July 2010

Leave Our Beautiful Game Alone

Nothing renders the barroom bore more relevant than a real grievance or slight to the group he represents but if we are to move forward as a nation, species or race then sometimes you have to suck things up if they are for the greater good.

Similarly if events happen that you don’t much care for or agree with then it doesn’t necessarily mean the end of civilization. If gays want to get married, what’s it to you? You’re not been forced into a homosexual tryst with Brock Lesnar are you? If you have to pay an extra couple of dollars to an insurance company that is already gouging you so the family down the street can take their kids to the doctors, that’s not the end of civilization is it? And Luis Suarez’s goal-line handball is not a Western conspiracy against Africa.

It is depressing to read writers I like and respect, like Henry Winter and Jim White in the Telegraph spout such sanctimonious nonsense about his reflex action. He was sent off – punished according to the rules – and was acting in his teams best interests – giving then a chance to survive the penalty which they duly did due to Asamoah Gyan’s incompetence. They then had to win a regulation penalty shootout, which as we all know, is the easiest thing in football. If a player on my team stands on the line and watches the ball sail past him in the last second of a world cup quarter final then I’m going to castigate him for not doing his job. That’s all Suarez did. He didn’t enslave Gyan and his family, ship them back to Uruguay and make them work in a field – he gave his country one last chance which Ghana fluffed, Uruguay took, and that’s why they are in the semis.

If I read one more bleating piece about how Ghana or Africa have been robbed or how Suarez or Uruguay should be booted out then I’m going to go round the writers house and smack them round the head with a copy of the laws of the game. Mainly as punishment but partly because its obvious that they haven’t read them, clearly don’t understand them and think there is some invisible moral imperative attached.

There isn’t, Ghana lost in a fair and square shoot-out, missed their game winning chance fairly and that’s it. Goodnight, good luck, and take your vuvuzelas with you.

Guy Bailey is a senior writer for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at guy@yanksarecoming.com.

Guy Bailey

  • dan


  • Jon

    My thoughts exactly. In a situation like that, the punishment should fit the crime, which is does. Suarez has to miss the next game and was not allowed to take part in the penalty shootout since he had been booted. If you trip a wide open wide receiver on the goal line in the last second of a college foogball game it’s a 15 yard penalty… 15 yards! The same situation in the NFL sees the ball moved to the one yard line, which you could argue is akin to being awarded a penalty, but the offending defender doesn’t get kicked off the field or suspended for a match. Suarez incurred both punishments, and he’s no blight upon the game for giving his team a chance to win. And the part that most forget, Uruguay didn’t get a chance to trot one of their top two PK takers out to the spot because Suarez did what he had to do. They won anyway.

    And anyone who says they wouldn’t celebrate on the sideline after Gyan’s penalty miss is just lying. Landon Donovan would have been doing backflips on the sideline if it had been him, Clint would be dancing.

  • Amy

    Couldn’t agree more. The outrage is particularly ridiculous given how many things that haven’t fit within the rules have occurred thanks to referee missteps this World Cup and preceding– dating all the way back to the failure to grant a penalty for Castro’s absurd challenge on Clint Dempsey in the 2nd half at the Azteca to the more press-worthy Hand of Gaul. Well done, Mr. Bailey.

  • dan

    Can I bring up something else that has been bugging me recently? Maybe the forum is where such things should go, but I’d love to see you guys post on it.

    It now looks (to any reasonable observer) that FIFA will have to sanction “goal line technology”, which they are saying will just be a system that can quickly and cleanly tell whether the ball has crossed the goal line or not. But I would much rather see some sort of instant replay capability for all calls inside the box, maybe also including offsides that happen outside the box. But I can’t quite decide how this would work, how it wouldn’t put linesmen out of business, etc.

    So my question is: In an ideal world where Blatter was not king, what system would be implemented to fix our officiating problems?

  • Brian

    High-five, Guy.

  • Jon

    Same as in the National Hockey League my friend, which is just what they’re disussing right now. Goal line specific replay. Everything else should be judgement calls… except maybe offsides, but a video game-esque accuracy on those calls is unrealistic.

    Let the computer tell us if the ball crossed the line or not, everything else needs to be left to the ref. We can’t have Bobbo throwing the red “challenge flag” to have a possible handball in the box reviewed. Football already has those natural breaks in it, the interruption wouldn’t work for soccer.

  • dan

    But does “goal line specific” mean they can look and see if it went off someone’s hand (Maradona)? or if the player with the last touch was offsides (Tevez, Argentina vs. Mexico)? or just literally whether or not the ball crossed the line?

    The NHL has a couple different things in place: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant_replay#Ice_hockey

    And I’m still interested in what others think is the best possible way to implement replay/review/technology. I agree that red flags and chalenges would be terrible, but a fifth official buried somewhere in the bowels of the stadium with radio access to the ear of the center doesn’t seem like it would upset the flow too much. Within seconds the 5th could tell the center the correct call. It would be no longer a lag than many officials already take when looking for advantage. Just suggesting…

  • Puck

    Goal line technology is the way to go. Technology exists today where we can put a small chip in the center of the ball. As soon as the whole ball crosses the goal line, red lights and other ridiculous shit could start flashing. No one in the stadium, including the officials could miss the entire goal turning red.

    That is where I would leave it. However, if FIFA decided they wanted to review the play they could get it done in about 30 seconds. While the scoring team is celebrating, a “replay official” could quickly check, lets say the last 15 seconds before the goal was scored. This would not effect the pace of the game at all in my opinion.

    We have to remember that the real beauty of this “beautiful game” is that it does not stop. Too much replay bullshit would infuriate me more than it does during the NFL season, “The ball has to break the plane”, and “he has to keep possession of the ball all the way to the ground” discussions are unbearable.

  • Raf

    I’m with Puck on this one. If you go any further than goal-line technology, you’re starting a slippery slope to where eventually you’ll end up with something like the national throwball league where you get stoppages every 5 seconds, bonehead commentary about “irrefutable video evidence,” 10-minute delays while the official sticks his head in a stupid little booth, and intermittent plugs for CSI and How I Met Your Mother.

    Also, in the NFL, you can’t “challenge” a bad pass interference call; in soccer, you should not be able to challenge a “bad” foul call or a non-handball call or a bad offside for that matter. What happens if the ref blows the whistle on an offside and the replay shows that he was wrong? It would be like the Clint Dempsey non-goal all over again. To me, the play was dead because the flag was up, but Harkes, that annoying prick, wouldn’t get off the stupid thing. I mean, what’s replay going to do there; you’re supposed to play the whistle and the ref is supposed to respond to the flag. What would replay have done to stop the play from being dead in this case? You’re taught from birth to “play the whistle” but replay is seems would eliminate some of that if everything was reviewable.

    The only thing then that makes some sense is goal-line review, but even then, what would happen in a situation like the Lampard goal? I guess you’d need a light or something to go off so that play would be stopped immediately because after the Lampard goal, play continued as if nothing happened. Only a replay system that allowed for near-instantaneous processing is acceptable in my mind. Anything else must be avoided.