Somebody make a foul, you whistle.
March 22, 2012 3:00 PM   Subscribe

The World's Best Referee: Rob Smyth tells the story of referee Abraham Klein.
posted by hoyland (12 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
This is a feature-length piece, so you may wish to print off for the journey home or some such

Wait. A long-ish article on the web that hasn't been needlessly pagenated into at least six pieces to boost ad views? What sorcery is this?
posted by radwolf76 at 3:07 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

Definitely wish we had this kind of respect for great refs in US-centric sports like football and basketball, but they remain largely nameless, probably because there's so much scoring and action they dont have to be right 100 (or even 70%) of the time.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:30 PM on March 22, 2012

posted by Ironmouth at 3:47 PM on March 22, 2012

Great post - thank you. As a referee about a zillion grades below World Cup standards I marveled at those outstanding hawk-eyed professionals - always seeming to be in the right place at the right time and making it look so easy.
posted by speug at 4:13 PM on March 22, 2012

I love the little origin story, it's almost like a Kafka parable:
"I told him, 'I don't know the laws of the game'.

'But you've played the game?'

I told him, 'Yes I was a player, not the best but I know what is a foul.'

So he said, 'The laws of the game are very simple, it's not university. Somebody make a foul, you whistle.'

'That's all?' That's all the laws?'

'That's enough for this game.'
posted by Kattullus at 4:35 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Excellent story, thanks for posting.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:34 AM on March 23, 2012

Man, people really hate the Jews. Amazing article. I had seen it on the Guardian but hadn't been interested enough until I saw that it was posted on MeFi. Glad I got interested enough.
posted by josher71 at 5:50 AM on March 23, 2012

That was a fantastic story; thanks for posting it.
posted by languagehat at 5:52 AM on March 23, 2012

wait wait
Graham Poll's list of the 50 greatest referees of all time, a list that includes – and you'll like this – Graham Poll.

Graham Poll? The guy who can't even count to 2? Listed himself as one of the greatest referees of all time? Good god.

ok, back to reading now :)
posted by jacalata at 1:52 PM on March 23, 2012

This was a lot of fun to read, thank you.
posted by bardophile at 1:29 AM on March 27, 2012

Graham Poll? The guy who can't even count to 2? Listed himself as one of the greatest referees of all time? Good god.

I thought about mentioning that in the post, but had forgotten about it by the time I actually posted. Of course, how did he get the opportunity to count to two in a World Cup? We (yes, I call England/the FA 'we') had decided he was the best referee we had. The UEFA agreed and then FIFA. (At least, I think that's how it works. This is just vague memories of stuff about John Blankenstein being blacklisted by FIFA.)
posted by hoyland at 7:06 PM on March 27, 2012

oh, he was clearly a very good ref to ever get there, but that's the first thing I thought of when I saw his name. Not being a player, he doesn't have any equally famous 'really good' moments to balance it out either :) I'm also more than slightly horrified by anyone writing a 'best ever' list that includes themself.

The article itself was fascinating, I wonder what this guy was like as a PE teacher. High expectations I'm sure!
posted by jacalata at 9:50 PM on March 27, 2012

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