Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What the FIFA?!?

Yesterday FIFA apologized. I nearly fell of my Lazy Boy. And that’s a difficult thing to do.

They were apologizing for showing the stadium crowd a replay of the Carlos Tevez’s blatantly offside goal against Mexico on Monday evening. Now if you’ve been to a World Cup game, you will have noticed that the stadiums’ giant TV screens never replay anything vaguely controversial. No fouls, no offside replays, or anything of this ilk. God forbid the fans should get wind of anything that could stir them up. Hence only vanilla-flavoured glory moments do we get to see.

Which is initially why the in-stadium TV producer chose to show the crowd a replay of Tevez’s goal. What was meant to be a replay of exquisite ball control and timing, only ended up confirming what everyone in the stadium – except obviously the in-stadium TV producer and the linesman - knew… the Argentinean forward was so far offside he was practically in the Falklands.

Cue a halftime scrap between the Argentine and Mexican substitutes bench. Gotta love those volatile Latinos.

So yesterday FIFA apologized. They vowed to make sure such controversial incidents will never again be shown to the soccer fans at the game. And especially Mexicans sitting on the substitute’s bench. How big of them. How magnanimous and mature of them. How they completely and utterly missed the point…

Firstly – and I admit this is purely a subjective observation – I for one thoroughly enjoyed that little halftime dust-up. Made for some highly entertaining Nacho Libre style entertainment I thought. Finally FIFA had come up with a decent halftime show.

Secondly – and this probably has more relevance to my argument – if FIFA actually used video replay tech properly, they wouldn’t have to bury evidence of their cock-ups. The ref is already mic’d up and in communication with someone - probably Sepp actually. All that need was for Sepp to put down his eisbein, wipe his chin and have a word in the ref’s ear about the goal being disallowed for offside.

It wouldn’t take more than a few seconds so the game wouldn’t be disrupted. Sure, the Argentineans might be a little tetchy, but the proof is proof, and their complaints would be born out of disappointment rather than injustice. And those are two complaints of an entirely different intensity.

Besides, rather than deride and undermine the ref as that incorrect decision helped do for the rest of the game, going “upstairs” to make the right call would only enhance his status among those watching at the stadium and on TV.

The ref is only human. Football fans –though sometimes you’d never say so – are also human. Which means that football fans will give the ref the thumbs up if he had to say “Listen chaps, I’m not entirely sure if old Carlos was onside there. It all happened to quickly for me. Mind if I have a word with Sepp… I mean the TV ref?”

No doubt the crowd would respond with a “Nice one mate/compadre/mon ami/shatzi. Good on you for having the balls to admit you don’t know what’s potting. All we want is the correct and fair decision.”