Skip

Goal line technology for some, tiny vuvuzelas for others
June 30, 2010 12:29 AM   Subscribe

Following the goal that wasn't a goal in the England vs Germany match and the illegal offsides goal in the Argentina vs Mexico match, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has apologized to the eliminated teams and said that goal line detection technology will be considered for future matches.

However, Blatter has ruled out video replay, saying "[in cases] like in the Mexico game, we don't need technology". A member of the FIFA referee committee member has blamed Italian referee Roberto Rosetti for awarding Tévez the offsides goal.

If you find the Argentina vs Mexico video confusing, Wikipedia gives a concise definition of offsides: A player is in an offside position if he is in his opponents' half of the field (pitch) and is closer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and all but zero or one of his opponents.

Via Engadget.
posted by 0xFCAF (177 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm missing it. I've watched the video and read the entire wikipedia link. Somebody please spell out for me how that guy was offsides (not that I don't believe he was).
posted by jabberjaw at 12:49 AM on June 30, 2010


Where is the offside moment in the Argentina v. Mexico match clip? I don't at all doubt it's there, I'm just a moron and not seeing it.
posted by cucumber at 12:50 AM on June 30, 2010


Let's not kid ourselves; FIFA promises mean absolutely nothing. They promise things every copa, and it's always precisely the same thing: wait until six months later, when nobody cares, and then quietly drop it and pretend it never came up. There will be no consideration of "goal line detection technology" by FIFA – unless, of course, someone else funds it, spearheads it, and then standardizes it across all world leagues – just like there will be no "investigation" of the idiotic new Adidas ball which FIFA insisted on foisting on the tournament immediately before it began, the ball which has pretty much ruined a whole hell of a lot of goal attempts and plays. (Of course, FIFA almost certainly got a bunch of money from Adidas for using that stupid ball, so far be it from them to do anything else. In fact, I heard a game a few weeks ago wherein an English announcer pointed out how ridiculous the ball was, only to come back and "apologize" for his remarks after the half, saying there had "been some complaints" about what he had said – no doubt from FIFA management.)

On the other hand, their publication of the Laws of the Game [PDF] is pretty readable, particularly the bit about the offside rule (p 31) which is about as clear but not quite as concise as the one you quote from Wiki.
posted by koeselitz at 12:54 AM on June 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


When Messi chips the rebound from the keeper at about 6 seconds in, Tevez is standing behind the last two defenders, making him offside.
posted by iso_bars at 12:54 AM on June 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Portugal is pretty pissed off as well. Vila's goal last night was offside and Spain go through to the next round. Portugal goes home.
posted by adamvasco at 12:54 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am so sick of this lame ass corrupt boring sport that everyone is this city is pretending to care about for weeks so they have an excuse to cram the bars and watch horrible refs make bads calls and blow entire games while the players act like 12-year-olds taking dives and rolling on the grass in fake agony to get the inept refs to give them a call so they can score a penalty kick which the ref says isn't a goal even though it bounced over the line and back out except nobody saw it. World Cup sucks!
posted by ReeMonster at 12:56 AM on June 30, 2010 [18 favorites]


When the keeper pushes the ball out and Messi shoots at goal, tevez is offside by more than a metre (you can see it at 0:04). He's closer to the goal line than all his opponents (and even if one of them was closer than him it would've been offside too. Normally this means the goalkeeper, but in this situation the keeper is out).

Under current regulations, if Tevez hadnt tried to go for the ball it wouldn't have been offside since it only applies to players active in the play.
posted by valdesm at 12:57 AM on June 30, 2010


If you watch the Argentina v Mexico clip in slow motion:

1) Messi passes to Tévez, who is onside at the time the ball is played to him;
2) The keeper gets to the ball before Tévez does;
3) Messi gets the ball again;
4) Ball goes to Tévez (who by this point is ahead of all the defenders and thus offside);
5) Tévez scores.
posted by Catseye at 1:01 AM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Game-changing, arbitrary, inexplicable calls are part of what makes the game beautiful.
posted by planet at 1:01 AM on June 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


Corruption/payoff is the only possible explanation for sports at this level to not use instant replays and other technology to ensure rules are followed.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:02 AM on June 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Football is a jury sport, just like figure skating. However, the rewards for tricking the referee, and his little helpers, are much and much higher.

The conspiracy theory is that FIFA doesn't want technological aids, because then it couldn't influence games to its advantage anymore.
posted by ijsbrand at 1:04 AM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


cucumber: “Where is the offside moment in the Argentina v. Mexico match clip? I don't at all doubt it's there, I'm just a moron and not seeing it.”

The thing that is complicated about the offside rule is that a player is in violation if he is in "active play," whether he has possession of the ball at the moment he's in offside position or not. So in the case of the sad situation in the "illegal offside goal" link, in which one of my favorite players, Carlos Tevez, is called offside (go City!) – he is clearly offside because, at the moment the ball is passed to him, there is no one between him and the goal.

As much as I'd like to see it differently, I think this was an obvious offside violation. But because of the ambiguity concerning whether a player is involved in "active play," it can lead to some complicated and controversial situations; that is, if the player simply ends up with the ball, the referee must decide whether the pass was intended, and whether the player counts as having been in active play.
posted by koeselitz at 1:04 AM on June 30, 2010


The beautiful game is beautiful because anyone can play it and anyone like everyone can make mistakes.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 1:06 AM on June 30, 2010


Every pass needs to be onsides, not just the first one that sets up the play. It's at 0:05 seconds, where the ball is passed to the shooter who heads the ball into the goal. The attacker heading the ball was positioned offsides when the ball was kicked to him.
posted by cotterpin at 1:07 AM on June 30, 2010


Ohhhhh... Thanks. I see it now. But it's not at :04, it's more like at :05-:06, right?
posted by cucumber at 1:07 AM on June 30, 2010


koeselitz, i think the moment you gain an advantage, in this case tevez heading the ball, you are active in play, it doesn't matter if the pass was intended or not.

Adamvasco, in all fairness Spain's goal was a tough call, unlike Argentina's goal.
posted by valdesm at 1:09 AM on June 30, 2010


dirtynumbangelboy: “Corruption/payoff is the only possible explanation for sports at this level to not use instant replays and other technology to ensure rules are followed.”

This would be an issue if the officiation in the World Cup, or in soccer in general, were really worse than other sports which have instant replay. It is not. In fact, I'd argue that officiation is better in soccer; I have argued that elsewhere. The officiation during the Cup this year has been particularly good, despite three or four missteps.

Moreover, instant replay is simply not possible with the game as it is; it would require more stopping and starting that soccer has ever involved, and that would completely change the play of the game.
posted by koeselitz at 1:09 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


valdesm: “koeselitz, i think the moment you gain an advantage, in this case tevez heading the ball, you are active in play, it doesn't matter if the pass was intended or not.”

Oh, I know – sorry if I was ambiguous on this point; that video presents a clear, almost textbook-perfect example of an offside violation. I only meant that in some other cases it can be difficult and controversial to try to decide offside.
posted by koeselitz at 1:10 AM on June 30, 2010


yeah, it's more around 5 or 6 seconds in. The moment Messi shoots anyway.
posted by valdesm at 1:11 AM on June 30, 2010


ReeMonster: “I am so sick of this lame ass corrupt boring sport that everyone is this city is pretending to care about”

Tough living in Manchester, innit?
posted by koeselitz at 1:13 AM on June 30, 2010 [12 favorites]


There's a common understanding that in case of doubt, offside should not be called. I tried to find this in the current laws of the game to no avail. I wonder if it's just an arbitrary FIFA policy.
posted by valdesm at 1:14 AM on June 30, 2010




Tough living in Manchester, innit?

For about the last 34 years, if you're a City fan...
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:32 AM on June 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


While I don't like the idea of introducing video replay in football (it would mean a far more significant change to the game than the suggested microchip-in-the-ball method of goal-line technology), I do love the Internet for allowing us to play along at home, even many, many years after the fact:

Thierry Henry's handball in the qualifiers;
Maradona's 'Hand of God' goal, 1986;
Geoff Hurst in the 1966 World Cup final.
posted by Catseye at 1:39 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Funny how the only teams complaining about the Jabulani ball are the ones that are losing and/or out of the tournament.

The officiating however has been pretty bad. I know my country (the US) was definitely robbed of a goal (against Slovenia) and possibly against Algeria as well.
posted by bardic at 1:42 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are you folks who are excusing the awful calls and lack of technology in the Mafia?
posted by Sukiari at 1:43 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sukiari: “Are you folks who are excusing the awful calls and lack of technology in the Mafia?”

Yeah, get back to me when you've watched more than two games.
posted by koeselitz at 1:51 AM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


[Sorry if that sounds harsh, but watching regular-season soccer would really do people some good. The next time I hear somebody start going on about 'soccer has terrible officiation! The system is fundamentally broken! Let me fix it!' I'm going to puke.]
posted by koeselitz at 1:54 AM on June 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


Are you folks who are excusing the awful calls and lack of technology in the Mafia?
OMG! How did you guess! Oh, shit, I screwed that up. Damn, now I'm gonna get the phone call.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:54 AM on June 30, 2010


re. jabulani, first I thought that Casillas was lacking concentration or confidence, but by now I'm pretty sure it's the ball. Notice that Spain and Brazil are still in the tournament and both their keepers have been very vocal against the ball before the world cup started.

Proof that Jabulani behaves like a beach ball
posted by valdesm at 1:54 AM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]




bardic: “Funny how the only teams complaining about the Jabulani ball are the ones that are losing and/or out of the tournament.”

Actually, that's incorrect; as far as I know, nearly every team has protested the ball, or at least grumbled about it; there have been studies done at Cal Tech and in France that show that the ball has a big impact on play. And it's clear to me from watching players I've seen all through a regular season – many of whom, like Tevez and Messi, are from teams which happen to be winning games in the Cup – that they're struggling to do things that they normally would do almost automatically. On every level – the coaches, the players, the officials (though only anonymously) and even in observed gameplay, the ball has had a huge effect on the Cup, and it isn't good. I don't think it ruined anything overall, since it's still a level playing field, but it's made the games a lot more frustrating and a lot less exciting than they should be.
posted by koeselitz at 2:01 AM on June 30, 2010


The officiation during the Cup this year has been particularly good, despite three or four missteps.

You, sir, are high. 7 or 8 times it's been bad enough to change the outcome of the match. Why entrust the referee with the authority to make million dollar decisions and then give him less information than everyone on the entire planet, including the people in the stadium, at the time, watching the instant replay on giant screens. Rugby union has a similar flow to soccer, and has a replay system for contentious tries that's improved fairness loads.

watching regular-season soccer would really do people some good

The more you watch, the more appalled you'll get. The Premier League's (mostly) not (too) bad (ish). Serie A is mostly shocking.
posted by kersplunk at 2:07 AM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Teams, and especially goalies, always complain about the ball every four years. The first howls came from England when the goalie missed, and on review he was out of position and trying to stop it with his hands instead of his whole body. Completely his own fault.

"nearly every team has protested the ball, or at least grumbled about it"

Not true.

"there have been studies done at Cal Tech and in France that show that the ball has a big impact on play."

I read that too, but it wasn't a "big impact." Something about the ball slowing down in mid-air a bit. Which of course all balls tend to do. And the article ends by saying the tests were done on stationary balls, which is pretty much the opposite of game conditions.

"the coaches, the players, the officials (though only anonymously) and even in observed gameplay, the ball has had a huge effect on the Cup, and it isn't good"

Source? I haven't heard this about the ball specifically. The grumbling about the overall officiating has been apparent, for obvious reasons though.

Kaka likes it (under an Adidas contract, I'll admit). The Germans haven't complained about it. I'd imagine the other Brazilians, Argentina, and whichever team takes the cup will have little to say about it once it's all said and done.
posted by bardic at 2:08 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Eh. All I know is that, post game, people aren't talking about the playing, they're talking about the officiating.

If that's not a sign of failure in sport, I'm not sure what is.
posted by effugas at 2:09 AM on June 30, 2010 [11 favorites]


bardic: “Even FIFA has admitted that this World Cup has had more bad calls than usual.”

They've done no such thing. Read the article you linked. FIFA would never cop to having done anything wrong whatsoever. Not that they're much of an authority on that sort of thing, sadly.

Besides, you're bringing in a separate question. The point people made above was that soccer has bad officiation in general, and that the style (i.e. no replay, etc) is why. I was arguing against that point.

I don't think that the officiation in the Cup has been so bad relatively, though – of course every single team will always think they've been treated unfairly. There have been mistakes, but it's odd to me that people seem to have a need to focus on the mistakes which have been made. The fact is that I haven't seen a single game so far wherein a team won that should've lost. When it came down, the best teams won. That's what's supposed to happen in this game.
posted by koeselitz at 2:09 AM on June 30, 2010




I'm definitely not in favour of video technology. In a game with few natural breaks, it would difficult to shoehorn in. There may be an argument for goal line applications, where the question of whether the ball crossed the line is a matter of fact, not opinion. Even so, I don't see video technology as being the way forward here. There are just too many occasions when there are a lot of bodies around the ball, all potentially changing its direction out-of-view of the cameras. If you saw the Italy-Slovakia game, you may recall Skrtel clearing a shot off the line. By sheer chance, the position of his body, the posts and other players managed to obscure the multitude of cameras enough that the immediate replays were inconclusive.
The chip-in-ball approach is IMHO a much more attractive technique. If it can reach an acceptable tolerance level in locating the ball around the goal line it would remove at least one source of controversy and also allow the official to pay more attention to what the players are doing.
posted by Jakey at 2:19 AM on June 30, 2010


Sepp Blatter personally apologized to England and Mexico's sides after their bad calls against Germany and Argentina, respectively. This is what suffices as an admission of guilt re: 2010 officiating being qualitatively worse than usual.

"The point people made above was that soccer has bad officiation in general, and that the style (i.e. no replay, etc) is why."

And the World Cup is the biggest soccer tournament and should therefore have the best officials picked to ref the games. In far too many cases this hasn't happened. (IMO the England no-goal was by far the worst example, but there have been many others, moreso than in previous World Cups.)

"The fact is that I haven't seen a single game so far wherein a team won that should've lost."

Speaking from a partisan bias, America was robbed against Slovenia. They still finished in first however, but only after having to overcome another questionable call against Algeria.

England generally looked like shit, but getting to 2-2 against Germany would have led to a totally different second half. (I was rooting for Germany, fwiw.)

Same for Mexico v. Argentina -- Argentina is obviously the better team, but you have to play the game. And for weaker teams, momentum is everything (or lack thereof).
posted by bardic at 2:21 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The fact is that I haven't seen a single game so far wherein a team won that should've lost. When it came down, the best teams won.

I think the Germany-Serbia game may be a point against that. The ref there was horrible, and the sending-off of Klose ridiculous. Serbia had barely been in the game before the sending off and went on to win it. That siad, I do agree with your larger point that the officiating has been generally good. My only real complaint is that there has been a tendency towards award soft free-kicks rather than just letting guys compete for the ball, but overall the refs have done a reasonable job.

That's what's supposed to happen in this game.

I would also argue a little against that. One of the appeals of football is that it's pretty hard to score, which helps level the playing field a little compared to many other sports. In the likes of rugby, NFL etc., it's much harder for an inferior team to compete than in football.
posted by Jakey at 2:24 AM on June 30, 2010


In a game with few natural breaks, it would difficult to shoehorn in.

Soccer has tons of natural breaks. It takes around 30 seconds to restart after every goal, for starters. You could watch a replay ten times and not hold up play.

There are just too many occasions when there are a lot of bodies around the ball, all potentially changing its direction out-of-view of the cameras.

So it would only help 19 times out of 20, therefore it shouldn't be used at all?
posted by kersplunk at 2:29 AM on June 30, 2010


bardic: “The Germans haven't complained about it.”

Heh. Yeah, I wonder why.

“Source? I haven't heard this about the ball specifically.”

The first ones I can find are Fabio Capello, Giampaolo Pazzini, Iker Casillas, David James, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Robinho, Joe Hart, and Júlio César, though there are a whole lot more. And note that many of these players and coaches happen to be winning players and coaches. The manager of the team which many favored highest going into the Cup, Brazil, made it a bit of a personal thing with the FIFA general secretary, accusing him of knowing nothing about the game because he's never played professionally, and challenging him to come on the field and try to control the Jabulani ball.
posted by koeselitz at 2:35 AM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


bardic: “Speaking from a partisan bias, America was robbed against Slovenia. They still finished in first however, but only after having to overcome another questionable call against Algeria.”

Yeah, I'm American, too. America played the first half of that game terribly, and Slovenia excelled. A tie was to be expected, frankly, and while the call wasn't on, I don't think it's fair to say that the US won any kind of decisive victory there.

Though – I know that momentum means a lot, and bad calls are not a good thing. Again, I'm only saying that the inherent structure of soccer doesn't create bad calls – it's the refs themselves.
posted by koeselitz at 2:38 AM on June 30, 2010


The officiation during the Cup this year has been particularly good, despite three or four missteps.

It's been horrible. At least two of the eight sides remaining are there on blown calls. I can forgive the Spain goal, because it's just offside, and you need to see the last touch before the goal to know it, but the Argentina goal was just horrible.

The England goal was worse, but the real problem is the number of cards for what are apparently psychic fouls. Findley (US) and Klose (Germany) were both rooked out of games on bogus fouls, Yahia (Algeria) was dismissed for, well, really, it looked like he was trying to calm down his team.

Costa's sendoff, yesterday, was also problematic. I never saw anything that didn't look like incidental contact, and saw nothing that rated a red card. Yellow? Maybe, but wow, that's thin. Meanwhile, several other fouls, including a couple of deliberate takedowns, rated nothing.

Funny how the only teams complaining about the Jabulani ball are the ones that are losing and/or out of the tournament.

A few aren't -- Germany, Japan and the US -- but the Bundesliga and MLS used that ball in the last season, as did, apparently, the Japanese domestic leagues. But that's even more condemnation that the ball isn't neutral -- it behaves very differently than other balls, and practice makes perfect. Japan, regarded as an also-ran, advanced with 4 goals in the qualifiers. Hell, we won the group. Germany has had 9 goals so far, the only team with more is Argentina. Portugal stated that they "loved" the ball, but after a 7-0 game, it's hard not to.

But it does, clearly, behave differently. It knuckles like mad, strikers that have learned *not* to spin the ball end up with a weaving bullet, players who have any backspin find the ball hanging up, which is why we're seeing so many go over the bar this time around. The problem with this is not just shooting, which you can learn, but long passes -- you have to spin this ball to control it, but bending a long pass makes it very difficult to put it on the receiver's foot. Finally, note the number of 3/4 field goal kicks -- including at least one goaltender assisted goal (goal kick -> striker -> GOAL!)

FIFA has acknowledged that the ball may be too different, but (correctly) has said that they won't change it during the tournament.

My only real complaint -- the ball should have been announced as the ball that was going to be used in, oh, early 2008. This way, everyone would have had the time to understand the ball's flight. Putting it into the competition as late they did -- December 2009, in the Club World Cup, was a mistake.
posted by eriko at 2:42 AM on June 30, 2010


The only detection technology (for goals and fouls) that they need to add is a couple more refs.
posted by vapidave at 2:43 AM on June 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


kersplunk: “Soccer has tons of natural breaks. It takes around 30 seconds to restart after every goal, for starters. You could watch a replay ten times and not hold up play.”

Ah. So you're saying that we should introduce replay, but have the replay only shown after there's obviously a goal?

The trouble is that the vast majority of these bad calls which replay is supposed to alleviate don't occur during the "natural breaks" (which are much fewer in this sport than others). They happen when a player touches a ball during a pass, when a player knocks another player down when nobody's looking, when an elbow hits a gut or a knee buckles and you don't know why. And you can't stop play in the midst of all that, because it ruins the momentum.

If replay were introduced, it would be the referee's duty to stop play every time a closer call had to be made. It would be irresponsible of him not to. And if he stopped play every time somebody might have fouled somebody else, or every time somebody might have been slightly offside, then he'd be stopping play every twenty seconds or so. There would be no running; there'd just be standing in place, followed by short sprints. And the ball would never move more than a few feet.

In other words, you'd turn the game into American football.
posted by koeselitz at 2:44 AM on June 30, 2010 [11 favorites]


And four years from now in Brazil a bunch of players, and especially GK's, will complain about another new ball just like they did four, eight, twelve, and sixteen years ago.

And when this World Cup is over, the team who wins it all and the teams that advance farther than expected will have nothing bad to say about the ball, nor will the Gold Boot winner and the runner-ups.

The complaints you link come from either before the current tournament or in the group stage.

Excuses, excuses.
posted by bardic at 2:47 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


"A tie was to be expected, frankly, and while the call wasn't on, I don't think it's fair to say that the US won any kind of decisive victory there."

If a ball goes into the net but is called back for a penalty, a penalty which the ref didn't explain to anyone, in the final minutes of the game, it's more than fair to say the US was robbed. 3 > 2.
posted by bardic at 2:48 AM on June 30, 2010


Soccer has tons of natural breaks.

Yes it does, but the point is that although many times the players take their time with restarts, often they gain advantage by restarting quickly. Imagine a situation like Lampard's 'goal', where another attacker gets to the rebound but knocks it over the bar. The German keeper wants to take a quick bye-kick, as he has spotted that so many English players have charged forward that the German forwards are now 3 against 3. Whoa, there, cowboy! We have to ask the eye in the sky, and whilst we're doing so, all the England defenders will file back and be ready for the kickout.

So it would only help 19 times out of 20, therefore it shouldn't be used at all?
I should have been clear that I was talking about the HawkEye proposal here. My objection is that I have doubts about the how much more accuracy it could give in a crowded goalmouth versus a video ref watching a replay.
My larger objection to video technology is really a slippery-slope argument. TV is already calling too many of the shots in football and they've been pushing for replays for a while. I think that once they get it for goal line issues, it'll creep in for offside, then red cards etc. Ultimately we'll end up watching football in 5-10min chunks interspersed with a constant barrage of ads. It's football as TV entertainment, not as a live event.
posted by Jakey at 2:50 AM on June 30, 2010


In the other football thread this ref/replay question was also addressed with some pretty good ideas.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:56 AM on June 30, 2010


The 'goal-line technology' is gonna be a couple of extra officials stood behind the goals... they are are already trailing it in Europe.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:08 AM on June 30, 2010


Koeselitz - you mean like they do in Rugby? Dubious trys are replayed and a decision can be changed based on this. It actually makes watching the sport even more exciting, in my opinion.

A reasonable idea is that when a goal is scored, you have a challenge system (like in tennis and cricket). A team is allowed, say, two challenges per match. If they challenge the goal, it goes to the fourth official and video technology. This would allow the referee to rectify a decision due to any obviously offside players, or handballs. As the game is stopped anyway, this adds no overhead, and increases accuracy. If the decision is ambiguous to the video referee, nothing changes. There are some issues to work out, of course, but the principle seems sound. What's irritating about this is that Fifa haven't even tried to implement it. If they tried and failed, even that would satisfy many people.

To prevent goals that should have happened, but aren't given, some kind of "smart ball" technology could be used. This has been trialled by Fifa, but the results were inconclusive. But instead of more experiments (the Hawk-eye system has been proposed) the whole idea was dropped.

I don't think anyone's suggesting video refereeing should be used in all cases. In fact, the majority probably shouldn't be. But obvious injustices that can be seen by everyone with a television (and often by everyone in the stadium, bar the officials!) are spoiling the sport. This is about narrowing the margin of error, not eliminating it.

There are some cool ideas about preventing simulation (diving) too. One I've heard is - if the referee isn't sure, they ask the player if they dived, and act accordingly him when he says yes or no. If the game is replayed after the match, and it is obvious that he did dive, he gets an enormous penalty - a 5 game ban, or similar. Interesting idea, not sure if it would work.
posted by iso_bars at 3:13 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


In related news, City fans will be excited to find out that they've just signed David Silva from Valencia
posted by iso_bars at 3:18 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yahia (Algeria) was dismissed for, well, really, it looked like he was trying to calm down his team.

eriko, you seem to think players can be penalised only for fouls and not for misconduct. Dissent is a cautionable offence, and in addition, if multiple players on a team are, or the team as a whole is deemed by the referee to have committed some form of misconduct, often the captain (in this case Yahia) will be cautioned.

There was dissent in word or in action among the Algerian side. It was from multiple players. As captain, Yahia was booked for his team's dissent. As Yahia had already been booked, he was sent off.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:23 AM on June 30, 2010


Koeselitz is basically right about replays. The rugby analogy doesn't hold, I'm afraid. Rugby uses replays solely for determining whether a try should be awarded, nothing else - and therefore they aren't needed more than a couple of times per game, on average (mostly, it's obvious if a try has been scored). Further, once a try has (potentially) been scored, the ball is always dead: either it's a try (so the next step is the conversion); or the ball-carrier was held up and didn't ground the ball (so it's a 5-metre scrum); or the ball player lost the ball/there was a forward pass (so it's a free kick to the defence).

Whereas in soccer, maybe a player was offside/fouled, but if you have to stop the game to determine that, you prevent the other team from counterattacking.

I do think iso_bars makes some good suggestions though: allowing appeals could be one option. Another could be for linesmen not to signal offside unless it's obvious. The game continues, and if a goal is scored, a video ref checks for offside (you could also do that if a corner was achieved). if not, then the ball has ended up with the defence anyway, which is what would have happened if they'd been awarded a freekick for offside. You could also do this for penalties (always check with video refs that a penalty was correctly awarded - there's a stoppage in play anyway). You couldn't do it for penalties that weren't awarded, but should have been; but it cuts down some errors, at least.
posted by Infinite Jest at 3:28 AM on June 30, 2010


koeselitz: The officiation during the Cup this year has been particularly good, despite three or four missteps.

Oh my. This is just bunk. I can't believe anyone who...
A. Knows anything about football
B. Has watched more than a few World Cup games this year
C. Has listened to or read much expert commentary on this year's officiating
-and-
D. Doesn't work for FIFA
...could make a statement like this with a straight face.

I've watched a majority of this tournament's games in their entirety. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I've watched those games on a variety of European broadcasters - English, German, Italian and Austrian. I've watched a ton of European post-game commentary and read another ton of it.

The problem, koeselitz, is that the statements of most of these sports broadcasters and writers who I have watched and read, many of whom cover only football, and many of whom played, coached and/or officiated at the professional level, are in diametrical opposition to the opinion you expressed in the quoted passage above.

You seem to like playing the role of "cool American who gets football," and, I might add, you sometimes come off as condescending when you do it (i.e. Yeah, get back to me when you've watched more than two games).

The problem is, I've watched way more than two games, and I've read/watched an enormous amount of expert commentary, and the consensus of the game's experts who I've listened to is that the officiation during the Cup this year has been particularly noxious, incompetent and anger-inducingly, sometimes-potentially-game-changingly bad.
posted by syzygy at 3:30 AM on June 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


bardic: “Excuses, excuses.”

Well, it's not excuses for me. I'm not excusing anybody – like I said, I think it affects all the players the same, but I still think it was a crass commercial move on the part of FIFA.

I've been watching a lot of these players for the past year and a half. When they're suddenly unable to make goals or passes the way they used to, and when volleys and tackles suddenly take on a completely different character – hell, when Lionel Messi can't seem to send the ball in a straight line, for god's sake – there's something significantly different about the ball.

Again, I don't think it's going to really affect the outcome; and yeah, Maradona is a blowhard no matter what he talks about, so I probably should not have used his complaints as an example. But I still feel as though that ball has caused a shift.

Anyway, it's either the ball, or something else, that is dramatically affecting the game; but the fact is that this is thus far overwhelmingly the lowest-scoring World Cup in history.
posted by koeselitz at 3:36 AM on June 30, 2010


Infinite Jest- I take the point. I just mean that when a goal is scored (which does halt play) then we end up watching several replays anyway, so why can't one showing a clear infringement be used to cancel the goal? It certainly doesn't work when a goal isn't awarded, which is why alternative methods (or none at all) should be used.

It was the immediate replay in the Argentina / Mexico game that irritated so many people. The players, referee, linesmen all could see they had made a mistake, but couldn't change the decision. We already use the technology.
posted by iso_bars at 3:38 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love hearing the English commentators literally screaming in disbelief and agony :D
posted by fire&wings at 3:41 AM on June 30, 2010


syzygy: “You seem to like playing the role of "cool American who gets football," and, I might add, you sometimes come off as condescending when you do it (i.e. Yeah, get back to me when you've watched more than two games).”

[I'm sorry that I came off that way, and I wished immediately that I hadn't; that's why I half-apologized in my next comment, though I wish I'd done so more fully. But this is so very different for me than it is for you; I think that's why I approach it from this point of view. See, I've been spending the last three weeks telling people that soccer isn't a stupid, stupid game with stupid, stupid rules that make the bad teams win. And I'm really tired of having to say it. And at the beginning of this thread, people started saying it again: not that the World Cup has had bad officiation, but that soccer in general, all the time, all over the world is a badly-officiated, badly-designed sport. That's not fair.

But, yeah, it's also true that I'm a pompous blowhard. Sorry. And Sukiari – that obnoxious crack was totally uncalled for; I apologize.]

posted by koeselitz at 3:42 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


What is 'offsides'?
posted by doublehappy at 3:43 AM on June 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


There was dissent in word or in action among the Algerian side. It was from multiple players. As captain, Yahia was booked for his team's dissent. As Yahia had already been booked, he was sent off.

The one guy who is trying to help you gets booked for trying to help you? Officially, the laws say nothing about this -- but the Guidelines to Referees are very clear on this.
A player who is guilty of dissent by protesting (verbally or non-verbally) against a referee’s decision must be cautioned.

The captain of a team has no special status or privileges under the Laws of the Game but he has a degree of responsibility for the behaviour of his team.
So -- the player who dissents should be cautioned. Not the captain -- unless you assume any dissent means the captain is booked, which is a great way to make sure nobody is captain. Indeed, the implication is that after-match action may be taken if a captain controls his team, but the laws are very clear on what is cautionable and what is not -- and nowhere in the laws does it say that if there is excessive dissent on the team, the captain will be booked, rather than those actually dissenting against the ruling.

You can argue that someone should have been booked. I'll grant that for the sake of argument, but booking the guy on the team who is actively trying to help you get a frustrated, about to be eliminated team from going from harsh words to something more stupid shows an official who has *no clue* on how to act as an authority figure. Because, really, what it's telling the captain to do is to go postal -- because he's already going to be booked. He's doing the time, why not do the crime?

Sorry, don't buy it. You can't stretch the guidelines to justify that call -- but you cannot stretch them to say that *only* the captain gets booked for the actions of the team. There is simply no law that allows you to book the guy, and any clueful ref would jump on you for booking the wrong guy.

That was a bogus booking, and the ref should be ashamed for making it.
posted by eriko at 4:00 AM on June 30, 2010


What is 'offsides'?

*Sigh* Here we go again.

If a commentator from one country has made a comment that is more ignorant about football than that of any two other commentators from different countries (including the USA which is for this purpose counted as a "different country" even if one or more of the other commentators are also from the USA, provided that comment was made after the original comment) then the comment is judged to be offside.

However, if the comment is off-topic or the original commentator was attempting a derail at the time the topic was made, then provided no further comment is made in the thread by that commentator, the comment is not offside.

Any comment made in response to a comment otherwise offside, such as a derail, will be judged to have played that comment onside (i.e. even if it is more ignorant than the original comment, the original comment will only be offside if there are two further comments more ignorant about football than it).

A comment also cannot be offside if it is a front page post, provided it comes before the [more inside].

If a comment is "offside" more than once, then those comments may collectively be referred to as "offsides".

It's not rocket surgery people.
posted by GeckoDundee at 4:10 AM on June 30, 2010 [19 favorites]


Just a reminder that France might not have even been in the world cup if it was not for a double-hand ball that the ref didn't see. I think the video ref in rugby would work fine. Each team gets a small number (3?) of opportunities to contest the refs call, and it is referred to a panel elsewhere who quickly review the footage.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 4:16 AM on June 30, 2010


Whereas in soccer, maybe a player was offside/fouled, but if you have to stop the game to determine that, you prevent the other team from counterattacking.

No, the game stops anyway. New technologies would only be implemented when the game stops. For goals at first, perhaps for fouls and other things in the future. There would never be a scenario when a foul occurs unseen to the referee and a player is able to run and ask the game to be stopped so everyone can stand around and decide whether it should be punished. There may be a scenario where when the game has stopped a team may use one of a set number of "challenges" to have a decision reassesed or a foul highlighted but I think thats pretty far off. To remedy almost all the problems with officiating all that is needed is an official sitting at a monitor and a chip in the ball. We already have retrospective video evidence to deal with serious incidents that go unpunished during games and there is no need to significantly disrupt the flow of games at all.

During the England game the referee would receive a signal to his wristwatch from the chip inside the ball confirming it has crossed the line. I guess the German players would surround him and complain that there was no goal (although this type of dissent would surely die out) the referee would refer to his watch and that'd be that.
posted by fire&wings at 4:26 AM on June 30, 2010


Football! I love talking about it. And the football fans in MetaFilter seemingly only really come out of the woodwork every 4 years. Sad.

Anyway it's time to chip in.

The officiating in this World Cup has varied greatly from game to game. In the first round of games, the officiating was reasonable, helped by the remarkable lack of diving - only the Germans had a go at it against Australia, but they played the Aussies off the park anyway. It gets more interesting from then on, as the divers and simulators begin ramping up their playacting - and the disallowed goal by England against Germany only threw it into stark relief. Up to then no other goal had been so obvious and yet disallowed (the US goal disallowed for the seeming foul against Slovenia is not nearly as obvious).

That said, we hardly notice good refereeing when it happens, because it's good refereeing. The point of the game, after all, is the game, not the officials in it; and when the officials begin taking centre-stage, it usually means something is wrong. It could be the players going hammer and tongs at each other instead of the ball; it could be the referee losing control.

So, yes, there's been bad officiation in the WC, but I would agree with koeselitz that the officiation is actually not much worse than in the top leagues. There are so many disputably offside decisions in the EPL every season that I think only Opta keeps count, and it's not uncommon to hear of a disputed goal (either the ball didn't cross the line but was counted, or it did cross the line and wasn't counted) at least once a year. With 64 games in the World Cup, it wouldn't be surprising to hear of bad officiating and at least a few egregiously wrong decisions by the referees.

So here's my stance: goal-line technology should be used, and replay technology only when a goal is disputed, since if a goal is disputed, play would already have stopped anyway, so the interruption wouldn't take much away from the momentum. Replays for run-of-the-mill fouls in the middle of the park would slow the game down and change it for the worse; but the "German experiment" mentioned above by iso_bars is, I think, a good thing.

It's worth a gander if you haven't heard about the "referee asking the player if he dived" idea. As iso_bars wrote:

There are some cool ideas about preventing simulation (diving) too. One I've heard is - if the referee isn't sure, they ask the player if they dived, and act accordingly him when he says yes or no. If the game is replayed after the match, and it is obvious that he did dive, he gets an enormous penalty - a 5 game ban, or similar. Interesting idea, not sure if it would work.

Note: if the player admits he did dive, he isn't penalised, so there is some incentive for him to actually tell the truth.

We already have retrospective video evidence to deal with serious incidents that go unpunished during games and there is no need to significantly disrupt the flow of games at all.

IIRC - I could be wrong, please tell me if I am - I think video evidence for post-match retrospective punishment is only used in incidents where the ref confirms in his post-match report that he did not see the punishment and would have punished the incident if he had seen it. Not necessarily the ideal situation, but I think at the moment video evidence is only used sparingly, and not generally.
posted by WalterMitty at 4:33 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can argue that someone should have been booked. I'll grant that for the sake of argument [...] That was a bogus booking, and the ref should be ashamed for making it.

I think a couple of the Algerian players should also be ashamed for getting in the ref's face shouting and doing karate-hand chop stuff. My guess is that it was mistaken identity, but in any case I don't think it's a miscarriage of soccer justice that someone got sent off after that.

It's just one of those things that makes the game *cough* "beautiful", right?
posted by fleacircus at 4:40 AM on June 30, 2010


koeselitz: See, I've been spending the last three weeks telling people that soccer isn't a stupid, stupid game with stupid, stupid rules that make the bad teams win. And I'm really tired of having to say it.

I can certainly understand your frustration here, and I consider you to generally be a class act, from having read many of your interactions on other topics over the years here, but I'd say that you're not doing your cause much good if you're too militant about it. I mean, you're even taking a more militant stance than FIFA, at the moment.

Fifa bewegt sich sanft, aber doch

Nach massiver Kritik an Fehlpfiffen will die Fifa ihre Position zur Tor kamera, nicht aber zum Video beweis überdenken - Präsident Blatter bittet Mexiko und England um Entschuldigung

Johannesburg - "Es ist wie an allen Tagen. Wir kommentieren die Entscheidungen der Schiedsrichter nicht", hatte Fifa-Mediendirektor Nicolas Maingot noch am Montag gesagt. Der Dienstag war also ein ganz und gar anderer Tag, wenn nicht sogar ein historischer, denn Fifa-Präsident Joseph S. Blatter wählte revolutionäre Worte: "Ich bedaure es, wenn ich die offensichtlichen Fehler der Schiedsrichter sehe. Nach den bisherigen Erfahrungen bei dieser WM wäre es irrsinnig, sich über das Thema Torlinien-Technologie keine Gedanken zu machen."


Translation: FIFA is budging, slowly but surely

After facing massive criticism over bad calls, FIFA to re-think its position on chip balls, but not on video replay -- FIFA president Blatter apologizes to Mexico and England

Johannesburg - "It's the same as every day. We don't comment on the decisions of the referees." That was still FIFA's official statement on Monday, as made by FIFA's media director Nicolas Maingot. Tuesday, then, was a completely different day, if not even historic. FIFA president Josef S. Blatter chose revolutionary words: "I regret it when I witness referees making obvious mistakes. It would be insane not to consider chip ball technology in the face of the reality in this year's World Cup tournament." /end translation

So look, I understand your frustration, but it doesn't excuse militancy. I've not seen a single serious commentator argue that this tournament's officiating has been "particularly good." Even the commentators who are against chip balls and video replay tend to readily admit that the officiating has been poor.

I've seen the Austrian commentators joke that if the officiating continues to be as bad as it's been, so far, there won't be any referee teams available to officiate the final games - by the time those games roll around, all of the referee teams will have been sent home due to the horrendous calls they've made.

I also watched the Austrian post-game analysis of the Argentina game. I felt sorry for the ex professional football player who took part in the analysis session. You could see that he had been upset by the bad call in the England-Germany game earlier that day, and after the Argentina-Mexico debacle, he was visibly shaken. He looked like he was about to explode in rage as he complained about the referees influencing the games unduly with their boneheaded calls.

So, to get back to my earlier point, you're the single, sole person I've heard, this late in the tournament, making the claim that "The officiation during the Cup this year has been particularly good, despite three or four missteps."

I suggest that you soften your tone, rethink that position and listen to the experts, none of whom seem to be in agreement with you. I suspect that your militant stance, which doesn't seem to be shared by any actual football experts that I can find, is doing your cause of convincing US-American football neophytes that the game is beautiful, as is, actual harm.
posted by syzygy at 4:47 AM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


IIRC - I could be wrong, please tell me if I am - I think video evidence for post-match retrospective punishment is only used in incidents where the ref confirms in his post-match report that he did not see the punishment and would have punished the incident if he had seen it. Not necessarily the ideal situation, but I think at the moment video evidence is only used sparingly, and not generally.

Yes, but there is scope to change this if needbe. Of obvious recent examples the Tevez goal (despite the opposition not really noticing IIRC,) Thierry Henry handball and England goal would all have been corrected in game with the use of technology. The game stopped on each occassion (or would have at the England goal) and the decision would be reviewed, either after challenges from the opposition or as a matter of course. Video review panels would still only be needed sparingly. If technology is not introduced into the live game there is still scope to widen the remit of review panels and look at massive incidents like Henry's handball after the match and do something about it. The clamour after the France Ireland game was significant and there was semi-serious talk from important people about the idea of having it replayed. We're not far away from that type of thing, because of the money at stake.
posted by fire&wings at 4:52 AM on June 30, 2010


fire&wings: No, the game stops anyway. New technologies would only be implemented when the game stops. For goals at first, perhaps for fouls and other things in the future.

I think we're in agreement then, albeit approaching from different directions. I'd certainly agree with what you say here (and iso_bars said in response to me). You couldn't attempt to implement replays for every potential incident, but you could - and should - use technology to confirm a decision when play has already been stopped (so certainly for goals).

On preview: I agree that widening the remit of review panels would be an excellent approach, and might serve to cut down fouls/diving.

a womble...I think the video ref in rugby would work fine. Each team gets a small number (3?) of opportunities to contest the refs call,

It does work well in rugby, but note that it is only for deciding if a try has been scored, at which point the game has stopped (unlike soccer, the defensive side can't counterattack at this point, they get a freekick). Minor point: I don't think you have appeals in rugby - the decision to call for a video replay is at the referee's discretion. You do have appeals in cricket, perhaps you were thinking of that?
posted by Infinite Jest at 4:55 AM on June 30, 2010


What is 'offsides'?

You don't have to read the links, but I would suggest not even reading the summary is going to make you appear very, very foolish.

I mean, shit man, Wikipedia link and everything.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:05 AM on June 30, 2010


THAT SAID. My opinion on this matter is that offsides is stupid and they should get rid of such an arbitrary thing, but then I think about my beloved baseball and they do have that ambiguous "strike zone" and I should probably shut up with my uninformed opinions and stop typ
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:07 AM on June 30, 2010


doublehappy was just being cunty about the 's' at the end, C_D.
posted by fleacircus at 5:08 AM on June 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


In other words, you'd turn the game into American football.

You mean it would finally be watchable?
posted by King Bee at 5:19 AM on June 30, 2010


So the stupid amateur run 5K races that I run on weekends seem to have the technology to tell when my right New Balance crosses the finish line. Hell, when I ran a 1/2 marathon, the system automatically sent out Tweets with my time and pace as I crossed each check point. You'd think that an organization as big as FIFI could figure out when the ball crosses the goal. This is not a hard problem.
posted by octothorpe at 5:20 AM on June 30, 2010


I think in many of these cases, just analyzing how a goal was scored would be sufficient as this is where most of the problems arise.

Infinite Jest you are correct that a team does not appeal a decision in rugby; I was (unclearly) suggesting that this could be a way to introduce the video-ref interaction for soccer.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 5:21 AM on June 30, 2010


Ah yes, FIFI. I'll never forget that thrilling Northern Cyprus - Zanzibar 0-0 final.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:28 AM on June 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


No, doublehappy was expressing a frustration that everyone who knows football has been feeling for a while.

There was a post recently where lots of USA posters were using jargon that might well have some currency in the USA (about the USA keeper's excellent distribution if I remember correctly), but which made no sense whatsoever to the rest of the world. We bit our collective tongue.

In this post we get a heap of people who obviously have never heard of Geoff Hurst and who don't know the difference between football and hockey (sic). To finally snap and say something about it, is not to be (I won't say it and I hope it gets deleted), it's just to be human.
posted by GeckoDundee at 5:29 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


You mean it would finally be watchable?

Here we go again. There's at least one in every football thread.
posted by WalterMitty at 5:31 AM on June 30, 2010


Vila's goal last night was offside and Spain go through to the next round. Portugal goes home.

I can forgive the Spain goal, because it's just offside...

This is wrong. Villa was clearly onside and ran onto the ball. Please find a clp and look closely.
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 5:36 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Civil_Disobedient, I think you'll find that the original question was subtly pointing out there is no offence as "offsides" in football. It's called "offside".
posted by salmacis at 5:41 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


In case anyone is wondering why I mention Geoff Hurst,

England are in red, West Germany in white.

They think it's all over. It is now.

Objective footage.
posted by GeckoDundee at 5:44 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Coming into this late, but the cricket argument should be front and centre. I did a CTRL-F search in this thread for "cricket" before commenting, and was surprised I only got two hits.

When the revolutionary idea of video replay in cricket was being discussed, influential dickheads like Ian Chappell were banging on and on and FARKING ON how "it didn't happen in my day" and how it would "slow down the game."

Best thing that ever happened to cricket. And Mr Above-Mentioned-Dickhead is still an influential figure [commentator], happily referring to the very thing he railed against as if his previous crusade never happened.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:46 AM on June 30, 2010


So, yes, there's been bad officiation in the WC, but I would agree with koeselitz that the officiation is actually not much worse than in the top leagues.

It's a lot worse to have bad refereeing in a single elimination tournament though.
posted by smackfu at 5:50 AM on June 30, 2010


The offsides thing is confusing to me even after the explanation. At 0:02, the pass is made, and it's questionable whether there's offsides, but at the time of the pass, the recipient isn't offsides, so it's a legal pass, right? Then he takes his shot, it rebounds off the goalkeeper. Then a different player takes a shot, for the goal, at 0:06.

So, sure, the first shooter (Messi?) was offsides, but no longer involved in the play, right? The one who took the shot (Tevez, right?) that scored the goal had 3 defenders in front of him. Was Messi really supposed to put the brakes on and dash back to onsides before Tevez could take his shot?
posted by explosion at 5:55 AM on June 30, 2010


Infinite Jest: ...and might serve to cut down fouls/diving.

Half this issue is players taking advantage while they know they can. Technology not only eliminates honest errors and freak bounces, it holds cheats accountable and puts players on the pitch who know they are hurting their team and themselves if they dive, commit fouls off the ball, or otherwise cheat. It alters the approach, and don't doubt for a second that pressuring the referee, niggling, diving, time wasting and cheating is an art in itself, studied and implemented by the likes of Mourinho.

The game has changed radically. The players are bigger, stronger, faster and are trained and conditioned from an earlier age. Playing surfaces are better. Games are faster and more technical. The strips and boots are a science. Tactics are evolving all the time. The audience has grown, and the game is analysed in a way not possible even a decade ago. The margins are getting smaller and smaller and the rewards are skyrocketing. In the middle of this behemoth is a small vacuum where nothing much has changed in a century and a handful of officials are still expected to keep this fast and lucrative business on track. The game is being played with a component that has barely evolved since the days of wool jerseys, hobnail boots and having a roast dinner and pint of ale before taking to the field. The technology exists, is successful in other sports, has been successfully trialled and would not slow the game down significantly - even if it did it would be easier to bear than the laughable mistakes which currently undermine the entire sport. It's ludicrous, and the major remaining argument against it - that football must be played under the same conditions at all levels - is a total nonsense. Why should it?
posted by fire&wings at 6:02 AM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Villa was very much onside. And England lost because they were outplayed and outclassed in every aspect of the game.

This timeless argument comes up every four years. Then the world cup ends, the four year fans go away and it's forgotten until the next world cup.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 6:03 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


explosion: Not questionable. Tevez runs with the ball toward the goal. The Mexican goalkeeper stops the ball. Tevez keeps running toward the goal (and puts himself in an offside position). Messi kicks the ball forward (aka passes it to Tevez). Tevez heads it in.

At the time of the Messi-Tevez pass, Tevez was offside.
posted by syzygy at 6:04 AM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, sure, the first shooter (Messi?) was offsides, but no longer involved in the play, right? The one who took the shot (Tevez, right?) that scored the goal had 3 defenders in front of him

The moment in question is around the 0:04/0:05 mark. That's Messi who takes the shot, with the defenders ahead of him. The keeper goes for the ball but misses as it sails over him; the ball is (possibly? I can't quite tell) aiming right for the goal anyway, but Tévez sends it on its way with a header. Tévez has two defenders in front of him when he scores, but he's ahead of all the opposing side's players at the point when Messi plays the ball to him.
posted by Catseye at 6:05 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The offsides thing is confusing to me even after the explanation. At 0:02, the pass is made, and it's questionable whether there's offsides, but at the time of the pass, the recipient isn't offsides, so it's a legal pass, right? Then he takes his shot, it rebounds off the goalkeeper. Then a different player takes a shot, for the goal, at 0:06.

So, sure, the first shooter (Messi?) was offsides, but no longer involved in the play, right? The one who took the shot (Tevez, right?) that scored the goal had 3 defenders in front of him. Was Messi really supposed to put the brakes on and dash back to onsides before Tevez could take his shot?


Explosion, 6 seconds is the pass in question. The player offside is Tevez, who heads the ball over the line. Messi takes the shot, but Tevez heads it. When the ball leaves Messi's foot (crucial) Tevez is standing with no players between him and the goal, he is offside.
posted by fire&wings at 6:06 AM on June 30, 2010


The one who took the shot (Tevez, right?) that scored the goal had 3 defenders in front of him.

Can't watch the video now but I belive there was no one in front of Tevez except the keeper.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 6:06 AM on June 30, 2010


Explosion: at 0:02, Messi plays the ball through the defence (no-one's offside). Tevez runs on and tries to shoot, but the keeper saves it. It rebounds back towards Messi. At this point, still no-one is offside (because the ball has come off a Mexican player - the goalkeeper). At 0:05-0:06, Messi plays the ball towards the goal. At this point, Tevez is standing in an offside position. If you freeze it at 0:06, you see Tevez standing on the edge of the 6-yard line, just goalside of two defenders and the goalkeeper, with the ball (kicked by Messi) going over the keeper's head.

The defenders then run back towards the goal, playing Tevez onside. Tevez heads the ball into the goal.

The key thing is that Tevez was offside at 0:05-6, at the moment when Messi kicked the ball over the keeper's head.
posted by Infinite Jest at 6:08 AM on June 30, 2010


I'm sorry, but video replay is not the best thing that ever happened to cricket. It has helped in some areas, and caused confusion and frustration in others.

I think Jakey put it best up-thread: technology would work for those incidents that are a matter of objective observation, and in particular, when the ball crosses (or does not cross) the goal-line. In cricket, the comparable use of technology is to decide on whether or not a batsman has been run out: the action happens at speed, the relevant umpire is a distance away, and using video replay to decide whether the bat is behind a white line or no is more often than not completely straight-forward. In football, this may have to be achieved through computer chips and so forth, but the comparison with cricket is apt: it's a relatively uncomplex matter of objective judgement, with a single angle camera (or similar). To use video evidence in football for anything other than this would be a complete disaster, and cricket has learnt from the referral trials that it really needs to better think through the practical application of this sort of thing if it wants to avoid the general scenes of rancour and farce that took place on occasion, gumming up a day's play with all manner of tarradiddle.
posted by hydatius at 6:08 AM on June 30, 2010


DieHipsterDie:

The keeper wasn't even in front of Tevez. No one was in front of Tevez, from either team.
posted by syzygy at 6:08 AM on June 30, 2010


but Tevez heads it. When the ball leaves Messi's foot (crucial) Tevez is standing with no players between him and the goal, he is offside.

Yep. Tevez gained an advantage by being in an offside position.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 6:09 AM on June 30, 2010


syzygy: Yes. Can't watch it here at work and was trying to recall it in my still waking mind.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 6:09 AM on June 30, 2010


One of the good things about football is that you can play exactly the same game, with the same rules, the same equipment, and the same conditions, at all levels of competition. Anyone with a suitable patch of grass can play the same game as a World Cup final.

Once you start introducing technology to it, you're putting amateurs and players in the developing world at a disadvantage: they'll be less able to afford it and less used to it.

There's always going to be an element of chance, where a bit of luck, maybe even a single lucky bounce puts the weaker team ahead. Occasional bad decisions by referees just add to that element. Better to live with it than to split the game into high-tech and low-tech versions.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:10 AM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Please stop saying "offsides".

You are right, at 0:02, he's onside. From 0:05 onwards he is clearly offside. I don't know what you mean by Tevez "has three defenders in front of him" as they are clearly all behind him. I also don't get the last part. Tevez was offside. Under the old rules, that would have made everybody else offside who was closer to the pass than he was. Under the "new" rules that would have allowed someone else to score without their goal being offside because of him. However, he can't be onside because, well, he obviously isn't.

The "new" rules say that in situations like that, someone else who wasn't offside can go ahead and score a legitimate goal even though Tevez is in an offside position. provided he wasn't actively involved in play. In other words, if he's off somewhere doing nothing, his offside status won't stop someone else from scoring.

But, if he is off on a wing (say) drawing defenders towards him, that is technically getting involved in play. Cases like that can be tricky, but most players seem to realise this and play like they were under the "old" offside rule.

Taking possession of the ball and putting it into the back of the net is clearly getting involved in play. So he was clearly offside.
posted by GeckoDundee at 6:15 AM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Villa was very much onside. And England lost because they were outplayed and outclassed in every aspect of the game.

They were, they were extremely poor. But extremely poor, outclassed football teams sometimes go on to win football matches. And the timing of the goal was crucial. Two goals in the space of two minutes to level a game after a period of pressure is the very stuff comebacks are made of. It's impossible to predict what could have happened. It's simply not fair regardless of the result or the performance.
posted by fire&wings at 6:17 AM on June 30, 2010


TheophileEscargot: Once you start introducing technology to it, you're putting amateurs and players in the developing world at a disadvantage: they'll be less able to afford it and less used to it.

I've heard this line before, but I don't think it holds water, at least in regards to chip ball technology, goal line cameras or video replay. I'd like to know exactly how adding any of these elements to football games played by professional teams in the first world would put teams in the developing world at a disadvantage.

Again, I've seen people make this claim, but I've never seen anyone justify it with actual examples.
posted by syzygy at 6:17 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe some of these refs aren't just making bad calls. Maybe they're crooked. As a neophyte, I'm curious as to what the more experienced think about this. But it seems to me that, the way refereeing currently works in soccer, refs are vulnerable to corruption.
posted by flotson at 6:23 AM on June 30, 2010


I'd also like to point out that the referees in the World Cup games already wear radio headsets that allow them to communicate amongst themselves. This is already an introduction of technology that will not be affordable for many leagues in developing countries or most amateur leagues.
posted by syzygy at 6:24 AM on June 30, 2010


I don't know what you mean by Tevez "has three defenders in front of him" as they are clearly all behind him.

At the risk of speaking for someone else, I think Explosion may have confused Messi and Tevez.
posted by Infinite Jest at 6:31 AM on June 30, 2010


At the risk of speaking for someone else, I think Explosion may have confused Messi and Tevez.

Who cares whether or not Messi was offside?
posted by GeckoDundee at 6:42 AM on June 30, 2010


Once you start introducing technology to it, you're putting amateurs and players in the developing world at a disadvantage: they'll be less able to afford it and less used to it.

110% wrong. I cite the cricket example.

If ya play in the lower grades [99.9% of us] we suck it up and accept the umpire's decision just like we did for the past 150 years. "The man in white is always right." It would be good to have video replay like the pros, but we all know this is impractical.

At a "disadvantage" coz some people are less used to it? Ludicrous.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:48 AM on June 30, 2010


Sorry if that sounds harsh, but watching regular-season soccer would really do people some good. The next time I hear somebody start going on about 'soccer has terrible officiation! The system is fundamentally broken! Let me fix it!' I'm going to puke.

As a lifelong lover of the game, I would favorite this a thousand times if I could. I think that this World Cup has been great - the level of play has generally been very even and there have been some fantastic matches, the defending has mostly been very top-notch, there have been few disciplinary problems. Only one of the first eight knock-out matches went to penalties. There have only been one or two real blowouts, and even those teams that were blown out have shown that they can trouble other sides for some or a lot of a match, even when the other side is one of the best in the world. There have been a few great individual performances and several great performances by teams which are really fantastic at playing together and off of each other, and who I think that we should all be excited to see as we move forward - notably Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Argentina and of course Brazil.

Americans seem to have a real problem with certain kinds of unfairness in sport. There has been relatively little complaining in the English press about the officiating in England's final performance. It was obviously a clear goal, one that really should have been spotted using traditional, vision-based goal line technology. But the press and the public and all the England fans I spoke with recognize that England were severely out-classed, and that it wouldn't have mattered if that goal was given. The American reaction to clear unfairness in sport always seems to be to try to "fix" it with technology and rules changes. The game and the sport and the officiating are as fallible as the players and the fans are. To introduce technology to address this fallibility should only be acceptable if it can be done without interrupting the flow of the game. I think that we're there on goal line technology, but probably not on offside and certainly not anywhere near on fouls, even for spot kicks.

It's always struck me that football is a massive social equalizer - can you think of anything else that can unify a nation as diverse as Brazil? Football is an inherently human sport, and perhaps no call in sport is harder to make than offside. The speed and spread of the players and the changes in direction and intention make it very hard, especially considering that the official has to look at two things at once. My personal belief is that we may finally see goal line technology, perhaps first at the domestic levels (in particular, West Ham would probably have gone down if another disputed goal involving Carlos Tevez was given).

But if we don't, it doesn't make the game any less beautiful. And, no offense, but if the only time that one watches football is when the World Cup rolls around, then your opinion is not valid or needed. Nor is the opinion of any American sports journalist or politician who doesn't live and breathe the sport at all useful. Every time some douchebag points out that he would like it if we got rid of ties, or maybe just lets have a challenge flag, or can't we get rid of this silly offside rule, I just know that he has never really loved football and that what he says will never matter and will never change the minds of those who do.
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 7:03 AM on June 30, 2010 [11 favorites]


If FIFA really cared about keeping the game exactly the same at all levels they wouldn't be using a "Jabulani" ball in the World Cup.
posted by L. Ron McKenzie at 7:03 AM on June 30, 2010


Who cares whether or not Messi was offside?

It would matter, if one mistakenly thought that Messi was the player closer to the goal. I'm speculating that Explosion has made this mistake - after all, he says Tevez has 3 players goal-side of him. Tevez clearly doesn't, but Messi does. That might explain why Explosion's post appears confusing (and note that Explosion doesn't appear sure about who's who, placing question marks after the players' names).

/enough beanplating? ;-)
posted by Infinite Jest at 7:06 AM on June 30, 2010


Why do they have offsides? Apparently it began that way when rugby players originally wrote the rules. I always assumed it evolved from experience.
posted by Brian B. at 7:11 AM on June 30, 2010


Once you start introducing technology to it, you're putting amateurs and players in the developing world at a disadvantage: they'll be less able to afford it and less used to it.

The same disadvantage as not having Wembley Stadium to play in at 10 years old either. It's the way it goes and I guess you get used to it.

Most players from developing nations who are good enough to go on to play at a World Cup Finals with it's related technology will already be out of that nation and under the protection of a football club by the age of 8-10. They develop at rich football clubs and are taught everything about the game at the top level, they aren't plucked from the wilderness and introduced to an alien, technologically confusing environment.

The effect of hawk-eye or chip ball technology on the development of a player or the quality of a game of football would be negligible anyhow. They are really only required to decide very close calls when the stakes are exceptionally high.
posted by fire&wings at 7:13 AM on June 30, 2010


syzygy:

I think replays and cameras would have an effect on how a defender tackles: a high-tech player could go in more aggressively if he knows the replay will show he was going for the ball, while the low-tech player would worry more about a penalty.

I'm not sure the chipped ball would fly exactly the same way.

Plus all this equipment costs money. At a given ground, the richer fans are going to want the latest technology, that gives the officials an incentive to raise the ticket prices to pay for it. he world has plenty of sports for rich people already: there's no need to shove expensive gadgetry into this one.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:22 AM on June 30, 2010


Once you start introducing technology to it, you're putting amateurs and players in the developing world at a disadvantage: they'll be less able to afford it and less used to it.


ahhhh ... hmmmm there's TVs and computers in Nigeria, Ghana, Brasil, Argentina, Jamaica, etc etc.
posted by liza at 7:25 AM on June 30, 2010


I have to admit that this instant-replay footage of the Germany-England game reveals details about the gameplay that the referee seems to have missed. For one thing, England goalkeeper Joe Hart seems to have been wearing a hat that was very much nonstandard.
posted by koeselitz at 7:30 AM on June 30, 2010




One of the good things about football is that you can play exactly the same game, with the same rules, the same equipment, and the same conditions, at all levels of competition. Anyone with a suitable patch of grass can play the same game as a World Cup final.

Once you start introducing technology to it, you're putting amateurs and players in the developing world at a disadvantage: they'll be less able to afford it and less used to it.


Here's a picture of a Premier League Ref using technology (apologies for linking to the Daily Mail).

Further, a couple of years back they put monitors in the dugouts at PL games... it meant the managers could almost instantly see bad calls. To fix this problem the monitors were removed. Why having a fifth official monitoring them instead is different from the two extra officials used in the Europa Cup last season I don't know, at the lower levels sometimes they're hard-pressed to find a ref, never mind five further officials.

The lower levels can't do it argument just doesn't hold up really.
posted by Auz at 7:41 AM on June 30, 2010


At the risk of speaking for someone else, I think Explosion may have confused Messi and Tevez.

I did, and what people are saying was a pass and a header (Can't see now, FIFA pulled the video) I mistook for just a shot on goal. Football moves fast and Youtube videos are small.

If I'd properly seen it as a header, it'd be clearly offside, but if the ref saw it as I did, then I can understand why it wasn't called offside.
posted by explosion at 7:41 AM on June 30, 2010


Findley (US) and Klose (Germany) were both rooked out of games on bogus fouls

In Findley's case, it's a feature not a bug.
posted by inigo2 at 7:41 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I assume offside rules are to prevent a team from just planting some beast at the opposite goal and leaving him there all day. Though that's just a guess.

I was also wondering (and may have been answered above) is where they make the offside measurement. Or when, rather. I can see the argument that Tevez was no longer active in the play after the keeper hits it, is not in the play (although benignly offside, one might say?) after Messi picks it up, then Messi makes a shot on goal -not a pass- the defenders rush back to defend and by the time Tevez involves himself in Messi's shot (not pass) he is no longer offside, therefore the goal should count. This would seem to demand a subjective judgment form the official on whether or not Messi shot at the goal or passed the ball. And in the case of a pass --as someone noted above-- do they judge offside from relative positions when the ball leaves the passer's foot?

I have to say that the tennis replay technology re: ball/line positioning is awesome and I wonder why something like that tech couldn't be used for goal-line officiating.
posted by umberto at 7:47 AM on June 30, 2010


...I just know that he has never really loved football and that what he says will never matter and will never change the minds of those who do.
posted by iknowizbirfmark


Strongly agree. And if many Americans still can't see this, or think that if you don't want technology then you must be siding with Mafia and corruption, consider:
Perhaps, its time to replace [baseball] home plate umpires with technology
posted by vacapinta at 7:48 AM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Please stop saying "offsides"

Oh please yes. Where the hell did this "offsides" bollocks come from?
posted by i_cola at 8:01 AM on June 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


umberto: for a pass, they judge from the moment Messi kicked the ball, not when Tevez received it. In this case, even though Messi was probably shooting, it became a pass when Tevez touched it.

If Messi had kicked the ball into the net without Tevez touching it, then:

1. Old rules: Tevez was offside when Messi kicked the ball. Offside, no goal.
2. New rules: was Tevez active/interfering with play? If not, then the goal stands. If Tevez had been over by the corner flag, then he clearly wouldn't be active. As it was, he was close enough to touch the ball. So I think even if he hadn't touched the ball, he should have been given offside. (But there would be a huge argument about this, whatever the ref decided).
posted by Infinite Jest at 8:03 AM on June 30, 2010


Thank you, IJ.

And I say replace all umpires everywhere with technology wherever possible. It's always claimed that that would take out the 'human element'. But it appears to me the 'the human element' is merely a polite euphemism for 'fucking up.' Laser surgery, rocketry, hydraulic damn controls, nuclear reactor scramble shutdowns - all things that we can depend on technology to control. Somehow, we can't replace a fat, 50-year-old, mess of ego and grudges that comprises your basic baseball official. The moving strike zone is a part of baseball, say traditionalists. Yes, and frequent crashes were a feature of early air travel. But fortunately, as we figured out how to do things better, instead of mooning over the loss of the great tradition of hideous multiple deaths by jet fuel explosion, we just improved the way we did things.

We didn't do it that way in past? We hardly do anything the way we did in the past.
posted by umberto at 8:07 AM on June 30, 2010


I don't think anyone was advocating for removing all the refs and replacing them with robots.

Somebody please explain to me without all the misty-eyed "beautiful game" gibberish how it is a bad thing to add technology that would allow instant analysis as to whether or not the damned ball was in the goal or not?

The England/Germany game is a perfect example. It would have taken 5 seconds to get that affirmed as a goal via video replay. (Which is, incidentally, about one quarter of the time the goalie spends sauntering back to get a ball for a goal kick, tossing it down on the grass, looking up field with disgust at having nobody to kick to, waving his hand as if to say "everyone move to the right" and then kicking the ball.) And if you put a chip in the ball, it's instantaneous.
posted by papercake at 8:08 AM on June 30, 2010


Where the hell did this "offsides" bollocks come from?

It sounds more natural.
posted by smackfu at 8:08 AM on June 30, 2010


I so proud of myself for not bitching about people saying "offsides". But now everyone else has started, I feel compelled to join in.

I also dislike the words "goaltender" and "defenceman" which I have heard during the world cup. "Keeper" and "defender" are the norm here. But I'm quite prepared to admit that this might be a regional thing :).


But then some people say "burglarized" when the word "burgled" exists. There's no accounting for taste.
posted by iso_bars at 8:10 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Damn. I was so proud of myself. Lesson: never comment on language.
posted by iso_bars at 8:11 AM on June 30, 2010


I've read everything in this thread, and I still don't understand offside rules. In any sport. I mean, I can understand calling it if someone is on the wrong side of the line of scrimmage at the start of play. But this whole "you can't be in front of the ball" thing sounds unnecessarily complicated. "You can't stand there!" It reminds me of Eddie Izzard's bit about British Colonialism. "You can't claim this land, we live here!" "But do you have a flag?" Umm... obviously I can stand there. I can stand wherever I feel like, except inside whatever protected region belongs to the goalie. But constantly having to watch where the other guys are, in case one of them steps back and then is like, "You're in front of me! I'm telling!" sounds like BS.

In other words, some rules make sense (out of bounds - the line's right there! You can see it!) (not using your hands - it's the whole premise of the game), some are iffy, but make a certain amount of sense (basketball would SUUUUCK without the shot clock... just look at baseball), and some are just magical fairy dust that someone picking the game up in the street could never hope to guess or even understand (first time I played pick-up (American) football (against my will) I caught a pass. Never having seen or played a game before, I passed the ball to another of my teammates. "Noooo! Only the quarterback can pass!" "WTF, is this chess? Where only certain pieces can do certain moves? I have hands, I'm gonna throw the damn ball. Don't like it? INTERCEPT IT, BITCHES.")

Also, what the fuck is "icing"? I can hit the puck wherever I want! If you don't like it, stop the damn puck!
posted by Eideteker at 8:16 AM on June 30, 2010


Excuse me, I forgot to add "bitches" at the end there. Sincerest regrets.
posted by Eideteker at 8:16 AM on June 30, 2010


"Where the hell did this 'offsides' bollocks come from?"

It's easier to say than "offs-side".
posted by Eideteker at 8:18 AM on June 30, 2010


The adjective is "offside" not "offsides" you 0xBEEF 0xFACE.
posted by w0mbat at 8:20 AM on June 30, 2010


It's a lot worse to have bad refereeing in a single elimination tournament though.


Certainly - just ask Didier Drogba what he thought of Chelsea's elimination (NSFW?) from the Champions League in their semi-final tie against Barcelona in 2009. (Although CL semifinals are over two legs.) That's just one particularly egregious example. But bad officiating has never been unique to the World Cup.

For one thing, England goalkeeper Joe Hart seems to have been wearing a hat that was very much nonstandard.

That's David James, actually. Bit of a pity Joe Hart didn't play, but if he keeps going like how he did we'll be seeing him in England colours again.

I wouldn't mind technology, but leave it for (as Jakey and Hydatius said) objective instances (i.e. contentious goals) rather than places where human judgement would be quicker. Removing the quick free-kick would be a big loss for the game.
posted by WalterMitty at 8:20 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Where the hell did this "offsides" bollocks come from?

"Offsides" is one of the most common penalties in (American) football-- it's when a player lines up in or violates the "neutral zone" on the line of scrimmage prior to the start of a play.
posted by norm at 8:24 AM on June 30, 2010


Do you know the real reason why FIFA insists on using humans for just about every decision on the pitch? It means that fans and haters alike can discuss it later and have things to yell at each other about. Removing the crap refs and the questionable calls and replacing them with unquestionable technology-based decisions would, to Blatter and his Luddite sycophants, make the game less interesting to the fans. Less interest means less money. Less money means Blatter has less cause to feel all self-important all the damned time.
posted by WalterMitty at 8:24 AM on June 30, 2010


A quick addition to the "offsides" / "offside" controversy. In German, it's called "Abseits", which sounds tantalizingly close to "offsides." Since most of the football commentary I read or listen to is in German, and because of the "offsides" rule in American Football, I often slip up and refer to "offsides" when I'm talking about Football (aka soccer).
posted by syzygy at 8:28 AM on June 30, 2010


My anti-soccer pal --who, naturally, has never watched a game; at least not with me-- makes a similar claim: he says they won't remove anything that dampens controversy because that is the only interesting aspect of the game.

He also maintains the NBA finals are more scripted than professional wrestling, but I can't work myself up enough about that to give a damn.
posted by umberto at 8:31 AM on June 30, 2010


he says they won't remove anything that dampens controversy because that is the only interesting aspect of the game.

Welllllll I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's the only interesting aspect of the game.

In fact I would violently disagree and say that if he thinks that controversies are the only interesting part of the beautiful game then he's a philistine and a boor and so on.

But I'm a fan and fans aren't known for objective viewpoints.
posted by WalterMitty at 8:42 AM on June 30, 2010


I've realised over the years that there are a) sports fans and then there are b) people who like a few sports. (we'll ignore c) occasionals, d) don't cares & e) misc. for the time being).

A lot of folks in b) consider themselves in a) but then give the game away when they commit one of the cardinal sports fan sins: obvious lack of knowledge.

If I'm talking about the NBA then I'll refer to offense, defense*, flopping & fouls on the player who committed the foul. If I'm talking about footie (soccer) then it's the likes of attack, defence, diving & fouls committed by the offender on the victim.

If you're going to talk with fellow fans about a sport, to be taken seriously you'll at least need to attempt to learn the basic terminology otherwise your whole point is shit because you sound like you have no idea what you're talking about. And to continue this when you know you're wrong just makes you sound like an 8-year-old.

I've only been following the NBA seriously for a few years and so I'm no expert but I've made damn sure I know the what the basic elements of the game are out of simple respect for the game and the fans who have been involved for a lifetime.

Another thing that separates the a's & b's is a basic understanding of sports as a whole. a's might have preferences and even sports they can't stand but they will understand why they operate and how they appeal differently.

b's will bitch on about how blah-blah sport is terrible because they are either so used to a few other sports and can't make the leap in knowledge & comprehension about others. Again, many b's will think they are a's but this is another giveaway.

You don't needs to be a stats & facts junkie to be an a either. You need to be able to watch a sport and understand what is going on a basic and emotional level and just why you might want to keep watching.

I laugh at you dilettantes. You're worse than not having a clue...you don't even want one.

* I once got ragged on for using the UK spelling on a Knicks forum, even though people know I'm from the UK. Sometimes you just can't win...
posted by i_cola at 8:45 AM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


umberto: then Messi makes a shot on goal -not a pass- the defenders rush back to defend and by the time Tevez involves himself in Messi's shot (not pass) he is no longer offside

I think this is something which can confuse people. It doesn't matter if it's a shot or a pass - if it did, it's easy to imagine players hitting lots more loopy 'shots' in the hope of finding a teammate - the point is which player plays the ball, which player receives it, and where they are standing at the time. This is also another reason it's so hard for officials, as when a player is clearly lining up to shoot it's easy to take your eye off their teammates.

(Have only refereed / linesmanned in non-serious games, and even then: it's really difficult.)
posted by smcg at 8:46 AM on June 30, 2010


smcg: Thanks. I agree: this seems really hard. It sort of makes intent retroactive, so I guess the official has to sort of keep a few seconds delay in his head so he'll be able to recall where people were should someone involve themselves and create a pass situation. Maybe that becomes instinctual, but it seems like an insanely difficult thing to do on the face of it.
posted by umberto at 8:58 AM on June 30, 2010


I'm sorry if my comment above comes off as being overly harsh.

One thing that pissed me off about the aftermath to England's loss t'other day was that everybody missed the England cricket team's series win over the Aussies. I'm getting slightly ticked off with people who live for one sport and it's probably more of an issue here in the UK with footie/soccer than it is in the US.

[Currently on a break between innings in the England v Australia one dayer which is filling the void of two days of no World Cup fixtures whilst hoping I can get to sleep tonight so as to be able to wake up to the NBA free agency frenzy tomorrow. Also miffed that the email from Olympics 2012 ticketing this morning wasn't actually about Olympics tickets]
posted by i_cola at 8:59 AM on June 30, 2010


i_cola: If you're going to talk with fellow fans about a sport, to be taken seriously you'll at least need to attempt to learn the basic terminology otherwise your whole point is shit because you sound like you have no idea what you're talking about. And to continue this when you know you're wrong just makes you sound like an 8-year-old.

So there's no room for regional differences in sports vocabulary?

What about someone like me? English is my first language. I only became interested in Football after I moved to Austria 10 years ago. Most of my Football vocabulary is German (Schwalbe, abseits, elf Meter, Standardsituation, Abstoss, Eckball, Fußball, Stürmer, Abwehr, Torschützen, Strafraum, etc.) - I simply haven't been around enough English-speakers who are also Football aficionados to develop the correct English vocabulary.

Can I join in on the discussion, too?
posted by syzygy at 9:03 AM on June 30, 2010


As a hockey fan, I don't understand the position that says instant replay will solve everything. In hockey, even with the aid of slow motion and instant replay from all angles, we can still get the wrong call on review. It happens. The break in play can be excruciatingly long at times and affect or change the pace and momentum of a game. What's even more, when the crowd and cameras notice a penalty that doesn't get called, or a bad or wrongly called penalty, the refs will sometimes try to even things out by penalizing the other team with something questionable or borderline later on. This is in a game where officiating is aided by impartial video review judges at the league headquarters.

I'm not denying the particular examples cited in this FPP would have been caught on review (or even by someone paying attention), they were bad calls. But video review isn't the cure-all some people make it out to be.
posted by Kirk Grim at 9:08 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


i_cola — I seem to have missed in your condescending rant the part where you explain how being a casual fan combined with finding the lack of interest in actually getting the fact of whether a goal was scored or not makes me reprehensible?

I'm sorry that I don't bleed your favorite sport. I never thought I'd be subjected to people worse than Baseball purists, but you guys take the cake. Or don't you? It's hard to say. The refs didn't catch it. So maybe there was a cake, or maybe there wasn't. Oh well. Who cares!?
posted by papercake at 9:09 AM on June 30, 2010


*"...getting the fact or whether a goal was scored on not correct..."
posted by papercake at 9:11 AM on June 30, 2010


It's already been linked in this thread, but Jonathan Wilson explains the history and the subtlety of the current offside rule and what it accomplishes for the game.

As far as the ball is concerned, the flight has been unpredictable. I can't believe I'm defending John Terry (hangs head in shame), but the German goal kick on the first goal had quite a flat arc relative to many goal kicks and I can well believe that the flight deceived him. It does fly like a beach ball sometimes because it's *too* smooth. ESPN had a piece on the physics of the ball that addressed this issue.

While there has been some pretty terrible faking during this world cup, those who complain about players rolling in agony and/or falling easily have probably never had their knee or ankle kicked hard while running at full speed. It can be incredibly painful.
posted by idb at 9:16 AM on June 30, 2010


I have an client based in the US who has been asking me about the World Cup and how it works. I'm no football fan, but being English do know more about it than she does. So, over the past few days I've been explaining how the group stages work and how things change in the knockout stage.

We do this mainly through skype chat and the other day she wanted to thank me for my explications and to wish England good luck for the game against Germany. How did she do this? By using some of the lingo she'd picked up by watching the games on TV:

"Go Emirates!"
posted by jontyjago at 9:23 AM on June 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Soccer has tons of natural breaks. It takes around 30 seconds to restart after every goal, for starters. You could watch a replay ten times and not hold up play."

Video judging in hockey, used only for goals, always takes longer than 30 seconds. Mostly because by design it's only broken out when there is controversy.

"So the stupid amateur run 5K races that I run on weekends seem to have the technology to tell when my right New Balance crosses the finish line. Hell, when I ran a 1/2 marathon, the system automatically sent out Tweets with my time and pace as I crossed each check point. You'd think that an organization as big as FIFI could figure out when the ball crosses the goal. This is not a hard problem."

What is the resolution of that system? Is the resolution, including the uncertainty, within a half ball diameter? In not it's useless.

"In other words, some rules make sense (out of bounds - the line's right there! You can see it!) (not using your hands - it's the whole premise of the game), some are iffy, but make a certain amount of sense (basketball would SUUUUCK without the shot clock... just look at baseball), and some are just magical fairy dust that someone picking the game up in the street could never hope to guess or even understand (first time I played pick-up (American) football (against my will) I caught a pass. Never having seen or played a game before, I passed the ball to another of my teammates. 'Noooo! Only the quarterback can pass!' 'WTF, is this chess? Where only certain pieces can do certain moves? I have hands, I'm gonna throw the damn ball. Don't like it? INTERCEPT IT, BITCHES.') "Also, what the fuck is 'icing'? I can hit the puck wherever I want! If you don't like it, stop the damn puck!"

At the risk of being trolled; without the icing rule hockey becomes tennis on ice. That may be enjoyable to watch but it ain't hockey.
posted by Mitheral at 9:38 AM on June 30, 2010


> While there has been some pretty terrible faking during this world cup, those who complain about players rolling in agony and/or falling easily have probably never had their knee or ankle kicked hard while running at full speed.

Personally, I'm not as bothered by the rolling around in agony (there have been a few times during the WC where I assumed the player was faking until I watched the replay) as I am the guys who hop up, fit as a whistle and with nary a limp, after the red/yellow card has been handed out to the opposing player.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:39 AM on June 30, 2010


One thing people seem to be missing is that there is a "third path" between just entrusting everything to the whims of the referee without any recourse at all, and American-football-style instant video replays that stop the flow of the game.

You can use technical aids in order to train referees so that they get better at doing their jobs. This is how MLB's Zone Evaluation system for home-plate umpires works. It doesn't affect game play directly -- the umpire still has the final say as to whether a particular pitch was a ball or a strike -- but it lets them (and their supervisors) get feedback after the fact as to whether those calls were probably correct as defined by the MLB rules. If a particular umpire has a tendency to miss-call a particular type of pitch, then they can be made aware of it. It's not aimed at reversing single calls, but at providing feedback and improving the process. There's been some complaining among the umpires about it, but nothing too severe.

There are also some efforts being made in baseball to introduce video replays for contentious calls on the field, but perhaps not as applicable to soccer.

Assuming that the FIFA officials aren't simply corrupt, I can't see any reason why they'd be against systems that passively gather data and allow it to be used to improve future officiating. They must realize that obviously blown calls are corrosive to the sport; perhaps not as corrosive as stopping for instant replays every minute or two would be, but it still detracts from the game and in fans' belief that it's a fair contest. But if you can improve the game without changing the mechanics or flow of on-field play, that would seem to be an unmitigated good.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:42 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think futbol is a higly conservative game. It was after all invented in England, home of the slowly evolving laws and regulations, so I doubt we will see anything like instant replay anytime soon. Yellow and red cards were only introduced in the World Cup in the 70s; and less than 20 years ago the referee didn't even signal publicly how long extra time was going to last (you just waited in suspense).

Frankly, why mess with success? Sports in general are a luddite business, and one of the main argument for futbol's popularity is how cheap and simple it is to play.

I'm mexican btw, so I have a bit of a dog in this discussion, although that offside goal didn't bother me as much as the England flub.
posted by Omon Ra at 9:58 AM on June 30, 2010


["Anyways, he was offsides."]



Let's hope nothing happens at all.

This is not the NFL. The FiFA entity is not played in one country in only 30 stadiums with virtually uniform facilities and technology.

Keep the human element in soccer. Trying to perfect things (the "we can do it better" attitude that always winds up making it worse in the long run) will ruin this sport, too.
posted by L'OM at 10:40 AM on June 30, 2010


"Offsides" is one of the most common penalties in (American) football-- it's when a player lines up in or violates the "neutral zone" on the line of scrimmage prior to the start of a play.

because of the "offsides" rule in American Football


For the record, even in NFL football the term is offside.
posted by gompa at 10:44 AM on June 30, 2010


I like the ball. It's easier to handle at your foot and allows more control in shooting or long balls. It is harder to chip, though. I'm not sure what valdesm's video near the top is meant to show. I don't know what those guys are saying, but any hard ball without spin is going to dip like that. The dimples might even be mitigating that, which i wouldn't like if it were true.

I'm not sponsored by Adidas, though if you're reading...
posted by cmoj at 10:44 AM on June 30, 2010


Yeah, I'm American, too. America played the first half of that game terribly, and Slovenia excelled. A tie was to be expected, frankly, and while the call wasn't on, I don't think it's fair to say that the US won any kind of decisive victory there.

Just to come back to this for a second: If the third US goal had stood, then the group standings would have been

USA 4 (+1 GD)
Slovenia 3 (+1 GD)
England 2 (0 GD)
Algeria 1 (-1 GD)

So the US would have only needed to draw with Algeria to go through. That would have meant no last minute heroics by Donovan, but it also would have given the US an easier game.

As for Tevez, I have no idea how anyone could say he wasn't onsides. The offside rule as it currently stands is clearer than it ever has been, and he was playing the ball a full body length behind the penultimate defender.

I talked about video review in another thread and mentioned what it has looked like in other sport. I don't think a simple challenge system would be all that hard or would stop the game all that much. Each team only gets one challenge, the reasons for the challenge must be limited (did the ball cross the ling? Was the player offsides? Did the player use his hand to control the ball?), and there must be a clear outcome for the challenge with a penalty of some sort for losing the challenge (e.g. opposing team gets a free kick from midfield). And there must be a time limit of no more than 2 minutes which is then added on to the end of the half.

The problems with American sports challenge systems usually come down to too many challenges (NFL you get two + one if any of the previous challenges are successful), challenges taking too long to adjudicate (college football having ones that run to 10 minutes), and the system itself being too complex (with MLB the replay official is in New York). Keeping it simple and short is crucial to having it work in football.

Someone complained it will price amateurs out; in American football only pro and college football have replay, while all lower divisions don't. It's not pricing any amateurs out. Ditto baseball, when it's only at the MLB level, and hockey, where I believe it's still just NHL and not the minors.
posted by dw at 10:50 AM on June 30, 2010


Oh, and the ball: People are always complaining about the ball. What needs to happen is Adidas needs to introduce the ball two years before in pro leagues and let the players give them feedback. Either that, or FIFA needs to get out of the pocket of Adidas and establish some actual standards for the ball, just like every other pro league in the world has for their equipment.
posted by dw at 10:53 AM on June 30, 2010


Let's hope nothing happens at all.

This is not the NFL. The FiFA entity is not played in one country in only 30 stadiums with virtually uniform facilities and technology.

Keep the human element in soccer. Trying to perfect things (the "we can do it better" attitude that always winds up making it worse in the long run) will ruin this sport, too.


Such nonsense. Practical, intelligent use of technology can improve the sport. (Putting mics on the refs, for instance.)

At the very very least, FIFA should be adding refs to the field.
posted by papercake at 10:54 AM on June 30, 2010


As for Tevez, I have no idea how anyone could say he wasn't onsides. The offside rule as it currently stands is clearer than it ever has been, and he was playing the ball a full body length behind the penultimate defender.

It's obviously not clear enough, though. Offside is determined at the moment the forward pass is made. When Messi takes his shot, Tevez is clearly offside. By the time the ball arrives at him he appears to be onside, but he's not, because offside is not determined at the time you receive the ball.
posted by Jakey at 11:16 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


For the record, even in NFL football the term is offside.

What you fail to understand is that I'm from Oklahoma.

Seriously? I had no idea! Go figure.
posted by norm at 11:19 AM on June 30, 2010


It's obviously not clear enough, though.

Mea culpa. What I meant to say was "how anyone could say he WAS onsides." I want my edit button, damnit.
posted by dw at 11:21 AM on June 30, 2010


I'm sorry if my comment above comes off as being overly harsh.

No sweat. I think it's important to try to respect a sport, and enjoy it on its own terms, and personally that's what I try to do. The B fan is trying to get a working knowledge of the game, and along the way will get caught out in his ignorance and take some deserved ribbing. That just comes with the territory of being a noob, even a late-stage noob. Though of course a little returned abuse is still fair play.

There's a point however, where your type A fan is not really about enjoying a sport or trying to spread enjoyment of a sport, but is taking on the aspect of a mere wanker. He's like that one asswipe in IT who thinks the company's computers exist solely for him, and he seems to actually relish dwelling on the smallest mistakes of the lusers he interacts with, and clearly attaches some kind of character judgement as well.

And the pissiest little play in that book to pretend to be unable to understand a perfectly intelligible statement. The type B fan should try not to be a noob, but the type A fan should try not to be a wanker.

So, w/r/t branding people who say "offsides" as know-nothings, I hope you understand what I mean when I shorten all this and respond to that sort of thing with some form of: "go fuck yourself."
posted by fleacircus at 12:07 PM on June 30, 2010


Sorry to harp on the replay thing, but something else occurred to me--in American football, how often does this happen? You're watching a game, and the refs throw out their orange hankies in the middle of the action. The TV announcers start talking over the slow-mo replay while waiting for the call. They're speculating, one of them sees a facemask in the replay, maybe another sees a hold or a false start. Then the call is made and it's something else entirely.

As a Browns fan, I'd say this happens more often than touchdowns.
posted by Kirk Grim at 12:33 PM on June 30, 2010


"Offsides" is fine. If you're referring to more than one violation of the offside rule. As in several instances of players being offside. "Onsides" has no application (and comes up as a misspelling in Firefox).
posted by Dysk at 12:41 PM on June 30, 2010


I, an lifetime American football fan, have only just learned that penalty in that game is also "offside" rather than "offsides".
posted by Carbolic at 2:47 PM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


In 2006 the ball debate was just as heated, only then it was the keepers who were complaining they couldn't catch it.
And the ref debate? Same as it ever was.
Good memory is not the casual quartennial World Cup watcher's most prominent trait.
posted by mr.marx at 3:39 PM on June 30, 2010


And the ref debate? Same as it ever was.

There have been some bad decisions in this tournament, obviously. Nonetheless, call me when one game features 16 yellow cards and 4 red cards, or when someone hands out three yellow cards to a player before sending them off and then blows the final whistle as the ball is hurtling into the back of the net. There are bad decisions and then there's bad refereeing, and they're not always the same thing.
posted by Errant at 3:51 PM on June 30, 2010


Exactly.
posted by mr.marx at 4:00 PM on June 30, 2010


the "we can do it better" attitude that always winds up making it worse in the long run

That's what they said about the Industrial Revolution. But seriously, there actually have been improvements in football which have been for the better - for instance, the changes in the substitutions rule (first not allowed, then allowed only once and only for injured players, then allowed more than once and for tactical reasons) has been progressive and good. Maybe a player from the 18th century might grumble, "Back in my day we'd play until we kicked each other to bits! None of your pussyfooting about with injuries and coming off and putting new people on! We'd continue playing even if nothing was left of us but a boot!" But I'd disagree (respectfully) with him.
posted by WalterMitty at 4:31 PM on June 30, 2010


Americans seem to have a real problem with certain kinds of unfairness in sport. There has been relatively little complaining in the English press about the officiating in England's final performance.

This is a strange statement to me, as I've seen plenty of complaint about that call in the English press. It is, of course, drowned out by the intense criticism of the English squad and Capello, but it's not as if Lampard's goal that should have been was ignored. It would have been a huge, huge issue in the English press if the final score had been 2-1, Germany. I've seen it said a few times, both here and on other sites, that Americans are somehow unique in complaining about big missed calls. It's a strange thing to assert; certainly you can see many papers in the US talking about the disallowed goals in the group stages, but there's nothing uniquely American about this. Complaining about calls has no specific nationality or club fans attached. Off the top of my head, I can think of many high profile bad officiating decisions that get dicussed repeatedly and have nothing to do with the US: 1) hand of god; 2) Thierry Henry's handball goal that knocked out Ireland last year; 3) Chelsea v Barca CL semifinal (linked above) in 2008 and the alleged missed penalty calls. If I were to wrack my brain a bit more, or do some research, I could find many situations of wrongly disallowed goals or dives or whatever throughout the recent EPL/Seria A/La Liga campaigns that fans felt aggrieved over. That's not to mention anything that happened this current World Cup. So yes, fans will complain/discuss/debate calls, but there's nothing uniquely American about it.

As for the Tevez call, it's clear that when Messi kicked the ball, Tevez is in an offside position. So my assumption is that the assistant thought either the ball went straight in, without touching Tevez, or that Messi's shot went in off a defender. By the time Tevez headed the ball, he had defenders on either side of him so it's not hard to imagine the officials's views were impeded.

Goal line technology would have only had an affect on Lampard's 'goal,' not on offside or any of the diving issues. My opinion is that extra eyes right at the goal on either end would help, as well as retrospective suspensions for diving.
posted by JenMarie at 5:00 PM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not a huge soccer fan, but I do wonder whether this is an issue now because it's the first World Cup where everyone's watching on High-Definition TVs with high-speed-camera replays.

I know I'm a lot less forgiving when it's at least 500 pixels into the goal line, instead of some standard-definition fuzzy circle possibly on a barely-noticeable line.
posted by amuseDetachment at 6:13 PM on June 30, 2010


amuseDetachment, as someone with an analogue television set who has been watching the World Cup, let me assure you that I am not convinced by your theory...
posted by Dysk at 7:09 PM on June 30, 2010


...I've seen it said a few times, both here and on other sites, that Americans are somehow unique in complaining about big missed calls.
posted by JenMarie

You're missing my point. Complaining and carping about it is one thing. There is plenty of that all around, but most of the English press has primarily been going on about how much England sucked. The populace there recognizes that their team sucked so much that there was no way that game was ending 2-2 or 2-1. What seems uniquely American is making a big deal out of things that don't ultimately have an effect on the outcomes, and proposing that the game be changed in significant ways to address these issues. The English press has done very little of that. What I said was "Americans seem to have a real problem with certain kinds of unfairness in sport." I should have made it more clear that my issue is that we want to "fix" this unfairness by changing the game in absurd ways (like all the complaints in the US in the 1990s about how low-scoring football is and how the goal should be widened.) We, as a country, have a cultural belief that, even if everything isn't fair or balanced in life or in general, it should be in sport, and if there is any occurrence that shows that sport is not totally fair, or if there is any way in which the American sports consumer is not catered-to or placated, we should have an appeals process or technology to prevent it, or change the rules, or something like that.

Goal line technology is easy and simple, it can be done without much additional technology beyond a couple well-placed cameras. It should be introduced. The call would be quick - it should be able to be made in the next 5 - 10 seconds after a possible goal in the run of play. There aren't a lot of other easy ways to incorporate technology without really changing the flow of the game. There is enough stoppage and delay already with substitutions and injuries.

From what I can tell from the press (and I only read German press and English language press, primarily US and UK), it is a uniquely American phenomenon where someone writes an article with a tone of "I don't give a rat's ass about soccer, my kid plays it, and that one woman took her shirt off that one time, but it's time for me to write about it, so I am going to talk about why we need a replay to figure out this offssides call that I don't even understand because it's not like the linemen started moving before the ball was hiked, amirite?" That's my point.
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 8:13 AM on July 1, 2010


What I said was "Americans seem to have a real problem with certain kinds of unfairness in sport."

To me that should be "People who only watch the sport casually (eg. only the World Cup) have a real problem with certain kinds of unfairness in sport." It happens that there are a lot of Americans like that, but they're not the only ones. Despite your condescension in the last paragraph.
posted by inigo2 at 8:36 AM on July 1, 2010


Soccer's not the only sport that could be improved, by the way. I think Americans have a tendency to want to tinker and perfect lots of things, not just sports and certainly not just soccer. For instance, the NBA has a lot of silly rules that are either just ignored by the refs, or should/could be changed. Three second violations are rarely if ever called, and I'd like to see them either scrap the rule entirely or actually start calling it. Ten seconds to bring the ball across half court? Why? You already have the shot clock. Half court over and back violation? Why? And is there even still a five second violation for holding/dribbling the ball with a defender on you? That rule changes every five years or so. I don't think it's offensive to the spirit of the sport to question the rules that govern it, and at least ask why they are there in the first place, and what benefit/detriment they are causing.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:34 AM on July 1, 2010


Well, inigo2, I just disagree with you, based on my personal experiences.

I lived in Germany when the Chicago Bulls were running the table in the NBA, and there were plenty of people who casually watched the Finals and couldn't understand how Jordan got away with stuff that no one else did, and no one suggested steps to change it or reform the game. They accepted it was just part of the way that the game was played and has evolved (superstars getting protected, extra steps, whatever).

I have discussed with Americans and non-Americans the fact that Danica Patrick and other female (or small male drivers) have a non-trivial advantage in motorsports because they weigh less, and only Americans have suggested adding weight to the cars to standardize weights.

As for my last paragraph, check out these articles (I maybe give Kreidler a C on his article - he made some good points, but doesn't seem to appreciate that not everything about soccer is best addressed by comparisons to American sports). I don't think that my condescension was that much of an exaggeration.
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 9:40 AM on July 1, 2010


I lived in Germany when the Chicago Bulls were running the table in the NBA, and there were plenty of people who casually watched the Finals and couldn't understand how Jordan got away with stuff that no one else did, and no one suggested steps to change it or reform the game. They accepted it was just part of the way that the game was played and has evolved (superstars getting protected, extra steps, whatever).

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?? Superstar calls are the source of endless debate among basketball fans and I know many fans who hate that certain players get more calls. And the league has addressed the issue and tries to award calls fairly.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:12 AM on July 1, 2010


There is plenty of that all around, but most of the English press has primarily been going on about how much England sucked.

The Guardian is NOT the entirety of the English press. Do I need to link to the crap the Daily Mail was spewing the day after the game? The Sun?

The populace there recognizes that their team sucked so much that there was no way that game was ending 2-2 or 2-1.

You don't know that. This is something I've had to argue with people about the Fifth Down for years -- once the officials screwed up the down marker, the game split into the reality and the possibility, and the possibility was a Schrodinger's Cat, because the circumstances would have fundamentally altered the outcome. You cannot say who would have won or lost, other than saying that Colorado got a gift from the officials.

And it's the same with England-Germany. Lampard's goal counts, England doesn't press the second half. Perhaps their defense holds -- and their defense, while prone to lapses, was certainly not shoddy -- and the Germans have fewer counterattack opportunities -- which they have already shown themselves to be deadly good at. Maybe it's 2-2 after extra time. Maybe, for the first time in the history of the world, England wins on penalties. Or maybe Germany scores 10 goals in 10 minutes. You don't know. I don't know. But the goal-that-wasn't broke the game between reality and possibility, and any statement about what might happen is pure conjecture.

I have discussed with Americans and non-Americans the fact that Danica Patrick and other female (or small male drivers) have a non-trivial advantage in motorsports because they weigh less, and only Americans have suggested adding weight to the cars to standardize weights.

So the gist of your arguments is that Americans solve problems and Europeans just sit there and say "oh, well, that's a shame." So in your aim to broadbrush, stereotype, and insult Americans, you just proceeded to broadbrush, stereotype, and insult Europeans. Awesome job.

Of course, in your world we'd still be playing with the 1920s offside rule and keepers could still handle balls played back to them by their own players, because, oh dear, they impede play and make football incredibly dull? That's a shame.

Goddamn, why are you so quick to blame the Americans for a sentiment held by many, many Europeans -- that this system needs revision -- just because Americans are suggesting possible solutions? I mean, hell, Hawk-Eye is a BRITISH invention! But maybe he's just not EUROPEAN enough for you! How DARE he try to improve things!

This is stupid, weak, and pointless jibber jabber. There are clearly problems with the current system. There are clearly ways to solve the problems, some technological, some as simple as putting officials behind the goal. Suggesting there can be improvements is not some evil capitalist imperialist American idea, it's a human idea.
posted by dw at 1:24 PM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


dw: So the gist of your arguments is that Americans solve problems and Europeans just sit there and say "oh, well, that's a shame." So in your aim to broadbrush, stereotype, and insult Americans, you just proceeded to broadbrush, stereotype, and insult Europeans. Awesome job.

If that's what you took away from the Danica Patrick point, you probably aren't European. There is no problem to be solved there - Patrick's build gives her an advantage. That's a statement of fact (and one of those things/unevennesses that serves to make sports a little interesting) not a complaint. Fuck no, I'm not going to do anything about that...
posted by Dysk at 3:17 AM on July 3, 2010


« Older What about the invisible jet?   |   Moral crimes Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post