Saturday, July 3, 2010

Time for football to adopt the 'penalty try' principle

It seems fairly obvious that the penalty for any foul play or cheating in sport should at the very least seek to restore the status quo of what would have been the case had the cheating not occurred. A red card and a penalty kick was all very well tonight, but it didn't win Ghana the game, which is what would have happened - with absolute certainty - if Suárez hadn't deliberately stuck his hand out to prevent a goal.

Rugby has a rule for precisely such circumstances, empowering the referee to award a full try rather than just a penalty if he is satisfied a try would definitely have been scored but for the transgression. In football, such a clear-cut scenario would only occur very occasionally - but the events of tonight show that such a rule is nevertheless desperately needed, otherwise there's an obvious incentive for players to cheat in certain circumstances. No handball from Suárez = certain defeat for Uruguay. Handball from Suárez = a chance of victory.

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