Monday, 28 June 2010

Crippled by Tradition

**Warning: Non chess post **

Let me start of by saying I'm astonished at the number of *Australians* who are currently feeling sorry for England, after their loss to Germany in the 2010 World Cup. Of course I can see why the English themselves, and neutral football fans, may feel upset by a poor refereeing decision, but for Australians, this should just be added to the list of why England under-perform at almost all sports.
Secondly, let me point out that poor refereeing is just as much part of football as diving, sex scandals, and corrupt transfer deals. In my opinion this isn't an accident, but an outcome of the structure of the game. In most other sports the score that decides the game is much much larger (by a factor of 100 in some sports), and so the effect of a refereeing mistake is much smaller in almost all other sports (unless it happens right at the end of the game). In football however, the fact that a single penalty given in the first minute can decide the game makes the referee a crucial actor in the eventual outcome. But it also this fact that leads to footballers, and managers, playing right on the edge of the rules, and usually then going beyond it. For supporters of sport that only half-heartedly deals with deliberate infractions of the rules by players (usually exonerating them by blaming the referee for missing it in the first place), to complain when it goes against your team is a bit rich.
And once again there is a demand for video assistance for the officials, although this is now a regular cry after any controversial incident (eg France v Ireland). Given that FIFA has resisted the calls up until now I can't see them caving in any time soon. I suspect that the world wide popularity of the game leads to the 'If it ain't broke, why fix it' reasoning, and unless such incidents damage football's popularity, then the publicity that such controversy generates outweighs any real desire to fix it.
So my advice to football fans who think the lack of technology is throwing up incorrect results. Find a sport that has embraced technology to improve officiating, (there are plenty out there) and watch that instead.


Anonymous said...

didn't england beat australia at rubgy union and cricket in the last few weeks?! they also being doing better at tennis and golf.

TrueFiendish said...

Germany played much better than England anyway, disallowed goal or not. When your team loses to a better team you shouldn't complain or even feel particularly bad about it. said...

Didn't Germany win 4-1? So even if the sulking Pommies got their precious goal, they still would have lost by two. Or am I adding this up wrong?

Denis Jessop said...

The only reason for us to feel sorry for (or commiserate with) England is that the Germans smashed us by almost the same score.