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Soccer is arguably the most popular and endowed sport in the world. The game commands a massive fan base allover the world owing to its exciting nature and the money injected into the discipline. Sportsmanship is also part of popularizing soccer worldwide. The game, despite its popularity, has been blemished by ugly incidences. It should also be noted that sportsmanship as a discipline not only centers on players but also the referees and the fans.
The idea of sportsmanship in soccer is simply playing the game fairly. Players bearing the spirit of the game in mind give a lot more respect to the game than those who bring with them bad intentions to the game, for instance, swearing, fighting, and cheating.
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Sportsmanship in soccer is exhibited through a number of ways. Firstly, sportsmanship calls for discipline and respect. A competitor ought to respect the opponent by not engaging in cheating or doping in the challenge one is competing. Secondly, if you foul a player, help him to get up and see to it that he is alright. Moreover, the spirit of sportsmanship demands that one should kick the ball out of play when an opponent is injured. In addition, return the ball to the opponent after it is 0ut of play. More often, players find it hard to praise an opponent for showing a brilliant play; instead, they blow their horns when they make an excellent play, a vice in sportsmanship.
Free kicks won as a result of fouls should be executed in line with the rules governing soccer. Though some may not be in writing, it is good sportsmanship to allow the opponents set up the wall and wait for the referee to blow the whistle rather than taking it quickly. Such incidences are witnessed all over in the soccer fraternity where every team is just after salvaging a win. Lastly but not least, players exchanging a handshake after the game is an indicator of maturity in the game.
On the other hand, bad sportsmanship, starts when discipline lacks in the game. The players abuse sportsmanship in different ways. Bad sportsmanship entails declining to shake hands with the opponents after the game, fouling a player and showing little or no concern at all, whining when you loose, cursing and throwing items, and even saying degrading comments and using obscene gestures. The latter incident was witnessed in the 2006 world cup where an Italian player- Marco Matterazzi- was head butted by Zenadine Zidane of France. Asked why he did so, Zidane claimed that Matterazi had abused his parents, an allegation the latter denied. This did a terrific harm to the image of soccer.
Referees sometimes make erroneous judgments, which elicit different, reactions from the players and fans. This does not, however, give them the right to walk off the fields or hurl abuses at him. Such incidences have occurred not once but in many occasions. For instance, in a match between Manchester United and Lille saw Manchester winning courtesy of Ryan Giggs penalty which was quickly executed without the referee blowing the whistle. Although he allowed it, many fans feel that Giggs portrayed unsportsmanship. This incident sparked off a controversy.
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It will be suicidal not to mention one of the famous acts of indecent sportsmanship in the 1986 FIFA World cup. Labeled 'The hand of God incident" where the famous Argentine legend Maradona scored by use of his hand. The referee allowed the goal because he did not see the hand ball. Later, when asked, Maradona admits that the goal was partly scored by his head and partly by the hand of God. We may argue that a true sportsman should have admitted it in the first instance.
To draw the curtains on this essay, sportsmanship in soccer drastically improves the game. One ought to go into the field without intent of hurting the opponent but with the spirit of the love of the game. Bad sportsmanship should also be scoffed at any costs.