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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

World Cup Soccer is marred by bad refereeing decisions

FIFAAnyone who has watched any of the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer matches being played in South Africa can attest to multiple occasions where referees and/or referee assistants (linesmen) bungled decisions on goals and offside players. It definitely cost England a fighting chance to make it to the quarter-finals, and almost forced the U.S.A. out in the group stage.

Have a look again at Lampard's clear goal in the 39th minute (38'18"):

The linesman was clearly in position to see this goal. What was the man thinking? And, to say that the scoreline would still have been 4-2 misses the point. It shows a clear misunderstanding of variables in a soccer match, in fact, in life. If the goal had been given, play would not have restarted from the German goal line and Podolski would not have made an attempt at the English goal through a break away just seconds later. Instead, Germany would then have restarted from the center of the field and the game could have taken a different turn at this point.

Further, the psyche of the English players would clearly have been affected by this horrendous decision and the way they played. Had they been given the Lampard goal, their play could have changed dramatically, as they could have thought that the possibility of winning wasn't that far off!

Also, to say that it is payback for their so-called "no goal" win over Germany in 1966, also is off the point. In 1966 refs didn't have the technology we have today, and as a result, nothing could have been done about it. However, we have amazing technology that could have been used in many 2010 World Cup games that could have corrected the course of the future, so to speak! Cricket, rugby and even baseball is using technology that could have helped the refs make the right decisions.

The Tevez goal in the Argentina vs Mexico game also altered the game for the same reasons given above. See the goal that shouldn't have been:

Also, look at the U.S. goal against Slovenia that was disallowed. Notice at seconds 3-4 that 5 U.S. players are being held, yet the ref does not give the goal, nor a penalty from the spot!

A lot have been written about the bad decisions by refs on the soccer pitch. My contention is that at this level of soccer where teams are playing for the title of World Champions, referees should not be allowed to affect games in such a negative way. The fact is that FIFA knows clearly that refs are having bad effects on the pitch, altering the course of games, and technology exists to put a stop to this, yet they continue living in the 19th century.

FIFA's mafia style of running in things in soccer went so far that just yesterday, at a press conference, they informed the press that they would not answer questions related to refereeing in this World Cup! "You can ask us anything, but not about refereeing!" What kind of press conference was that? FIFA is run by hacks that belong in the Middle Ages!

Technology can clearly assist referees in situations like these. I am not saying that very decision a ref makes on the pitch must go through a TV/technology decision. However, when it comes to the dis-/allowing of goals, a TV ref with technology at hand must be able to overrule daft decisions made on the pitch! These are game altering decisions after all!

In an apology to England and Mexico, Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, said:
"Personally I deplore it when you see evident referee mistakes but it's not the end of a competition or the end of football, this can happen."
Sepp Blatter
Even Blatter doesn't get it! The problem is not that it can happen. It did happen and it could have been prevented! It may not be the end of football, but it does make football a laughing stock in the eyes of the modern world. Decisions that could so easily have been prevented dishonours the game and makes it an unfair system to work with. The World Cup is tarnished by preventable, sorry for the word, stupid, mistakes such as was shown above. The problem is that those mistakes are by no means the only ridiculous mistakes made by referees during this World Cup! There are many! Can any team that hoists the Cup at the end of the 2010 World Cup truly claim to be the champions? With different turns of events here and there, a goal allowed here and disallowed there, so many different routes could have been created to the finals of this World Cup. Who truly knows whether the two teams that will still make it to the finals actually would have made it if these blunders never happened? The fact is that when a goal is dis-/allowed when the decision should have been the other way, and there is technology at hand to straighten out these decisions, then it simply is unfair to the players and the fans!

Let's hope that FIFA will not just talk about goal-line technology, but will actually employ the use of such technology to make the game more fair for all teams concerned.

Soccer is not my sport of choice, baseball is, yet, I am yet to miss a game played in the 2010 World Cup. Last week when 2 games were played at the same time twice a day (2 at 16:00; 2 at 20:30), I recorded the game I wasn't watching and started watching the recorded game right after the game I just watched. That means I went to bed at 00:30 most nights last week. Also, just because baseball is my first sport does not mean I know nothing about soccer. I usually follow the English Premier League as my regular soccer team is ManU! I have followed soccer since a kid! I also plan to watch some more Major League Soccer (MLS) in their new season.

TidBit: Did you know the word "soccer" comes from the contraction of the word "association," as in "Football Association?" Later it changed to the shortened form of "Football Assoc" and from "Assoc" the jump was easy to get to "soccer!"
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