Friday, June 25, 2010

It's not all about you

This week, Australians have been moaning about their football team being robbed by bad refereeing decisions; Tim Cahill's red card for a tackle against Germany and Harry Kewell's red card for handball against Ghana. And we still won't stop whining about that penalty against Italy even though it was FOUR YEARS AGO. Yes, all of them were a bit harsh, but not outrageously so - you'd see refs give those same decisions again as many times as not.

And of course, there are some conspiracy theorists around.

Says one Australian newspaper reader:
Does anybody in their right mind actually believe that FIFA is going to let any upstart “little” country win the Cup. Just look at their record over the last 2 cups. Firstly their was the Italian Diving Team who went on to win and FIFA later admitted that the penalty was eroneous and this time we have the French Hand Ball Team who got there with a blatant Hand Ball Goal that FIFA wouldnt reverse. Its a set up from Go to Whoa and therefore not even worth watching. Any team that seems to get above itself will be redcarded out of the games.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the USA was outraged at the bad refereeing decision that looked like it might have cost them their group. It was against Slovenia, and Malian referee Koman Coulibaly blew for a foul as Maurice Edu tapped in a would-be winning goal. Except no one anywhere can actually find any evidence of any foul being committed.

And some are also seeing other factors at play in that decision.

"Sorry to see that there is still a strong anti USA sentiment in the rest of the world" says this blogger.

But here's the thing, guys. Sure, it's nice to wallow in the feeling of being a victim. It makes you feel like you are right and everyone else is wrong, and diverts you from questioning whether your team just might not be quite good enough.

But, those bad decisions are just a few of the host of terrible ones that occur at the World Cup, and at club level. The sending off of Kaka against Cote D'Ivoire has been the most ridiculous of them all.

Referees are not, generally speaking, biased. They just f*** up. A lot.

It's funny when referees make bad decisions, and people cry "How could he make such a shocking decision? It's unbelievable!"

Actually, it is entirely believable. If there is one thing you can guarantee about refs, its that they make some terrible decisions from time to time. They also make plenty of good ones, but those don't get noticed so much. You can referee a game and get 99 out of 100 calls correct, but if the one you miss happens to be the glaring error that leads to a crucial goal, then you'll be called the worst ref in the world. That's why I coach soccer but am loathe to referee games; I just can't take all that negativity heading my way.

And yes, the standard of refereeing around those crucial decisions has been particularly bad at this World Cup. But remember, some of those bad calls will go your team's way as well. Don't think that someone high up in FIFA is out to get you. It's just refs doing what refs do.

It's not all about you.


  1. You're so right!

    Add to that the notoriously bad-loserness of Aussies in sport. Remember when the Americans started winning at the swimming one year and Aussies started losing it all over the shop?

  2. True most of the time referees are good and make fair calls and it only takes one screw up for their name to be tarnished, thats unfortunate. However, I must say the referees are this World Cup have been tragic.