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Toomanycheats are prospering in toomanysports; Paddy SHENNAN Likes: Pubs, Everton and Half Man Half Biscuit. Hates: Everything else.

THERE will be some unkind souls happy to claim that the cheating scandal currently rocking the world of cricket is at least making the sport more interesting.

The same unkind souls probably also suggested that "Bloodgate" (when Harlequins player Tom Williams faked injury with the help of a blood capsule to effect a tactical substitution) performed the same service for rugby union.

But, really, how could anything make rugby union interesting? Although I've always been pretty interested in cricket, I can understand the mockers and the mickey-takers. Test cricket - the classic, and by far the best, form of the game - can be a real test of a person's patience and attention span.

I can remember when, as excited youngsters eagerly awaiting the start of a Test match between England and Australia, my brother and I decided to act as amateur scorers.

This, of course, would have entailed sitting in front of the TV for several hours a day for five days. What happened? The first day's play got underway at 11am and we put down our pencils and went out to play at 11.20am.

Though I DO like the game - and am now older and wiser - I still don't last much longer in a single sitting.

But back to the cheating - perhaps there is so much fuss made about scandals in cricket and rugby union because they are still perceived as being the pastimes of gentlemen.

Diabolical dealings and dodgy doings in the greed-fest that is football? We expect nothing less.

We expect to hear about unsavoury things going on off the pitch - whether of a financial, violent or sexual nature.

And we expect to see all manner of unsavoury things happening ON the pitch. We expect to see players continue to try and perfect their swan dives (even when they know half the nation, if not half the referees, know their gamesmanship - cheating - inside out) and we expect to see players continually feigning serious injury, just because they want to waste some time or, perhaps, because they've just lost out in a fair tackle which led to a goal for the opposition.

Cheats in all sports should be exposed and punished, but too many are prospering - and destroying the souls of supporters. It's just not cricket (football etc) - it's just not sporting.
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 1, 2010
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