Monday, June 28, 2010

Problem, what problem?

For the ordinary sports fan sitting at home, the offsides rule in soccer may very well make no sense. For a soccer fan, the rule is crystal clear. For a soccer referee, spotting a player offside should be almost instinctual.
A player is in an offside position if: he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent (FIFA Laws of the Game, Law XI)
And yet, in front of the entire world and a stadium full of rabid fans, three officials managed to blow (yet another) call in the World Cup when they allowed the first Argentine goal on Sunday.

Amid all of the criticism of the officiating in this year's edition of the World Cup, what has FIFA in its infinite wisdom decided to do to address the officiating? Introduce instant replay? No. Add another official on the pitch? No. FIFA has decided to ban replays from the stadium big screens.

(It's also interesting to note that unlike the video of Landon Donovan scoring the winning goal for the US against Algeria, the video of the first Argentine goal against Mexico has been removed from all websites due to "copyright" issues. Really.)

Unnamed FIFA Official after being asked about yet another example of shoddy officiating in the World Cup.

That's right. FIFA has decided they won't address the actual problem of referees screwing up calls, they've decided the way to resolve the problem is not to replay anything at the stadium so the coaches, players and fans can't see them with their pants down.

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