Cheats face football fans' backlash

Cheats face fans' backlash

FOOTBALL'S rising tide of cheats face a fans' backlash, a study revealed today.

But Manchester United supporters will buck the trend - by going soft on conmen.

That's no surprise as Old Trafford winger Cristiano Ronaldo tops the list of shame after his World Cup whining, winking and diving.

The survey shows that one in three fans will target known bad-boys, even if the players behave well on the day.

And a third of supporters claim cheats deter them from going to games.

But just 21 per cent of United fans will pick on cheats, compared to 52 per cent at survey-topping Portsmouth.

Only six per cent will let their own players get away with cheating.

Germany 2006 sent outrage over conmen soaring, especially with Ronaldo's role in England striker Wayne Rooney's red card against Portugal.

And the new research by Virgin Money, which also monitors ticket prices through its Football Fans’ Inflation Index, found that diving is the most hated form of cheating.

Some 59 per cent of followers claim they will barrack dirty tricks from ANYONE, whatever the player's reputation.

Supporters are angry, too, at dissent towards officials and players waving imaginary cards or pleading with referees to punish opponents.

That might seem a bit rich, given the amount of abuse fans give referees!

The study - based on 2,074 supporters quizzed online - shows youngsters are more lenient towards cheating.

Teenagers are less likely to boycott matches because of dirty tricks.

And for those aged 16 to 19 as many as 16 per cent - twice the average - will accept cheating from their own side.

Virgin Money’s Scott Mowbray said: "The World Cup produced some great football and some absolutely shocking cheating.

"Fans are gradually becoming fed up.

"Fans pay a lot of money and want to see good football without the unconvincing play-acting and cheating that is increasingly getting served up.

"Plenty of players and managers have said they’ve had enough of cheating and fans are right behind them."



Percentage of fans who will target cheats directly from stands this season, regardless of behaviour on the day

1 Fratton Park (Portsmouth) 52%
2 Upton Park (West Ham) 48%
3 Emirates Stadium (Arsenal) 48%
4 Riverside Stadium (Middlesbrough) 47%
5 JJB Stadium (Wigan Athletic) 45%


Ground % of fans who will target cheats directly from stands this season, regardless of behaviour on the day.

1 Old Trafford (Man Utd) 21%
2 Bramall Lane (Sheffield Utd) 30%
3 White Hart Lane (Tottenham Hotspur) 32%
4 City of Manchester Stadium (Manchester City) 32%
5 Madejski Stadium (Reading) 34%


1 Diving to win a penalty 26%
2 Feigning injury 23%
3 Asking the referee to send off a player 14%
4 Waving imaginary cards at referees 13%
5 Diving to win a foul 13%
6 Dissent at referees’ decisions 5%
7 Professional fouls 4%
8 Asking the referee to book a player 2%
I love football (soccer in Canada). I play on a team, but I never dive or cheat. I just love to play the game. I watched the world cup and hated most of it. Too much diving. It's amazing how a player can look like he's in all this pain, then pour some water on his ankle and be back in the game, good as new. Was that magic water they poured on him?