FanDuel - WFBC

June 28, 2010

FIFA Responds Quickly to Glaring Officiating Errors: After England lost a Frank Lampard goal and Argentina gained a Carlos Tevez goal Sunday due to atrocious officiating, FIFA has responded quickly to address the matter: Stadiums hosting the remainder of the World Cup will not be allowed to show instant replays. "This will be corrected," said FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot.

posted by rcade to soccer at 09:49 AM - 25 comments

There you go FIFA. Don't address the underlying problem, just look for ways to manage the fallout that ensues after one bad decision upon another.

I thought the no-call offsides on Teves was particularly galling to watch unfold. The referee conferred with an assistant along one sideline while being confronted by the Mexican players.

He then chose to give the goal to Argentina and marched onto the field consumed with the look of a very arrogant man who knows he is making the wrong call but is going to go ahead with it anyway. The body language and facial expression told it all. Despicable.

Each day that passes, the WC officiating gets another step closer to the judging at Olympic figure skating competitions.

posted by beaverboard at 10:08 AM on June 28

Head in the sand.

posted by jjzucal at 10:16 AM on June 28

I want to jump back in and give credit where due. In today's huddle, Owlhouse mentioned the improved fitness of the referees, and I would certainly agree there. They are quite fit and reasonably athletic as a rule and cover a great deal of ground during a match.

With that said, what was the nearest referee's assistant doing 20 yards up the touchline towards midfield when Tevez went offside on the given goal? That type of thing has to improve, or they have to add more people to the officiating teams.

posted by beaverboard at 10:29 AM on June 28

It drives me crazy at sporting events when they don't show replays of controversial calls. It screams of the "if we ignore it maybe it didn't happen" mentality.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 11:04 AM on June 28

My reading of the body language of the officials after the Argentina offside goal was more the assisstant saying to the ref: "I've made a complete cock of that." and the ref saying: "I know, but I can't overrule myself based on video evidence or Sepp will go mental. I have to let my decision stand."

As for FIFA's quick response - as a story, that probably sums up their priorities nicely.

posted by JJ at 11:04 AM on June 28

I'm with JJ on that confab about the Tevez goal: it was a "oh, cock" moment when the ref realised he was compelled to ignore the replay. That team's not going to do another match either way, but if had they ruled out the goal with one eye on the replay, then FIFA is going to burn down their houses and steal their children.

posted by etagloh at 11:32 AM on June 28

Beaver, according to the announcers the refs were properly positioned on the play but if that's correct then just another reason FIFA needs to add assistance, either the goal line assistants as trialled in the Europa League this year or, preferably for me, sensors embedded in the ball and ground.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:32 AM on June 28

"This will be corrected," said FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot.

Maingot is an anagram of Maginot, the name of another famously outmoded strategy. Ah, the irony...

posted by googly at 11:57 AM on June 28

"This will be corrected," said FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot.

But not this year.

posted by dbt302 at 12:18 PM on June 28

Beaver, according to the announcers the refs were properly positioned on the play

Yep - they were. The linesman isn't in perfect position, but it's good. He just totally blew the call.

You can see his legs on this screengrab.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 12:26 PM on June 28

The camera is in a worse position - closer to the halfway line and much, much further away - and we can all see it's offside, so how he missed it is beyond me. Watching a replay, he didn't even hesitate. He emphatically wafted his flag by his ankles as he turned to run back to his kick-off position, implicitly confirming for the ref that he'd seen no offside.

posted by JJ at 12:42 PM on June 28

So is FIFA officiating worse than MLB and NBA all the time or does it appear worse because this is the World Cup?

posted by irunfromclones at 12:52 PM on June 28

Two possible defenses for the assistant referee:

Attempt #1:
When I watched the Argentinian goal, I didn't think it was offside (at full speed).
That's because my brain filled in the blind spots for me.
As the ball is being kicked in that screen grab, I don't see the defenders or the offside player, as I'm too engrossed in the wham-bam play of a second earlier. Move it forward a few frames (where the ball is now over the keeper) and I'm pretty sure the Mexican defenders are now level with the Argentinian player. It's at that point I'm paying attention to the whole scene.
So for the moments before the ball got to that point, my brain has filled in the missing parts of the scene (Mexican defenders/Argentinian) incorrectly.

If the assistant referee is momentarily engaged with the first part of that play, I can understand how he missed the offside.

Attempt #2:
Initially, I didn't think the Argentinian player touched the ball before it went in the net. I thought it was Messi's goal.
If the offside player hadn't touched the ball, would it still have counted? I know he was offside, and I know that he was near the vicinity of the ball, but if the linesman thought the shot was directly in the net, could he rule that it wasn't an offside play?

Maybe that's what the assistant and the referee were discussing.

posted by grum@work at 01:07 PM on June 28

An aside:

That "offside-indicator" graphic they use in the broadcasts is awesome.

posted by grum@work at 01:08 PM on June 28

I'll second Grum's Attempt #1. I thought it was fine too and then the replay made me feel like I was watching a different game.

posted by tron7 at 01:43 PM on June 28

My reaction was to say: "He has to have been offside there... if he touched it", but I wouldn't have wanted to have been the one making the decision from the touchline in real time (about whether he touched or whether he was offside). It was only watching the replay that it looked daft.

I also like the offside indicator they use for the replays. How long before it's sponsored and covered in logos?

posted by JJ at 02:47 PM on June 28

I'm inclined towards a combination of #1 and #2. The linesman is watching Messi and/or the goal-line, given the morning's match, misses Tevez loitering, and just doesn't know if he was offside when the touch makes it relevant.

My first reaction was "that looks off"; my second was "I want to see that again."

posted by etagloh at 03:39 PM on June 28

It looks like FIFA has the ultimate solution to officiating disputes; don't let anyone see them and pretend they never happened. A sports governing body of this size and importance just has to do better. Anything they say about not using replay because not every field can be covered is pure hogwash. When the matches are important enough to determine a championship, they need some sort of replay standard. If the match is at a lower level, even though it might be in a World Cup qualifier, and the host side doesn't have replay, get extra officials on the field. Even with lavish travel expenses, extra officials won't cost more than a few thousand bucks per game. I would bet that FIFA makes enough in the course of a World Cup cycle to cover the cost.

posted by Howard_T at 04:50 PM on June 28

Remember that the assistant referee has to watch the point of contact with the ball ("when the ball is played") by Messi as well as the line of last defenders, and then judge if the other player (Tevez) is interfering with play. It happened very quickly.

With the Tevez goal, my first reaction was "I couldn't tell". Only the replay cleared it up for me. And if there's any doubt, the advantage goes to the attacking team.

Down here, they stopped showing contentious refereeing decisions on the big screen a long time ago. Not just offside, but fouls as well. So, when they don't show it, we just assume the officials were wrong anyway.

posted by owlhouse at 05:31 PM on June 28

Down here, they stopped showing contentious refereeing decisions on the big screen a long time ago. Not just offside, but fouls as well. So, when they don't show it, we just assume the officials were wrong anyway.

That's what happened in MLB. I seem to remember an incident* at Yankee Stadium where there was a close play that the umpire got wrong. Steinbrenner had the replay shown on the big screen. Not long after that replays of close plays could no longer be shown on the large stadium screens. Of course now there are broadcast feeds all throughout stadiums so you tend to hear random, delayed boos.

*I could have the details completely wrong on this. But that's what I remember dammit!

posted by goddam at 06:10 PM on June 28

I wonder if the assistant might have missed that Tevez touched the ball, from his angle. It happened quickly and the redirection was slight. Referee's part of the game, though, for good or bad.

posted by Hugh Janus at 10:04 PM on June 28

If they can't, for some idiot reason, utilize 21st century technology, they should at least place a couple extra refs at each goal. It's stupid.

posted by bobfoot at 01:08 AM on June 29

I wonder if the assistant might have missed that Tevez touched the ball, from his angle. It happened quickly and the redirection was slight. Referee's part of the game, though, for good or bad.

I thought about this when they were having their discussion at the sideline. It is certainly conceivable that the assistant could not detect the contact by Tevez, but the referee should have been able to see that.

On the other hand, as a rules clarification, does their have to be contact by the offside player for offsides to be called? It was my understanding that you merely had to be involved in the play (which I would contend that swinging your head at a shot going by constitutes involvement, whether you touch it or not).

posted by bender at 10:09 AM on June 29

No touch required, bender, you are correct about the involve/interfere level for infringement.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:44 AM on June 29

Actually, baseball and hockey do this too, as has been pointed out. But it's funny in it's arrogance.

I can't get over how much of this game rides on the officiating. One game elimination playoffs where 1 goal means so, so much. It's fucking torture.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:13 PM on June 29

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