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The origin and development of the principles of “fair play”

Any sports are attracted by the sincere desire of the participants to win. Football was no exception. The most popular team game is simply replete with emotions, uncompromising struggle and the desire to win. However, often the desire to win outweighs such important concepts as honesty, respect for the opponent, etc. Winning at any cost does not bring proper understanding or admiration in society. It is important for an athlete or team to always keep their face and be a good role model.

Of course, putting a football player in a moral framework is a thankless task. Each country has its own mentality, its own concepts of decency and respect. However, general rules of conduct on and off the football field are necessary. That is why the concept of “fair play” arose, which initially took the form of an oral agreement.

The origin of the “fair game” (that is how fair play is translated from English) took place during the formation of football in Britain. Then this sport began its tread in elite private schools and was amateur in nature. The vast majority of young people who were the first to learn football came from wealthy families and represented the elite of that time. Therefore, the principle of the game “victory at any cost” was completely absent. Those “aristocratic” times of football can be safely called the birth of “fair play” and, possibly, the most “honest” and noble period of this sport. It was then that the main principles were formed, which are the basis of the “fair play” and now:

equal opportunities for both teams to meet;
full acceptance of the rules of the game;
respect for the opponent.
At the end of the 19th century, the working class became an integral part of football, gradually leveling the aristocracy and elitism of the game. The sport developed and expanded at an unimaginable pace. At this time, the principles of “fair play” received the first serious test. For teams representing different classes of society, victory came to the fore. Respect for the opponent was not always visible, which resulted in excessive rudeness. There was a clear transition to the principle of “winning at all costs.” These events became the catalyst for the appearance of the judiciary, which began its activities in 1871.

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However, the appearance on the field of the referee did not become a panacea. In modern football, it is to the representatives of the refereeing body that many questions arise. Quite often, referee errors directly affect the outcome of a match. With enviable regularity, there are proposals for the introduction of video replays, which should help avoid serious “misses” by the referee.

The referees are constantly under pressure from the football community. Any “productive” error on the field can be interpreted as “bias” and cause a decline in the career of an arbitrator. The principles of “fair play” are directly related to the referees serving the football match. However, “fair play” should also be followed by football players and fans.

A football match is a sporting event that is broadcast on television and is served by photographers and correspondents. Any word or deed of a player becomes public. That is why football players should always remember the principles of “fair play” and follow them. FIFA and UEFA are actively promoting the fair play brand, attracting famous players to this movement and creating many social videos. The football equipment and other official attributes almost always bear the recognizable “fair play” emblem. Thus, football organizations try to constantly remind about the importance of observing the principles of fair fight and mutual respect.

Dr. Gunther A. Pills, a German researcher in the field of sociology, derived four main concepts of fair play:

an honest player fully accepts the rules of the game;
a player seeks to win a match only within the rules;
the player shows all his best qualities, but must allow his opponent to show them;
an honest spectator must be fair and adequately perceive all the events taking place on the field.
On the last point, questions and fierce disputes often arise. The behavior of fans very often does not fit into the principles of “fair play”. Of course, we are talking only about a part of football fans. But this is enough to talk about the average level of culture of the fan. Very often in the stadiums there is a hidden propaganda of dubious political movements. The whole sports society has heard a problem with racism. Even in developed countries there are outbreaks of aggression against representatives of individual nationalities. Therefore, football organizations are trying to carefully work on this problem. Every fan or person who comes to the stadium must understand that he is part of a sporting event and must also adhere to the principles of “fair play”. In football there is no place for aggression, racism, hatred or political speculation. It is a pity that many do not understand this.

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