Self Discipline is key to holding back increase in dishonesty in sports

September 30, 2013 4:06 pm0 comments by:

self disciplineSport is defined as an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature. We expect as spectators, fans, participants or organisers that the competition is fair and everyone upholds the integrity of a particular sport. However, it clear that the trappings obtained from  success is causing increase in dishonesty in sports. It is never going to be eradicated completely but self discipline is key to holding back the speed.

Firstly, we need to identify the factor/s that is the driving force behind our decisions. This will help to control the outcome and  then create or apply a viable solution. Personally, there are 2 main primary factors influence of money and indiscipline. In all sports,having the financial muscle allows you to buy the best equipment kit, available resources or sign the best players. Competitors or opponents lacking the finance look impatiently for ways to compensate for difference . They do not have the patience to improve their technical skill without actually putting the hard work or resist illegal offers.

Wealthy owners of certain football teams are investing significant money in acquiring talented football players. The  players are paid handsomely for their talents. This leaves opposing teams with less talented or average squad. This creates an unfair advantage or competition across the league.
The players not selected by the wealthy owners, try different ways to bridge the gap. This might be taking illegal actions to compete and be successful. The idea is to rely on your craft to compensate for deficiency in technical or physical skills. The owners of these teams with average squad might be tempted to accept financial offers to influence the results .We have noticed increase in referees becoming a significant factor in the outcome of a football match.

In recent months, we have seen increase in referee match scandals in football matches played in the various leagues. Referees are supposed to manage matches and apply the law fairly. However, we hear about referees offered substantial amount of money to influence the outcome.
The biggest high profile incident in Nigeria this year involved players and officials of the Four Nigeria Nation Wide League Division 3 clubs that were implicated in the high scoring goal matches.

Briefing the press on the reports of the NFF investigative committee on the scandal, vice chairman of the NFF, Mike Umeh, who is also the committee chairman disclosed that evidence that was made available to the committee proved that both Plateau United feeders and Police Machine teams were involved in fraudulent activities with their opponents, which was aimed at outwitting each other in order to top the zone and gain promotion to the upper division of the league.

The players and officials, as well as, the referees got life ban for their part in the disgraceful act, while the clubs- Plateau United Feeders FC of Jos, Police Machine FC of Adamawa, Akurba FC of Lafia and Bubayaro FC of Gombe, which qualified for the NNWL Division 3 play off in Bauchi were accused of been involved in a match fixing scandal that led to the record of a total of 146 goals in two separate matches, where Plateau United defeated Akurba FC 79-0, while police machine team recorded a scandalous 67-0 margin against Bubayaro FC of Gombe.

There was also a recent incident in Ghana involving 9 referees, who falsified their age to appear younger. Ghana Football Association (GFA) served six months suspension effective September 15 on nine referees for their alleged involvement in age fraud. The match officials portray themselves much younger in their quest to move up the ladder and be selected for international competitions.

The management of African nations like any other football nation have always wanted the best for their nation. The difference is that a recent number of African nations e.g Cape Verde Islands, Togo, Ethiopia have been found guilty of fielding ineligible players. It is a sad situation, considering the management have to show example to the individual players and the professional teams. FIFA have recognised this problem and seem to be urgently punishing culprits. The problem is whether other African nations will learn from these culprits.

If you go by recent history, then it does not look like being a deterrent. The difference in financial gains between success and failure is huge reason. I am aware that sports has benefited massively with introduction of finance. It has helped under privileged regions have access to equipment or coaching facility. This helps directly to improve technical skill in a particular sport. Finance is also important contributor in upholding the integrity by allowing the inspectors to conduct drug tests.
The challenge is to prevent Finance becoming the driving factor as oppose to the assistance. We want to inject finance and have a fair competition. It is no secret that we have been participant or witness of dishonesty in sports. Each person decides on the best action to take depending on what is at stake. Personally, I have always been as honest and fair as possible. However, I would be lying if I have at the time unknown to me called a tennis ball out, when it is inside the line.

I have not taken this action in full knowledge that it was an unfair call. I called it as it appeared to me. Our individual actions might seem insignificant at the time of the event. In addition, we easily blame players, management, referees or others for dishonesty in sports. But, it is our principles that influence our family, friends, work colleague and then this in turn transferred to the society.

Obioma Aguocha
Self Publisher:The Guide to being the Best (Paperback) 2007 & Sporting Success Simplified (E-book) 2012

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