On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

11th January 2013 at 00:00

This week: Luis Suarez

It was an accident. He deserves our sympathy. It was ball to hand, not handball. Who can blame him? He was only doing his ridiculous-number-of-pounds-a-week job. The referee didn't spot it and that's the way the game goes.

Either that, or he's a cheat.

Yes, Luis Suarez, Liverpool's top scorer, is on the TES naughty step. In fact, this week he's pretty much on the national naughty step for an incident involving the ball, his hand and a goal against non-league Nottinghamshire side Mansfield Town that put Liverpool into the fourth round of the FA Cup competition.

PE teachers will have groaned watching the incident, knowing it will be that bit more difficult to reason with pupils who try it on now they've seen the pros get away with it. At least Suarez didn't say it was the hand of God.

In schools around the country - not just in Nottinghamshire and Merseyside - teachers will find themselves drawn into long conversations about the ethics of whether the end goal justifies unfair means, and whether footballers have any responsibility to act as role models to their younger supporters.

You may want to point out that Mansfield Town left 96 seats at its ground empty in memory of the Liverpool fans who died in the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium disaster. Sometimes it is important to discuss what happens in football stadiums - but sometimes it is just a blatant attempt to get out of practising quadratic equations.

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