Will FIFA Get It This Time?

By “it” I mean that entirely too often the talk surrounding a World Cup Final is the awful officiating, the blown calls, and not the beautiful acts of football that are displayed.  Sadly probably not, but the list of absurd misses has grown well beyond the tolerable zone.  At the risk of forgetting something there was the foul call that denied the US a clean win over Slovenia in the group stage, and just today a clear English goal that would’ve tied the game against Germany at 2 and Argentina being granted a lid-lifter on Mexico that was clearly offsides.

So what can FIFA do about it?  I am generally a proponent of instant replay; for example expanding its use in Major League Baseball to avoid the rare bad call like the Joyce/Galarraga perfect game incident.  I don’t want it in soccer because it just doesn’t fit the pace of the game, ie the continuous running clock, and I’m not anxious for games with 10 minutes of stoppage time.  But there are any number of other things that could be done.  Officials could be positioned behind the nets to act as goal judges like in hockey, and they could also assist in making corner kick or goal kick type decisions.  The technology exists to put a microchip in the ball that would alert officials that it has crossed the goal line, somewhat like hawkeye technology in tennis.  Why do we have only 1 on field referee for 22 players?  American football has many more officials for a somewhat smaller field, albeit a game where more happens away from the ball.  Still, a 2nd on field referee would allow for having a guy positioned both in front of and behind the play on both ends.

Of course, the best solution would be to hire officials that don’t have glaring moments of apparent blindness.  There were precisely 4 people in that stadium that didn’t see Lampart’s shot cross the goal line.  The sideline officials have exactly two jobs, and one of them is to notice offsides; that Argentine was clearly offsides and clearly played the ball on the way in.

But will FIFA change anything?  Probably not, simply because they don’t have to.  Soccer is truly a world game, this is the world championship of that game.  The games are being poorly officiated, as per usual.  But literally billions are watching anyway.  It even manages to get people in the United States to care; there was a 35% dip in volume of trading on the New York Stock Exchange during the US v Algeria game.  Until that changes and people actually avoid watching the World Cup because the level of officiating has compromised the integrity of the game beyond people’s threshold of tolerance, FIFA has no motivation to make necessary reforms.  A pity, as these athletes deserve better.

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One Response to “Will FIFA Get It This Time?”

  1. Mike Geary Truth About Abs Says:

    Losing is like vanilla ice cream. But winning is like your favorite ice cream with a topping. Even if you loose you still get to play the game… but winning is much better!

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