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If You Were Yakubu, What Would You Have Done?

Wigan against Blackburn on a cold November afternoon. Normally not a game that would catch my imagination and certainly not one that prior to this weekend I imagined myself writing about come the start of the week. But one incident has really got me thinking about the way that we treat footballers and what we expect from them when it comes to sporting behaviour. The corner move between Yakubu and Morten Gamst Pedersen has caused a huge amount of debate across the airwaves and in the press. Was it cheating? Should the officials have spotted it? What should be our response?

Personally, I have found it worrying the amount of times that I have heard people say that it was all part of the game and that the players had no responsibility to help the officials reach the correct conclusion. I can’t disagree more. This was a case of a player, Yakubu, knowing full well that a goal should be ruled out and not saying so. I have had enough of the lack of morals in modern sport but to a point I can deal with it. But this incident is beyond the pale.

At any point from Pedersen taking the corner to the moment the ball hit the back of the net, the Nigerian could have spoken up. There is absolutely no excuse for him. What happened on Saturday was cheating and unfortunately blame appears to be everywhere apart from at the feet of those responsible, the Blackburn players.

Roberto Martinez, in his post-match interview, claimed that the referee and his assistants should have spotted the lack of a touch. Pundits analysed the positioning of the officials and appeared to conclude that they were at fault. Yakubu claimed that Blackburn “had got away with one”. This at least was true – but only because he allowed the desire to win to override his responsibility to play by the rules.

This is the bottom line in this case. Yakubu, as with all players, not only has a duty to try and win the game but also has a responsibility to uphold the laws and spirit of the game. Too often football seems to have completely lost sight of the fact that it is a sport and that can not be a good thing for the future of the game.

We all want to see players doing all they can to get those three points but we also have to bear in mind that there has to be a line somewhere. If we start to accept Yakubu’s attitude as the norm then how long until we accept that diving is a legitimate attempt to gain an advantage and that asking a referee to book an opponent is acceptable behaviour? Football is important to a lot of people but if it becomes more important than upholding the difference between right and wrong then it really is in trouble.

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  1. Matthew Duncan

    November 25, 2011 at 9:40 am


    I have to say that I have not seen a single piece of footage that proves that Yakubu touches the ball. I have however seen his reaction and his post match admission. These are both facts. As is the fact that you were clearly mistaken trying to link thsi incident to someone making a late run into the box at a corner. With your clear obsession with facts you are starting to sound uncannily like Senor Benitez.

    As for your statements regarding United, I think you are slightly blinded by your support of Liverpool. Are you seriously suggesting that United won the title because of Howard Webb? Sounds a little bitter to me. I admit that United do get a few odd decisions at home but too say that that is the reason for their league win is ridiculous. Care to explain the other 18 in similar fashion?

    I agree that we should have video replays within the game, always have done. They have improved every sport that they have been introduced to and the fact that those in charge of football believe that it is any different smacks of arrogance.

  2. Keith

    November 24, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    I havent seen statements where yabubu has admitted that they had got away with cheating, the only statements i have read is where they are stating they didnt cheat, soory but you can see it in the video it wasnt deliberate, your just trying to cling on, i can bring facts and statements into this, unfortunately you cant, that speaks wonders.

    there is only one answer to what your TRYING to express your thoughts on, and theres bigger issues than an accidental foul corner, its teams like unite who stole the league title from liverpool a couple years back, refs like howard webb giving united penaltys in i think 3 matches that season to get them back into games, when they clearly werent penaltys, and the extra extra fergie time, some critic added the points united got through either the extra extra time that was well beyond what should’ve been given and decisions from refs like webb, it added to i think 17 points,

    So its not footballers who fall foul of cheating, also refs,

    The only answer is video replays to help with decisions, this wont ruin a game, it’ll help prevent cheating, correct penalty decisions, etc.

    But on Yakubu, he didnt cheat, and ya havent brought a single FACT like i have.

    Saying did you see his reaction doesnt cut it as a fact, thats just your assumption

  3. Matthew Duncan

    November 24, 2011 at 9:29 am


    The reason that it is cheating is because Yakubu knew full well he had not taken the corner properly – just take a look at his reaction as him and Pedersen run back to restart the match. If it wa an accidental foul then why would Yakubu have said that they “got away with one” after the match?
    I understand what the difference between an accidental foul and deliberate cheating is by the way. In my opinion this is a case of the latter. I would also point out that my frustration is more aimed at the acceptance of cheating by those who watch football. The response from other posters – that the players have enough on their plates without trying to officiate the game and that it is only cheating if you get caught – show that the attitude pervading the game is one where it is more important to win than to play by the rules. If this is the case then football is in a very bad way.
    Keith, What do you think about that? If your team had won through an act of cheating, would you be happy? Would you place any responsibility on the shoulders of the players or would you simply say that because it wasn’t spotted it wasn’t cheating?

  4. Keith

    November 24, 2011 at 8:32 am

    mate as i said your deluding yourself, there was FOOTAGE that clearly showed that the first player placed the ball down, stood up, whilst moving forward passed the ball, he made a CLEAR TAP of the ball, unfortunatley its difficult to make out exactly how much or little the ball moved, a possibility the ball may appear not to have moved, but, if you watched the videos as they were discussing it it shows that contact was defo made, and on purpose aswell, you can also see the players movement and body action was carrying this move out, you can also see he was looking towards the penalty box as he done this, as if not disguise what he was doing, whilst following the laws of the game, then when the second player came over he may already be aware of what has happened as this may have been something they have practised in training (this was my point refering to other examples. You can see a legitimate attempt in playing the ball by player one, then player to carried on as if a short pass was made, i’m sorry but you clearly didnt do enough research as they showed all this on tv, what i will add, slightly in your defence,since you need help by making a daft aquisation they cheated, is that there is a question how much a ball needs to travel for it not to be classed as a foul,and if the ball was touched enough to move it of the corner line, if this happened then tey done it right and was a fair goal, if they misjudged this move then it was a CLEAR ACCIDENTAL FOUL, because you may not understand what i mean i’ll throw you another example, when a player throws a ball into play, he has to follow certain measures to make sure its a legal throw in, sometimes they ACCIDENTALLY make a foul throw, therefor advantage given to opposition, based on what your stating you would be classing this as cheating as well, but all it is is a clearly misjudged throwin, and guess what, quite often refs ignore it, exactly the same as the corner, it was an honest attempt, they might have followed the guidlines correctly, if they didnt then it was an ACCIDENTAL FOUL.

    You cant call someone a cheat over what was either an awesome set piece, or possibly an accidental foul.

    It was on tv in black and white mate, whoops i refrase that, it was on tv in colour, dont wanna be the next person being accused of being racist by a journo lol.

    Like i said, i dont care about these teams, so it doesnt bother me, just like to correct misjudged journos who think they know best 🙂

  5. Keith

    November 24, 2011 at 2:15 am

    MATTHEW, first of all i support liverpool, so i aint being bias at all over this, i’ll base this as an outsider who doesnt even care, i’ll you’s the facts and laws and keep it simple and unlike you I wont make statements that are false.
    – Firstly, i’m not denying there is a small SMALL chance he went against the law of the game, but listen careful as I make a fool out’ve you and your article, as i’m sick of journos twisting and manipulating stuff.

    – You and no one can prove he cheated, you can ASSUME, you cant prove this.

    -A corner doent have to be kicked, launched or passed, the smallest of touches are allowed, this happened at the beginning of the corner

    -some would say but he wasnt looking, again he might have caught a glimpse

    – also, EVERY team does this, they practise set pieces, they chip the ball at free kicks so the striker has an elevated shot, some teams have their players out of the box prior to corner, running into the box at last minute, to confuse the opponents

    Add together and what do we get

    a LEGAL set piece/corner, taken LEGALLY, this was possible practised by the team or even the players exchanged words as they were setting up the corner,

    no matter how you try and twist it they stayed within the laws of the game, even if it happened by accident, as the ball was touched ever so slightly prior to him running into the box with it.

    I hope by simplifying everything it makes it easier for you to understand.

    MAYBE we’ll hear an appology from you on the comments page in realising you misunderstood the laws of the game and didnt think this through thoroughly without though

    aaaaa, who am i kidding, your a writer/journo, yous are never wrong LMAO hahaha

    • Matthew Duncan

      November 24, 2011 at 5:52 am


      I am very sorry that the article appears to have annoyed you so much. However, I stand by what I said in the article, Yakubu cheated and it is a horrible sign of the state of the game that it has just been accepted as part of the game.
      All the other examples you gave in your post are legal – you can run late into the box and you can flick the ball up at a free kick (after it has been passed). However, at a corner the ball has to move. It must leave the corner quadrant and be seen to move. This was clearly not the case here, even if, and I doubt this to be the case, Yakubu did touch the ball.
      The bottom line is that Yakubu cheated and the fact that it has been accepted as part of the game by the majority of fans is a sad indictment of the state of the game.
      For you, I would suggest that if this type of controversy (cheating) is so important for you and you feel that football would suffer without it then possibly your appreciation of the attractiveness of football as a sport is not as high as you think it is. Surely if football is a great sport you should be able to watch a good honest game of it and appreciate that without the need for added entertainment through poor decisions and cheating players?

  6. Femi

    November 23, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    There is not one single player on this earth that would not have done the same thing as Yakubu. It is worrying yes! But we shouldn’t point fingers because cheating is as old as the game itself. Who is responsible for this? FIFA? Why? They have refused to implement the adequate technology to stop these things from happening. Some would say, the imperfections of Soccer is what makes it such a great game.

  7. Femi

    November 23, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Oh please! Because it was Yakubu that did it, it becomes a crime. When Messi scored a goal with his hand, all anybody could say was how similar he was to Maradona. Or during the world cup (of all stages) when Luis Suarez deliberately handled the ball to deny Ghana’s goal. It was all forgotten and now Yakubu is being persecuted just because he didn’t say anything? Imagine what would have happened had he said the goal should not be allowed, what do you think would have happened to his living situation by now, he would have to leave Blackburn… But no one dare mentions Messi in this situation cos he’s an angel and can’t do wrong. Wasn’t scoring with his hand cheating and unethical?

  8. Jason

    November 23, 2011 at 11:14 am

    This is soccer not cricket!

  9. CTBlues

    November 23, 2011 at 9:34 am

    It’s only cheating if you get caught. If you watch American football try and tell me there isn’t holding on every play it’s just that it isn’t always seen. I was also wondering if you have seen the commercial with teenage kids playing basketball and the ref says that ball when out off the loosing team, but the kid that the ball actually went off of tells his coach and then tells the ref?

  10. Matthew Duncan

    November 23, 2011 at 9:22 am

    I am not just talking about Yakubu. Here is the example. I was disgusted with Henry equally. Yakubu is not the only person I am frustrated with.
    As for the phrase “silly tricks” it is this kind of attitude that frustrates me. It is not something to be taken lightly and brushed off, it is cheating and cheating will only ever damage the game.

  11. Seun

    November 23, 2011 at 8:48 am

    In as much i see Ɣ☺ΰя point of view, i believe Ʊ should re-direct Ɣ☺ΰя opinion to the right authority. Every footballer ve silly tricks in dem but it remains the duty of the officials to spot them.

    We ve countless experience where the officilaled to do their job eg. The hand of God goal by maradonna, the foul by Henry that took france to the last world cup etc. You should not just stay here abusing Yakubu.

  12. Matthew Duncan

    November 23, 2011 at 8:07 am


    I am not asking for players to make judgments on every decision within a match. I am simply stating that I believe players ahve a responsibility to the rules of the game. Yakubu knew he had cheated but you believe that because the referee had missed it then it was no longer cheating?
    Personally I can not agree with that opinion.


  13. DJ

    November 23, 2011 at 7:42 am

    This is one of the most stupid and pointless articles I’ve read in a while. Where in d rule book does d morals or lack therof of a player affect the officiating decisions in a game? Once a decison Is made by the officials its done, the players job is to get on with the game, they have enough to worry about playing the game itself without trying to do the job of the officials along with that.

    Thoroughly abysmal journalism

  14. Karl connon

    November 23, 2011 at 7:32 am

    If you worry about this goal/behavier then what about all the players who dive or play hit the ground at the slightest touch or even the worst of all the spitters.

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