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Last Updated: Monday, 16 June, 2003, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Maradona tops 'bad sport' vote
Diego Maradona
Maradona claimed the incident was 'the hand of God'
Diego Maradona's handball goal against England in the 1986 World Cup has topped an online poll as the worst-ever example of unfair play in sport.

In the vote, conducted by children's charity the NSPCC, Maradona's act was voted even less sporting than Mike Tyson's infamous 'ear-biting' incident when he fought Evander Holyfield.

In contrast, Paolo Di Canio won the award for the most sporting behaviour, for passing up a great scoring opportunity for West Ham when the opposition goalkeeper lay injured.

The poll was commissioned to mark Fair Play Week which aims to promote fun and positive sport in primary schools.

Almost 40% of respondents felt that Di Canio's sportsmanship was the best example of fair play in professional sport.

It scored higher than Jack Nicklaus ensuring a tie in the 1969 Ryder Cup and John Francome sharing the National Hunt Jockey's Championship with Peter Scudamore in 1981.

But in the parallel poll of unsporting moments, Maradona's indiscretion grabbed 33% of the vote.

Evander Holyfield after Mike Tyson bit a piece of his ear off in their 1997 bout
Tyson left his mark on Holyfield
Tyson taking a chunk out of Holyfield's ear in their 1997 bout was close behind, with 31% of the total.

Cricket legend Greg Chappel's final underarm bowl for Australia in a match against New Zealand in 1981 came in third with 16%.

Fair Play events will take place in thousands of primary schools across England and Wales during the week commencing 30 June.

The initiative is designed to self-esteem among young people, and is supported by some of British sport's biggest names including Michael Owen and Dwain Chambers.

A total of 5,830 people voted on the NSPCC's website for their favourite from five classic examples of the most fair and unfair play.




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