Author(s): Mike Rowbottom
Foul Play dissects the age-old subject of cheating in all its absurdity. From plain old doping to claiming a marathon victory despite having driven the middle section of the race, from match-fixing to diving for a penalty - cheating in sport is as old as sport itself. There are plenty of well-known cases of cheats being found out in sport: Ben Johnson, for example, was stripped of his 100m Olympic medal after a positive drugs test; South African cricketer Hansie Cronje was banned from all cricket for life after admitting involvement in match-rigging; rugby union recently found itself having to deal with the "bloodgate" scandal. However, there are myriad other examples of bending the rules more subtly: pressuring the referee, demoralising an opponent with mind games, or shirt-pulling. But what constititues cheating and where do we draw the line? Are some sports cleaner than others? Is cheating in one sport the same as cheating in another or does each sport's distinctive culture set different standards? Is there such a thing as a sport without sin? Or, indeed, a sporting competitor? This book is not a catalogue of past sporting misdemeanours so much as an investigation into the lengths to which some sports people have gone, and will go, to get the better of others. And also the lengths to which they will not go.
Foul Play looks at cheating in sport in all its guises: from doping to match-fixing, from tampering with equipment to mind games. Where to draw the line between gamesmanship and outright cheating? Foul Play investigates the lengths some people will go to just to win.
Mike Rowbottom has written about sport for a number of national newspapers over the past 25 years. He has covered five summer Olympics and four winter Olympics, several Wimbledon tournaments and too many football matches to count, as well as many minor sports such as croquet, real tennis and arm wrestling.