Monday, June 28, 2010

World Cup: Culture of Corruption

Americans will never back soccer as a big National sport until the corruption is taken out of the game. The referees have too much influence and as the results come in from the world cup it appears instead of “may the best team win” the sport is “may the referees choose the winners”. Sometimes a referee can make the wrong calls. Missing a call is usually considered part of any game, but all out changing the outcome of any game is unacceptable. In most referee schools the first thing taught is that the referee’s should be invisible to the game. The game is about the players and not themselves.

Like many Americans, I was not happy when a goal by the US Striker Maurice Edu was disallowed. Video evidence shows if anything a foul should have been called on the Slovenians. This call could have caused the US not to advance through the group around. I wouldn’t harp on this call other than it is part of a theme in this world cup. Missed calls happen and if this was the only poor call but it wasn’t. The very next game in which the US was involved Clint Dempsey. Dempsey scored a goal that was disallowed for being offsides against Algeria. Again the evidence shows Dempsey was on sides and the goal should have been allowed. Again mistakes happen but two blown calls in two games against the US. However, it wasn’t only the US that had poor officiating.

Yesterday, the English were robbed of a goal. The goal would have tied the game and changed the entire complexion of the game. Instead due to the English having to press to get the equalizer the game became a rout. This should not have been the way the game ended. The English did score a valid goal the ball clearly passed the goal lines and both the Referee and the assistant missed the call? Then again in the Argentina game there was a goal allowed that should never have been. Argentina was clearly offsides yet the referee allowed the goal. The Mexican team was playing well to that point but after the goal they fell apart. Goals are disheartening to a team. When the officials make these horrendous calls that change the outcome of the game it becomes obvious the officials are playing favorites.

The US was never expected to be able to make it to the Finals. The US team has a reputation of being decent but not quite international caliber. In hindsight it appears the referees simply were against the US and did not want them to advance. The US had to be better than most teams just to make the knockout round. Then the last two bad calls yesterday went against the underdog. These bad calls changed the outcome of the game. It seems to me that there is a reason why the previous world cup winners have come from either South America or Europe; the referees are making certain no underdog has a chance. The underdogs have to be better than the competition and overcome not just their opponents but also the referees. The bottom line is international soccer will never become part of the American tradition unless the corruption by referees is taken out of the game.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Also US culture is a bit more macho (in the competitive sense, not the greasy hit on any female with a pulse sense) than European or South American, Brazil being a possible exception. Football (Chicago Bears, not New York Cosmos style) and combat sports are more our style. I never could get excited about a sport that doesn't involve the hands.