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2011 | 52 | 1 | 33-43

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Foul Play in Sport as a Phenomenon Inconsistent with the Rules, yet Acceptable and Desirable



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Author considers assumptions related to foul play in sport as a phenomenon, that affect the body, psyche, or relationships - various social involvements, conditionings, and determinants of those involved with that particular form of athletic activity. This includes fouls committed on and off the field, as well as those not even related to a particular game. Our considerations include fouls of a verbal or acoustic nature; fouls in the form of printed materials; those in the form of visual commentary in films, TV shows, Internet appearances, whether in feature films, dramatized documentaries, documentaries or reports presented in a different publications, festivals, exhibitions, during which co-participants, adversaries or competitors make comments on past or future events during or beyond the competition.Fouls in sport, particularly those committed by athletes during competition, will always be inconsistent with the accepted rules of the game, that is, with the official regulations. Fouls will also always influence - in more or less annoying, depressing, painful or even tragic ways - the fate and the health of athletes.No logical - conditional, cause and effect - connection exists between a foul and the rules. Neither the need for nor praise of foul play can stem from the regulations. Yet people directly associated with the sport tolerate it because there is a widespread, quiet acquiescence of such play. Foul play is strongly opposed by supporters of the fair play principle, by those who do not regard sports competition as a phenomenon that can be considered independently beyond moral good and evil.Foul play is seen also as a desirable phenomenon, when inter alia, regardless of the various penalties imposed on players and team, it helps - in the final balance of losses and benefits - to achieve the planned success. Moreover, it is worth adding that, for instance, the so-called "good foul" in basketball enables one to stop the game clock, the so-called pure-play time of the referee. This creates the possibility of obtaining at least one more point (for a possible 3-point shot from a distance) than the team that executes its two one-point penalty shots granted for the offense (that is, "good foul").Foul play may also enhance the course of the sports spectacle, and encourage spectators to cheer more frequently. This is particularly important when professional athletic contests are treated as a form of business. The dramatization of foul play as a creation of "game" within a game can also be an additional attraction of the competition; foul play might be used as sophisticated and spectacular trickery, that dismays and hurts in its pragmatic-aesthetic construction, both the referee and the opponent.Foul play in sports has so many forms and will probably never lose its popular and sometimes spectacular character. Knowing that, everything should be done to protect players from bothersome health, interpersonal, and cultural disablements resulting from foul play.









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1 - 10 - 2011
31 - 10 - 2011


  • Josef Pilsudski University of Physical Education, Warsaw, Poland


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