Depending on which country you have been cheering for, during the last two weeks of the FIFA World Cup, the officiating has been horrendous or it has been just fine. The World Cup has had their outstanding matches. However, those matches have an overcast of terrible officiating from the official crews that work these games. From Yellow and Red cards given out to players who are on the wrong side of a call or hand ball, to disallowed goals from the officials stopping play due to offside. The head of FIFA, Joseph Blatter, refuses to address these missteps from his officials. In the latest miss from his officials during a World Cup Round of 16 matches; his officials missed a goal from England that would have tied up their match against Germany. Blatter was asked about if FIFA would add instant-replay into the 2014 World Cup using a “hawk eye” technology which has cameras that rest above the goal line.
“Football is a game that never stops,” he said. “You have seen, if you go back to the special game [England-Germany] we are speaking about now, at the moment there was a discussion of whether the ball was in or out. On the other side there was a goal scoring opportunity. Because it goes so fast. Football never stops. So what should we do? Give the possibility of a team to call once or twice like in tennis to have a look? This principle has not been accepted after having been discussed. The only principle we are going to bring back for discussion is the goal line technology.”
The United States had not one but two goals disallowed by officials calling offside incorrectly. In their second match against Slovenia the US was down 0-2 at the half. Then Landon Donavon sent a rocket of a shot into the net to cut the score to 1-2. A second goal quickly there after tied the US with 15min left in the match. In the 80th min the US lined up for a corner kick and a chance to take the lead. A US defender broke free from the Slovenia defense and deflected in the corner kick into the net putting the US up 3-2. That was until the players on the field noticed that the linesman had his flag up signalling offside. The game ended shortly there after with a 2-2 draw.
In their next game against Algeria, with a win as the only way for the US team to advance to the Round of 16, had another goal scored by the US and another questionable call of offside from a linesman. Luckily the US got a miracle goal from Donavon in the 92nd minute to advance to the next round and silencing any questions about the officiating.
After the Unites States questionable offside calls, Mexico was the next country to fall victim of the same fate. In their Round of 16 match Mexico was on the defense from a relentless Argentina attack. Argentina broke into the goal box and a crowd of players crashed together by the goal keeper playing 10-yards outside of his net. The ball squirted free from the pile to an Argentina player behind the play just feet from the open net. Replays would show this player to be offside, but officials missed the call which resulted in an Argentina goal. Eventually Argentina would go onto win this match 3-1 knocking Mexico out of the World Cup.
Later Blatter was questioned about replay from missed offside calls, Blatter responded: “In this situation like the Mexico game you don’t need technology. Errors of refereeing it is impossible to eliminate, even with one hundred cameras on the field.”
These two examples are just the tip of the so-called ice berg of the poor officiating that has gone on during these games. Players like, Kaka on Brazil, was suspended for a game over a phantom elbow to the face of an opposing player; which the suspension was the end result of an Oscar worthy acting job by the opposing player.
There are still three rounds left in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. With the missed calls that happened in the Group Play and Round of 16, who knows what terrible calls will plague a country looking to bring home the World Cup. FIFA is reluctant to change their ways until people stop watching or coming to games. Or that is until a missed call is what people will remember if the World Cup Championship is decided on a missed call.
By T.J. McAloon
(Photo courtesy AP Photo/Keystone, Steffen Schmidt)