Just what would you be willing to do to achieve success in your chosen sport? It's a fundamental question that arises from time to time, whenever an individual or a team's behaviour seems contrary to the spirit in which the majority of people would expect sport to be played. Whether it be footballers' diving on the Football pitch, cricketers tampering with the ball, athletes in various sports taking banned substances or rugby players gouging in the scrum / ruck, should we be surprised by the lengths that sportspeople are willing to go to gain an advantage?

The constant claims that certain footballers are looking for contact when in the box, seem to divide the pundits equally into those that see it as a duty for the striker to ensure that the officials see the offence and those that see it as simulation and should be penalised as such. However, is that any worse than the deliberate blocking of a player on the half line (as occurred in the Championship playoff this year) to 'take one for the team' and ensure that a dangerous situation is diffused as early as possible?

It's not just football though where such anti spirit of the game behaviour can be witnessed. Similar actions can be seen in such as rugby, where a player is blocked off, has their eyes gouged or are held on to in the hope that such underhand 'manoeuvres' are missed by the officials.

Is this down to the heat of the battle, the riches on offer for success or just a malevolent streak in the individuals concerned?

Cycling has had its share of issues through the years over their athletes failing drugs tests. Is that down to the rigours of the events that make them need to be almost superhuman in their physical prowess to compete at that level?

If so, given the physical efforts involved in competing at the top level day after day for weeks on end, should we be surprised to discover that not all can achieve such herculean levels without being tempted to find means to find that extra surge when they need it? Athletics could be applauded for its efforts to catch the cheats, but do the bans go far enough to dissuade the athletes from taking the risk of getting caught out, given the riches and successes they can gain if they escape detection?

Ben Johnson clearly felt the risk was worth it before the Seoul Olympics.

Perhaps we should look to the motivations to gain an advantage as coming from the sportspeople's backgrounds? Luis Suarez has clearly been influenced by his country people's desire for success over his career when playing for Uruguay, but is this merely a misunderstanding of what is acceptable from other countries' athletes based on our own code of ethics or should be really be as horrified by such actions as many are? Suarez was not viewed as a villain back in his own country after his altercation with the Italian Chiellini (and indeed back in Italy they seemed more concerned by their own team's lack of success than that individual incident), yet Beckham's sending off against Argentina in previous World Cups was treated with far stronger passion by the English fans.

As a footnote, maybe we should consider the words of the famous Liverpool football club manager of days gone by Bill Shankly, as to his own feelings about how much football meant to him for some kind of insight as potential motivations....". Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that". He also commented that "If a player is not interfering with play or seeking to gain an advantage, then he should be." Maybe he was more ahead of his time than first thought?