26 June 2006

World Football has been ruined.

The World game is getting worse and worse. How many bad games have we seen in this World Cup?

The winner of this World Cup is going to be the best team.......at cheating, time wasting, and most importantly of all, at getting the most bent referees to give you ridiculously generous decisions.

It is desperately disappointing to see the game I love ruined in this way.


  1. Well, the Holland-Portugal game took things to new heights. Certainly, the referees aren't all doing badly but some are. What can we do, introduce video replays or perhaps give the ref a mini TV?

    The technology is there to support referees but it is not being used. After this World Cup I hope that Fifa will look at it and at least give it a try.

  2. I'm not so sure it is just mistakes being made by the refs. I question the honesty of some officials.

    As Borgetti of Mexico said "Always it goes for Argentina. For FIFA and the World, the Argentina jersey is more important in comparison to Mexico."

    We know the refs favour the big teams. It is still possible to win despite the ref being against you, but it makes it so much more difficult.

    The ref didn't seem biased in the Italy game today, but do we want games to boil down to a cheat diving and fooling the official in the final minute.

    I agree with Gianluca Vialla, each side is allowed one video appeal per half. This will mean the most controversial decisions will be got right.

    But an even bigger problem is time wasting. There was hardly any football (maybe 20 mins) in the second half of the Portugal-Holland match because of all the fake injuries and diving going on. This WC it has almost seemed arbitrary who gets a yellow card or not. I have seen dozens and dozens of yellow cards given where there was no contact at all and yet serious fouls have gone unpunished.

    Once again Vialli suggests the solution - 30 mins each way with the clock stopped every time play stops. This way faking injury, taking time over free kicks etc or pointless substitutions would bring no benefit. In the average game we only get around 55 mins of play (I suspect much less at this WC) so this would increase the playing time of a game.

    Finally we need more attacking play. We need an offside line 35 yards from the goal (like subutteo). This would spread the play over more of the pitch and reward more attacking teams.

    Post war until the 1960's the game averaged around 4.5 goals per game, this seems about right. This dropped dramatically to around 3, and has been between 2.9 (Mexico 70) and 2.1 (Italia 90) ever since. This WC it is averaging around 2.3. In the knock-out stages, so far it is only 1.4, this is terrible. There have been some really boring long periods in most of the games (in all of the Ukraine-Switzerland game). We have to do something to change this. For once I agree with Bruce Arena. I know any change has to be carefully done and implemented incrementally, but surely people are going to get more and more frustrated that the game is more about being good at time wasting and diving than being good at actually playing attractive attacking football.

  3. I don't know what the goal average is in this World Cup. It was very low in Italia 90 and Euro 96 but better in other World Cups like 94.

    At the end of the day, players should play in a sporting manner. They are professionals and should be responsible enough to do so.

    In the Holland-Portugal game the players did nothing to make the refs job easy. Quite the opposite in fact, it was a real dirty game. Is that the referees fault? No of course not.

    If your suggestion that refs in this World Cup are biased is accurate, then that would bring the game into disrepute. I don't see any real evidence of that, in the Argentina game you may recal that they (Argentina) had a perfectly good goal disallowed near the end of 90 minutes.

    But again, players need to try and play to help the referee and technology should also be tried.

  4. "If your suggestion that refs in this World Cup are biased is accurate, then that would bring the game into disrepute. I don't see any real evidence of that, in the Argentina game you may recal that they (Argentina) had a perfectly good goal disallowed near the end of 90 minutes."

    Of course refs are going to be quite clever about it. You are right that it is very very difficult to prove. The refs will steer away from controversial decisions if they can and maybe even give a decision against their favoured team to make it look like an accident when they give crucial decisions in their favour, but you have to look at what they do in the entire game.

    A ref can break up promising counter attacks of one side with constant silly free kicks while letting the other side roam free. This can make it very difficult for the one side to get a flow to their game.

    Then the areas of the pitch where free kicks are given are important. Carefully giving more free kicks in dangerous areas to one side rather than another.

    We know the Italian league has been riddled with corruption almost since its inception. The 1982 Italian squad was surrounded by accusations and Paolo Rossi - their top scorer had been banned for taking bribes.

    The four top teams in Italy are currently facing sanctions for bribing referees. Corrupt German match officials were also recently exposed. What makes you think the world game is immune? We all know about host Argentina's world cup in 1978 and the dodgy result against Peru and host South Korea's fortuitous refereeing decisions in 2002.

    I have no doubt that it has happened and is continuing to happen in the world game.

    Players want to win and unfortunately any method will be used. We have to change the rules to reward football not cheating. Video replays will make it harder for refs and players to cheat and the clock has to be stopped to get rid of time wasting. This and the 35 yeard offside line will make all the difference I'm sure. But I can't see how we can go on with these boring games of attrition. I for one am losing interest when the game is like this.

  5. Actually, I don't agree that this World Cup has been bad. It's been really rather good much of the time.

    About the refs business. I suppose we have had match fixing incidents in the past quite frequently. In England, in France, in Italy etc. It's abhorrent and it makes the game a farce not worth watching.

    At any rate, I feel that if you are correct I will never watch football again. Seriously though, if you can prove it the game will be brought into disrepute. So er, can you prove it?

  6. Oh, and just another thing. In the Argentina game, disallowing the late goal was giving a crucial decision against the so called 'favoured' team.

  7. At International level, the stakes are too high for FIFA to out any team. Can you imagine the sort of political storm of outing an entire country as cheats? But at club level remember that Marseille bribed officials to win the Champions League and Anderlecht did it in the UEFA cup. These are just the ones we know about. Every league has had high level scandals, it must have happened at International level but FIFA would have to cover it up (assuming it is not involved itself).

    Of course I can't prove it, but there have been some games that look decidedly dodgy (more than just bad refereeing but actually obviously biased).

    In the Argentina game, I would need to see the stats, the break down per side of the action the ref was taking for different sorts of challenges and in what areas of the pitch. My gut feeling is that they would show a bias in Argentina's favour.

    I might do a breakdown of the next Italy game, because they are the ones most likely of match fixing.

  8. Actually, to investigate whether a referee was biased or not you would first need to look at the quality of decisions made. I.e. how many incorrect decisions were made and what proportion of those went to one side and the other. If evens, then you can't say much. If a large number of bad decisions went against one side then maybe you could say something.