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Is winning all that counts?


Winning, like money, has become the root of all evil in sports. Athletes will do anything to win.

Football is slowly losing its reputation as the beautiful game due to some Oscar-deserving performances from players to get an opposition player sent off or to gain an unfair advantage for the team.

In the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, players are taking dives and the referees actually buy that and send off the innocent player. Penalties have been given and some denied, with the culprits walking around as ‘heroes’.

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez's winner in an FA Cup match against minnows Mansfield re-ignited the morality debate in sport - should the honesty card be played in the heat of battle?

Suarez's goal, aided by a clear handball, was judged accidental by referee Andre Marriner and his assistants. The Uruguayan striker is famous for a handball on the goal-line that prevented Ghana's Dominic Adiyiah from scoring a winner in the last minute of a 2010 World Cup quarterfinal.

Despite Suarez being sent off, Asamoah Gyan missed the penalty - and Uruguay triumphed in the shootout after extra time to make the semis.

How honest should sportsmen be on the field of play? Is it up to the match officials to spot incidents of cheating or must players own up when they clearly know they have gained an advantage from an infringement?

Is winning really all that counts? What about the spirit of fair play that Fifa promotes and, above all, your conscience as player, knowing you gained advantage unfairly?

Golfers penalise themselves for rule infringements and so do snooker players but there is no such thing as a perfect world unless you are Iván Fernández Anaya.

Many might not know this one but on December 2 Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre.

Anaya was second, some distance behind race leader, Abel Mutai - bronze medalist in the 3 000 metre steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner - the certain winner of the race - mistakenly pull up about 10 metres before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.

Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him but, instead of taking advantage of Mutai's mistake to speed past and claim victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.

The 24-year-old Ivan Fernandez Anaya, who is considered an athlete with a big future, shocked many with his post-race comments regarding his gesture.

"Even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European Championships, I wouldn't have done it differently. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won.

“That is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well," he said.

Very little has been said of the gesture and I thought Anaya deserved a standing ovation from the rest of the world. In my opinion, sport should not be about fingers in the eyes of the enemy, violent kicks, trash talk but more about goodwill and the spirit of fair play.

Give Fernandez a Walka!

Follow @clydegoal on Twitter


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