time a failure under all circumstances. Any explanation by a coach of the loser, who may point to a few refereeing decisions that went against him, who may point to the lack of luck despite having the advantage of possession and more chances, is mildly ridiculed for his flimsy search for excuses and his naivety, which surely only serves one purpose: to distract attention from his own shortcomings. However, if he were to invoke the elimination of his best player due to a rude attack that was barely given a yellow card, he would have even worse cards to play. “Yellow was the appropriate punishment, it’s not the opponent’s fault for the glass bones and football is not cotton wool blowing after all.” A sad (football) world.
2) A typical scene from everyday football.
A question that one can really ask in principle is how one should deal with players who are injured during a match, i.e. in an action. There are, of course, a lot of distinctions to be made here, but that is what can make the discussion so exciting. One question is: In what situation did the player injure himself? Another: Is he really injured? A third: Is he promising himself something, can his team benefit from the injury? Another: How much responsibility does the opponent bear for this injury? Another: What is the role of the referee? The other questions are whether he belongs to the home team or the away team, whether his team is leading or would still be satisfied with the score in the event of a draw. These last thoughts, however, only result in differences of degree. For: It can always be assumed that a possible goal against is not desirable.
The fundamental part of the question, moreover, relates to a rather general consideration: How well can one check whether a person is ill or injured? Just think of the famous “Monday flu” in everyday life, the cause or seriousness of which is generally questionable, but of course cannot be doubted in individual cases. It is similar on the football pitch. Who is lying on the ground? Why is he lying? Is he really injured? How badly?
The questions are not answered individually here, but as a package. The best way to do this is by describing a possible match scene as it could happen today in all the football stadiums in the world, perhaps in reality:
A team is on the attack, far advanced. A midfielder moves forward with the ball on his foot. He dares to dribble, which, after a standard attack, results in a loss of the ball. The midfielder realises the stupidity of his dribble. In an attempt to claim the ball, he still stays on his feet as long as he sees a chance of success, but nevertheless realises that he has only one (theoretical) option left to save himself: He goes down. Of course, he quickly tries to pick up a leg to sell the action as “foul play”. But the referee doesn’t go for it, now he realises what he has done: The opponent is ready for a dangerous counterattack in an overtime game.
Suddenly he realises that he has not only been fouled and the opponent has gone unpunished, but also that the (non-existent rude) tackle has hurt him badly. He begins to roll on the ground. The opposing team, which has just crossed the halfway line beaming with joy with five men and finds space without end, is prevented from carrying out the attacking action by three things that occur simultaneously, singly or one after the other:
The opponents no longer offer any resistance, the referee and/or the audience whistle, both or just one, loudly and energetically.
Each of them has his justification for the behaviour. The opponents, who no longer resist, point forward with their gestures, towards the lying player, regardless of whether the referee has already blown the whistle or only signals readiness or gives no indication. One stops resisting. Then it has to be interrupted. There is no other way.
The spectators whistle, provided the “injured” player is from their team. Before the 2009/2010 season, the referee was instructed to interrupt the game only on his part, because it was recognised that the players wanted to provoke the “fair gesture” of playing the ball out of bounds by falling and simulating and this behaviour should be stopped, In this respect, he should have allowed play to continue, especially as he realises that one can injure oneself in the bathroom or while crocheting, but not during the stunt just performed by the player who is still lying down — but he nevertheless interrupts, or rather the attacking team has played the ball out of bounds, usually in anger. The spectators and the opponents have enforced “fair play”. The treatment of the lying player is over in seconds, even if he still takes a few limping steps out of decency and embarrassment.
Simply ridiculous, all round. But one thing is certain: the dangerous counter-attack does not happen.
A scene like this shows the complete brutalisation of football mores. Everything is subordinated to success. There are no longer any ethical approaches or moral concepts that would have any influence at any point. The limits are pushed in every respect as far as success will take them. There are no other criteria. The little riddle of why the viewer is prepared to swallow all this has long since been solved: the viewer no longer exists. There is only the “true fan” who accepts everything for the sake of his team’s success and goes through thick and thin with it and its players. He has committed himself to this, and he keeps to it. Especially as: if these means, even recognised by him, are unclean, there is nevertheless the certainty for him that the opponent has used or would have used the very same means, at the appropriate opportunity. In this respect, it is fair anyway. That was the compensation for the scene before, whatever.
A few more words about the neutral spectator who witnesses such a circus performance and who, of course, would not be heard in the subsequent denunciation of such an interlude. A neutral spectator would also be someone who is a fan of a team, but not of the two teams playing at the time. This football fan has also long since disappeared from among the spectators, from among the active spectators of such a match, not on TV and not in the stadium. You can still watch the evening sports show – at least there is a new table and a few surprises to marvel at, apart from goal scenes and goals that are occasionally still considered exciting in a summary – and get duly upset about such behaviour, so that you have new discussion material for the next week at the bar or at work.
3) The prehistory
Such an observation also has a history. It started with players on the pitch actually realising in a certain situation that an opposing player had injured himself – this may even have happened entirely without intervention. Those who noticed this may really have acted out of fairness and voluntarily played the ball out of bounds. One is invited to recall real referee balls where neither the players agreed on who deserved possession nor the referee “sold” possession by pointing (“you’re going to play it back there, aren’t you?”), because these referee balls used to be called in many situations, simply because the referee spontaneously thought it was appropriate to stop the game and blew his whistle to do so. Such a referee ball would also have been appropriate here. He interrupts, immediately after the action, because he notices that someone has done something to himself, regardless of who would have just what size of a scoring chance if…. and so on.
So the ball was played out of bounds, which at first caused astonishment among spectators and referee. But then everyone registered – a brief interposed question: Where were all these injuries described above at times when one could not yet rely on a stoppage of play? No, there was simply no such thing — that there was an injured player and took care of him. Mind you, the man playing out of bounds had done so because of the realisation of a real and serious injury, which – anyone who has played himself knows – registers very well on the pitch. The helpers rushed over, treated him or transported him off the pitch and the game was restarted with a throw-in for the injured party. The referee had no other option. Now the second surprising thing happened: The team that had gained possession in this way showed no intention whatsoever of taking advantage of the possession, which was regular but a gift, but played the ball back to the opponent, unchallenged and obvious. The spectators, having understood such behaviour, appreciated it and gave all parties a sympathetic, warm round of applause. So far so good.
Let us return to the scene described above, which reveals yet another, even more unfair, corollary: The “injured” player is doctored, the assistants off the pitch. The team that did not have possession of the ball and won it in this unsportsmanlike manner receives the throw-in. They still do not try to capitalise directly on the possession. No, it must at least fulfil the obligation to give the ball to the opponent. Only how it does this:
The ball is thrown in, to their own man, of course. This man now drives the ball far, far forward. As far as he can. But he does so with the goal in mind: The ball is supposed to end up out of bounds, but not out of the goal, no, he aims – the qualities are there to hit it – at the far end of the sideline, as close as possible to the opponent’s corner flag. On the one hand, this seemingly haphazard forward kicking of the ball is meant to suggest that you are very happy to return it as a matter of course, but on the other hand, that it just happens to come down again somewhere. Immediately afterwards, one has done one’s duty, elicited one or two hypocritical claps from the spectators, since the obvious fair play gesture has been observed, and one can switch to pressing to win the ball back. What has the team that previously had a good counter-attacking opportunity now done with the supposedly fair, but in the event only forced, response? Instead of being in possession of the ball in the opponent’s half, in an outnumbered situation, with numerous good options, they are now far inside their own half and can only with the greatest difficulty – if at all – get the ball out of their own half. The revitalised player, by the way, has long since been hopping around again as if he had fallen into a fountain of youth and is presumably responsible for (re)winning the ball.
Now you might react a little less upset if you watch and listen to another typical scene today: Exactly as described above. Losing the ball, going to the ground, simulating injury, whistling spectators and unresisting opponents who want to force the ball out of bounds and if it hasn’t happened yet, the referee interrupts. The counter-attack will come to nothing, you just know that, it must not even be played. But it was stopped in an unfair, unsportsmanlike way. You know that too. Especially if you’re leading the ball. And as such, you often see this reaction, which shouldn’t surprise you: instead of rolling the ball out of bounds, the player who has been coerced in this way thunders it against the boards in a rage. He knows exactly what game is being played with him. The commentator’s reaction is then as rash as it is unfair: “Yes, he must have overlooked the fact that a player is lying injured on the ground. You could easily give a German reporter an X for a pair of glasses or a tomato for a U.
4) A few examples of fair play
a. England – Germany, semi-final World Cup 1990
If you go in search of great gestures or fair scenes of honourable behaviour in which a player accepts obvious disadvantages for himself and his own team, solely on the grounds that taking advantage of a chance would be at the expense of fair play, it is quite difficult to find any that really meet this standard. In any case, the “prize winner” Alpay Özalan was not enough for him…
Let us remember the semi-final of the World Cup in Italy in 1990, when the English (! ) lost to Germany in a penalty shoot-out in a match of equals, in which one can really only speak of a 50:50 distribution of chances for the entire match, following an unknown law – which, among other things, was given its benevolence by this event – a shrugging but smiling coach Bobby Robson went to coach Franz Beckenbauer directly after the last, decisive miss, tapped him on the shoulder in sincere appreciation and shook his hand in congratulation. A touching scene, especially when one considers the rivalry between these two nations that has boiled up so high, but certainly one that one wants to see – and this judgement applies not only to Germany, which is so accustomed to victory, and which even passed by the grandeur of this gesture due to the imagined matter-of-factness of the victory — but to the whole world.
In that very match, however, there was another gesture that was perhaps not noticed anywhere, not even in England, perhaps because it was too self-evident there. Andy Brehme had brought down opposite number Paul Gasoigne badly with a sliding tackle, forcing him into a complete forward roll. Paul Gascoigne did not take advantage of this, as is often observed today, to take a well-deserved break in the game, at the same time drawing attention to the seriousness of the offence and emphasising his own injury, of course not without at the same time demanding a yellow caution card, but immediately jumped up again and helped Andy Brehme, who was still lying on the ground, up by smiling and holding out his hand. These are real goosebumps scenes that retain such a high memory value that one wonders why they cannot be integrated into everyday football again? Surely there are other questions than the one about the winner? A man of honour, which are produced and presented to us in Hollywood by the thousands and which attract people to the cinemas in droves. It is not an invention that one wants to see them.
This type of man and these gestures can just as well contribute to increasing enthusiasm, to making football more popular and to decreasing the aggression and propensity for violence among fans. More of it!
b. Robbie Fowler
Another example of what you can get a Fair Play award for: In the 1996-97 Premier League season, Arsenal and Liverpool clashed in London, at the venerable Highbury Stadium.
Robbie Fowler, after a skilful pass, runs alone towards goalkeeper David Seaman, gets the ball past him, but cannot get behind it himself in an absolutely typical scene of this kind. The goalkeeper tries to get his body and everything he has in the way, happy to reach the ball. However, he knows just as well that the striker often enough just tries to get the ball past him (not infrequently he would be out of reach for the striker when going after it; in hindsight, this circumstance is rarely considered), and then to touch the goalkeeper lying on the ground with any part of his body — the foot offers itself. Often enough, the subsequent flying action has the desired effect. The penalty is awarded. This is also what happens in this scene.
However, if you watch the replay (YouTube), you see that the Arsenal keeper deliberately and intentionally avoids contact at the last moment, i.e. gets his arms out of the way. Robbie Fowler falls anyway, probably without any or with only slight contact, and the referee decides quite spontaneously – as he is required to do — on a penalty. Robbie Fowler gets up and immediately indicates that it was nothing (?!). This, of course, in terms of fair play, is the decisive moment. He seems almost a little horrified and waves it off vigorously. The referee is not dissuaded from his decision. The Arsenal defenders now have every reason to complain even more energetically than usual about the one-sided admission of guilt. But the decision stands, despite all the protests.
Now it gets exciting. The penalty taker is determined. I wonder if he had already been assigned as penalty taker before the match. In any case, Robbie Fowler himself takes the action. Legend has it that he deliberately shot the penalty so limp that the goalkeeper had no trouble parrying it. The ball comes relatively weakly half-high and also not really into the corner. So David Seaman manages to keep it out.
The drama is still not over. For: Seaman saves, but lets the ball bounce forward. You can see that Robbie Fowler is also moving towards the ball, but very soon realises that the trailing Jason McAteer is more likely to get there. Fowler stays away, McAteer … sinks. Goal. Liverpool won the game 2-1.
Now for the interpretation of this scene: Robbie Fowler received a fair play award for this scene. Now one might calmly ask whether he got it for refusing the penalty, for (recklessly) giving the penalty kick (which he may have considered unjustified) or for the combination of both?
If you observe his gesture after the critical scene very closely – dare or not, he was just 21 years old at the time of the scene — it is quite conceivable that he still showed some respect for the national goalkeeper at the time (he certainly still does today). Thus, in the first moment after the action, it flashed through his mind: “Hey, that was the national goalkeeper David Seaman, an idol of mine in times when I still played youth football and was only allowed to watch his brilliant performances as a fan with wide-open eyes, he didn’t really touch me and I even felt that he was avoiding contact. There’s no way the referee can give us a penalty.” After hearing the referee’s whistle, another thought shoots through his head, which is automatically followed by, “Hey, Ref, it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t even want a penalty. I fell. You don’t have to give me a yellow, do you?” He thinks the penalty is out of the question, so the only interpretation he can give for the whistle is to see it as a yellow-worthy swallow. When he makes the defensive gesture, he only wants to prevent a yellow for himself.
When he realises that there really should be a penalty, he naturally can’t get out of the act. How and what should he imply now? He could only give the referee a long explanation – the one above – and logically he would have no effect at all. So he refrains from saying anything else. The referee decides he has given a penalty, what should you do now?
Curious now how the decision came from the bench or on the pitch that he had to take the penalty. Even if there was prior agreement, one could still improvise on the pitch. Surely a rescheduling would be an option here? No matter how his team-mates interpreted his behaviour or whether he gave them a sign that they understood. As a penalty taker, he should actually now be excluded, deselected, due to this particular explosive nature of the scene.
It’s easy to understand that he didn’t necessarily hammer a shot into the three-cornered box in this situation. That he might not have been able to shoot sensibly because of the position he was in is just as obvious. When you look at the penalty, you basically say one thing: “Well, quite a weak shot, but the keeper had the right corner too.” Are we now to assume that he arranged the corner with the goalkeeper so that he could shoot it without it being too noticeable? No, that sounds absurd. He shoots it weakly because he was just in a strange mood and condition. At least it was shot well enough so that the keeper couldn’t hold it. After the rebound, everything was back to normal.
So now, as a final question, what did he really get the Fair Play Award for? If it was the gesture that either – which is readily conceded as a possibility – was intended to avert the penalty whistle, or which was intended to prevent the yellow card against himself, then it is a pretty minor action after all. Especially as the player Fowler could not possibly have built up a reputation at that point that made him a fair player. They simply didn’t know it yet (just this season, by the way, he and club mate Steve Mcmanaman were nicknamed “the Spice Boys”, which is not exactly a compliment and gave them both rather a dubious reputation).
This is only mentioned to make it clear that with certain, established players, one could already interpret the gesture with a high degree of reliability: “Yes, the man was always fair. If he shows that he hasn’t been fouled, then you can rely on it being fair and that it is meant to be fair. You can give him an award because overall he deserves it.” It can’t be the missed penalty. Because it was in this context – and at this moment you can take your hat off to Fowler again – that the honoured man said: “I didn’t want to miss it. I’m a striker and my job is to score goals. It was just a weakly taken penalty kick.” If one wanted to go further in the interpretation, one could say that he took the opportunity to straighten the picture a little: He was “accused” of fair play, which only he knows was not fair play at all (because he only wanted to prevent a yellow card). The fact that he was now accused of deliberately missing a penalty as an even greater fair play action (“Just imagine, Fowler doesn’t want to have a penalty at first, but after he couldn’t change the referee’s mind, he misses it on purpose! What a sportsman!”) became too much of an (undeserved) honour for him. “I didn’t miss it on purpose. Just so you know: I’m not that fair. (In my mind: I don’t have to explain the rest now).”
So this example – although certainly well remembered by some – is probably not suitable after all for demonstrating truly fair gestures on the football pitch in the recent past?!
c. Leicester City – Nottingham Forest
Another one from England: When a League Cup match (on 28 August 2007) between Nottingham Forest and Leicester City went into the dressing room with the score at half-time 1-0, Leicester player Clive Clarke collapsed with a heart attack. The players were in shock and although Clive Clarke, who was taken away to hospital as quickly as possible, survived the drama – unknown to the Leicester players at the time, of course — they were unable to continue playing, for understandable reasons. The spectators were informed of this circumstance and – sent home again. Stoppage of play.
The rules provided only one option in such a case: The game had to be replayed. There may be other options in other countries – mention here Spain, where a match was once abandoned in the 88th minute and later only the remaining 2 minutes were added — but in England this was the only way.
Now it should be noted that there is a special rivalry between Nottingham Forest and Leicester City of all people, which in this respect makes the following event even more remarkable: When the match was replayed on 18 September, the Nottingham goalkeeper was allowed to run alone towards the opponent’s goal from the halfway line in the 1st minute of the match and convert the ball without hindrance. The 1:0 was restored – without official instruction – in obvious unanimity.
Such a goal is quite unique but so is such behaviour. Even if this can be interpreted as a clear and undoubted Far Play gesture, it should only be noted here that a) it is actually a matter of course, since the Nottingham Forest players could just as well have decided to play on – covered by the rules – during the half-time break of the misfortune, so that this equally self-evident concession must nevertheless find a balance, but that b) it is so rarely encountered that one has to look back some time to find unique fair behaviour.
5) “Those who are not fair will be punished”.
Unfortunately, the research did not yield an exact result, to that extent the following story is told purely from memory, but even if not completely authentic, it reflects the absurdity of today’s application of the unwritten “fair play rule”.
It was a game in the English Premier League in which a player remained lying on the ground, but the opponent, who in the meantime had gained possession of the ball and was attacking, was not prepared to send the ball out of bounds and thus make treatment possible. Whether the player was actually injured, and if so, how seriously, should be left open for the moment. However, one may speculate whether it was only a fake injury or whether, once the principle has been internalised, the opponent simply refuses to play because, although in individual cases one may be mistaken – the player lying down is really injured – on the whole one is right in thinking that lying down is often used to force the opponent to play the ball out.
In any case, as usual, the spectators began to get indignant, but they were denied deeper insight, so they were simply playing politics, especially since it was probably a player of the home team who was lying on the ground. The attack continued and ended – in a successful conclusion. A goal was scored, which can be safely labelled “controversial”, let’s call it “dubious”, but there was no indication in the rules that the behaviour was punishable. At most, the unwritten law mentioned above was violated.
Considering this, the subsequent reaction of the loser becomes absurd. Because: a protest was lodged against the match score. As far as is known, this protest was not granted, but the matter was discussed in a highly controversial way by the media for a long time, so that the possibility of a replay could not be ruled out under any circumstances, but was propagated by many experts.
If one takes this idea to its logical conclusion – i.e. the decision would have been to replay the game – it would mean that a formulation would soon have to be included in the rules to put an end to this shambles: “If a player lies on the ground, the team in possession of the ball has the obligation to play the ball out of bounds within the next three seconds. Otherwise, the score will be 3:0 for the opponent, no ifs, ands or buts.
So that the players finally realise what fair play really means….
6) Unfair Play
The following game situation is also simply unbelievable, the way it has developed in recent years. The situation is as follows: a team is two goals down and scores the tying goal (there’s no such thing!) 7 minutes before the end. There is still time to think about equalising or even more. The prerequisite for this, however, is that the game continues. How do you make sure the game goes on? You get the ball out of the net. That’s what the players did 50 years ago. Not turning away, cheering, celebrating, being celebrated (what for?) but fetching the ball, playing on, of course. But what do you notice when you score a goal? You run into the goal, to where the ball is, and someone is already there! The goalkeeper has also pounced on the ball! What’s that all about? It was in, you’re too late, keeper!
Now the scramble begins. One pulls, the other tugs. This one on the ball, the other on his shirt. Other players from both teams have long since rushed in. Fight for the ball, rugby version. In the end, the referee can’t help himself, or so he thinks. Both players get yellow. The crowd boils (the goal was scored by the away team, of course). The whistle blows and three minutes are off the clock. What about the chances for an equaliser? By the way, the ref generously adds two minutes of injury time, which are completely taken up with the two substitution options – and the giving of another yellow card to the loser, who simply does not want to accept the justified defeat and just wants to play on, and draws the ref’s attention to this. For example, about the fact that the first player to be substituted has still not left the pitch after 35 seconds and is still trotting around the pitch clapping in all directions to the crowd. No, the referee alone would be responsible for punishment. You have nothing to say about that, player. Yellow goes to those who deserve it. The honour goes to the others.
Of course, no chapter should end without a positive resolution. There are simple solutions to this as well: First of all, it is quite obvious that everything is always interrelated and everyone would have to work together to stop seeing the scenes that are unfair, annoying, unsporting, unsightly, ugly, transparent but effective, instead those that are fair and sporting, that make you feel positive, give you goosebumps. It starts with the media, as always. They have the chance to highlight and denounce an actor who has been convicted. Often enough, there is no doubt about it. Viewers always have their part to play by locking horns with the obvious drudgery. That would be as a consequence of recognising the cause: possible. For “the spectator” could in future be predominantly the neutral spectator, who hardly exists at the moment, but who is to be targeted, addressed. Among other things, real fair scenes could also contribute to having this spectator back.
The real fan could also be “educated” by the media to certain sensibilities….
Everyone has a sense of what is fair and what is unsporting. There is an overriding sense of justice that everyone has, including the fan of a team. The latter will only see each individual scene as an “equaliser” because of the numerous injustices he previously felt against his team – certainly not entirely unjustifiably so.
The referees very much have the right, and should use it accordingly, to let the game go, even if someone is rolling on the ground. Here, of course, the problem arises that you can never 100% rule out the possibility that someone has actually done something to himself. But here, too, the rule would apply: The person who is really incapacitated once, without anyone being able to recognise it, should not immediately speak of injustice. He is part of the whole and everyone has worked over a long period of time to make it impossible to believe them. Provided that the much-desired fair play should creep in everywhere, it would be ensured at some point that the one who stays down is the one who is injured. Whoever is not, gets up, whoever is, stays down. Just like in the days of Uwe Seeler. No grey area. Code of honour. Everyone abides by it. The athletes are all on the same luxury liner, which is soon to get a golf course and a wave pool. The lifebuoys are already made of pure gold…