An ethical consideration to justify why shirt pulling in football is regarded as cheating and not gamesmanship
University of Wales
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Footballers are now, more than ever, consciously seeking ways of gaining an advantage over their opponents. Shirt pulling is a common practice and its status is ambiguous. The purpose of this dissertation is to resolve the ongoing problem in football, justifying why shirt pulling is cheating and not gamesmanship. There are a system of rules to specify what constitutes performance and the way to compare this fairly, so that the best man wins. There are two possible ways to look at this; the first is a philosophical theory of sport known as formalism, which states that fair play is defined by rule adherence. In addition the relationship between formalism and cheating will be examined. The counter argument known as conventionalism will then be addressed, which suggests fair play is defined by rule adherent and by the ethos of sport. Then the link between conventionalism and gamesmanship will be made. To support the overall argument that shirt pulling is cheating the concept of fair play will be summarised, looking at: (a) fair play as a fair contest; (b) fair play as respect for the rules; (c) fair play as contract or agreement: and (d) fair play as respect for the game. Shirt pulling is cheating and ought to be more carefully policed because firstly, it is detrimental to the game, as the footballer’s ability is not being tested and secondly if we allow shirt pulling other dubious, non relevant practices might be justified by players.
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