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Send all the French home



by Walter Broeckx

Despite the urgent plea from the President of the Medical Committee which we have mentioned in an article a few days before the start of the World cup the way most of the referees are doing their games is the opposite from this plea.

His plea was to ban all dangerous tackles and give straight red cards. So there was hope by those, like me, who like to see the games played in a proper way. Fouls can happen, it’s part of the game, but dangerous fouls should have been banned.

I must confess that I haven’t seen all the games so far. And in many games I have lost interest after a while because of the very low  quality on display. But now  I can only tell that I really don’t like what I see from the refs.

The words from the medical committee have not been put in to acts by the referee committee. And the players who started the world cup in a rather good sporting way if you bear in mind the importance of the competition have noticed it and are trying to take advantage of it. You could say that they have adopted to the laxity of many refs.

As an example I will take two last games I saw on Sunday. Let us start by Italy against New Zealand. I must say that I liked the final result. And the fact that the linesman had a little dust in his eye when he let New Zealand score from an offside position is something that can happen.

But I must say it was not even a close call,  it was a terrible decision. On the other hand I’m not going to discuss the penalty decision in favour of Italy. Di Rossi was held by the New Zealand player and yes he went down easy but the fact that he was held back by his shirt is the only thing that mattered as it is a foul (Di Rossi even doesn’t have to fall on the ground) and it was a penalty.

But the thing that I couldn’t believe was that I have seen four or five elbows and that the ref didn’t act as he should have done: give red cards for Christ’s sake. Elbowing a player does not belong in football. It is dangerous, it is mean, it’s simply out of order. Last world cup they had given strict instructions to give red cards for this and this instruction is still valid and should be carried out by the refs.  And then to think that the ref in charge is a ref that has an average of 1 red card each game so he is not afraid to hand them out. But today he just let things go. I really could not believe my eyes. Poor, poor, poor,  very poor refereeing.

And for those who would think well that is what you get if you let a referee do a game who comes from Guatemala I can only say that this has nothing to do with it in fact. The refs have received the instructions and have to act on the field. And that it is down to the possible inexperience of the ref can have an influence but let us just go to the ref who did the game in the evening between Ivory Coast and Brazil.

And the ref in this game was not from a small country no, he came from France.  Let us start with the second goal from Brazil. Luis Fabiano controlled the ball two times with his arm and the ref and his assistant saw nothing. It was a bit like France-Ireland revisited. Maybe handling the ball is allowed in France on the condition that you score afterwards?

And to top things off on our network they showed images of the ref running back to the centre circle with Fabiano joking and smiling and laughing with him and the ref made gestures that Fabiano controlled the ball with his chest and you could see that Fabiano looked a bit embarrassed  with this. But for this thing I would not crucify him. It is possible that from the angle the ref was watching it, he could have got the impression that Fabiano controlled the ball with his chest.

But what I cannot forgive him is the fact that shortly after the 3-0 from Elano there was a very nasty tackle. Elano came sliding in, played the ball and the Ivory Coast player Tioté came in with an outstretched leg, studs showing,  over the ball and planted it right in the leg of Elano. And what did monsieur Lannoy do? Nothing, absolutely nothing. He let play go on. I must say I fell off my chair when I saw this. This was the perfect example of what the president of the medical committee was talking about. And when finally the players stopped the play themselves he came over to see what he had missed. Elano was stretchered off and I found myself  sitting on the floor as I had fallen out of my couch in disbelief.

You would think the ref would have learned from this. But no. A few minutes later Keita came in against Bastos with again an outstretched leg, studs showing and hit him full on the ankle. I had just managed to crawl back in my sofa but I could have saved myself bothering as I fell out of it again and landed on the floor again. Well to be fair, the ref did learn something this time and he blew a foul. Wow great work monsieur Lannoy. But then again he totally screwed up by not giving the red card against Keita. This also could have been a leg breaking tackle but lucky for Bastos he was off the floor so the impact was somewhat dampened by this. But this shouldn’t matter for the ref: this was a very dangerous tackle again and as I have said so many times, a dangerous tackle should always be punished with a red card.

To make things worse for the ref that same Keita found it necessary to provoke the sending off from Kaka with a second yellow card. Keita who should have been off the field already ran in to Kaka who held out his arm in a protective gesture and Keita ran against his arm and went down holding his head as if Kaka had elbowed him in the face. An incredible performance from Keita which could win him an Oscar for his play acting. But this was only the result of the poor performance of the ref in this game because you could feel it building up. He just had lost the control over the game and didn’t know what to do and where to do.

My suggestion for Monsieur Lannoy would be that as there are a lot of planes flying between South Africa and France to put him on a plane and keep him there for the rest of the world cup.

And my suggestion for the referee committee from Fifa would be to sit down, invite the president of the medical committee and listen to him before we are going to see real casualties in this world cup.

And my suggestion for the disciplinary committee from Fifa would be to ban Keita AND  Tioté for their disgraceful tackles and give Keita another ban for his play acting.

And a final note as just when I finished this article I stumbled on BBC2 where they gave the highlights of the game between Brazil and Ivory Coast. They did not show the tackle on Elano, they did not show the tackle on Bastos so you may think what is Walter talking about. I really wonder why the BBC did not show these disgraceful tackles. Okay you cannot call this highlights as it were lowpoints but still it caused me to fall out of my couch for the third time in one evening.

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23 comments to Send all the French home

  • Ole Gunner

    Well Walter, it shows how much interpretation matters in football. The Elano tackle; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z39TOEIum7s&NR=1

    You see that Elano originally went over the ball with his right leg though he played the ball with his left. If Tiote had not raised his foot, Elano could have shattered Tiote’s shin.

    The Keita tackle on Bastos was hard and brutal. No doubt.

    But the Kaka episode, I completely disagree. His elbow connected with Keita’s ribs. He clearly used his elbow. I’m not swayed by the idea that you need to use your elbow to stop a player running into you. If you look at the video you can see Keita was looking at the ball, didn’t see Kaka, and his reaction wasn’t premeditated.

    Since you mention in the article that FIFA is clamping down on players elbowing others, I don’t see anything less than a caution being the correct action for the referee to take.

  • gunfire

    Agree! Shud have kicked Ivory Coast out, bunch of thugs. Diver Drogba led the way.

  • A Casual Observer

    I have seen the replay of this several times and the ref jogs back with Fabiano smiling and points to his arm, Fabiano then pleads his innocence – the ref (now laughing) they slaps his chest as if to say ‘it must have been that then’.

    Although FIFA has done its very best to banish every copy of this video into the memory hole there are a few places where it still exists:

    http://www.world2010cup.com/news/301/scandal-referee-and-fabiano-laughing-on-his-handball.html

    ‘enjoy’ it while you can.

  • Lady gooner

    I LOVE YOUR ARTICLE.KEEP IT UP

  • kiwigooner

    Walter
    I cannot agree about the wonderful NZ goal, remember this is a new game to us and it is all we can do not to pick it up and dive for the try line!!
    So if we get the odd nod from the ref, dont begrudge it us..
    I was going to suggest a Pink card for all the divers, fakers and cheats who feign injury to get the opposition sent off.
    It should mean 10 minutes off the pitch to get the emergency treatment the so obviously need, and the game goes on without them.
    As an ex rugby player, I would be upset and shocked that any player I elbowed in the face got up again at all, let alone within a scond or two, after writhing around theatrically.

    Bring on the Pink cards!!

  • Dark Prince

    I think the best solution is using technology for decision making. And its a solution that can be properly executed for any decision. There should be a fourth official which is looking at camera replays and has the authority to over-rule wrong decisions. The main ref already have a microphone n headset in their ears, the fourth official can simply pass on the decision to them and the ref can deliver it. Its inevitable that technology will eventually play a hand in ref decisions sooner or later. 🙂

  • cape gooner

    Walter, what about David Villa last night? He confronted the full back and knocked him in the face with the back of his hand/fist. If the EPL banned Ferdinand for something similar on video evidence, why won’t FIFA do the same?

  • geoge

    if someone stamps on your foot deliberately,they deserve a smack in the mouth

  • Jonny

    it has often struck me that there is a disconnect between what the rule book says and the reality on the pitch. When you say that;

    “Di Rossi was held by the New Zealand player and yes he went down easy but the fact that he was held back by his shirt is the only thing that mattered as it is a foul (Di Rossi even doesn’t have to fall on the ground) and it was a penalty.”

    – the reality is that referees let minor shirt tugs in the penalty box ‘slide’ all the time. If the player had stayed on his feet he almost certainly would not have gotten the decision. If the decision had been awarded anyway, we could describe that as unusual and then the inevitable question of ‘refereeing consistency’ raises it’s head (after all players normally get away with tugs and holding players in the penalty area unless a player goes to ground).

    In the commentary box, a player can often described derisively as ‘looking for it’ or even diving or ‘trying to con the ref’ if he ‘exaggerates’ contact to bring it to the attention of the ref.

    Some rules (the 7 second rule for goalies) seem to be totally disregarded, some are applied rigidly in the middle of the park but then disappear once we are inside the penalty area. The list goes on and to the casual observer is a minefield of contradictions, potholes and inconsistencies.

    It often seems to me that if a ref followed the playbook exactly to the letter of the law we would be shocked by the outcome. There is this weird grey area in refereeing a game (allowing the game to flow) and enforcing the word of law.

    Who’d be a referee. Eh Walter? Eh?!

    Oh.

  • AJ

    ‘Maybe handling the ball is allowed in France on the condition that you score afterwards?’
    very funny this!

  • nicky

    One good,brave,honest ref is all that is needed, together with one dirty game. There would be a host of red cards and the match abandoned due to lack of players. The aftermath would change the face of football throughout the world. WHERE IS THIS REF?

  • Dave

    They certainly seem to be on their way home now [after the first half with SA] What a bunch of over-rated premadonnas! It seems to me as if they are still on strike … may be work to rule. Whose rule? Only God knows.

  • chunk

    Ha looks like you got your wish, Gourcuff off for an elbow!

  • Jonathan

    Well Gourcuff got sent off for an elbow and i dont think it warranted anything more than a yellow. Whatever the case, atleast our defense is coming home early… As usual given the suspect play last year… This year i feel will be different, with the addition of some help in the defense, i can see a great improvement… Wenger knows what we need and i say we compete for the title and take the title this yr…. Hopefully

  • Gf60

    The home town win was great…pity it wasn’t 4 or 5 and I really don’t mind France playing like a bunch of high-heeled trollops. But, did Domench have to drag the gooners down to their level? Don’t think I’d like to meet the crowd at Orly airport…especially those with meat cleavers looking for frogs’legs.

  • walter

    Ole, Elano came in over the ground and his legs were not in a dangerous angle. He could have touched Tiote, yes, but Tiote came in and if you look in the clip between second 2 and 3 you see that he is going over the ball and his leg is straight when he makes contact and this is the dangerous thing. A leg that is bending causes less chance of a dangerous injury.

  • walter

    Kiwi, I will let you have your goal as I was delighted that NZ won a point against Italy.

    Cape Gooner, Silva should have had a red card for this. But I think Fifa is to bad to do anything about it.

  • walter

    Jonny,

    If Di Rossi hadn’t gone down the ref would not have given a penalty. I’m sure of that. It was a case of falling down to show to the ref what has happened.
    But holding a player is always a foul and you don’t need to fall on the ground to award a free kick for holding a player by his shirt. But you don’t see this given in the penalty box like that.

    Nicky, you are right if we would find a ref that would do a game and do it all perfect to the rules and the guidelines we wouldn’t believe our eyes.

  • walter

    About Gourcuff : he went in with his arm raised in front of him and he jumped in the direction of an opponent and because of his jump he hit him full under his chin He didn’t have to raise his hand like he did so he cannot complain once the contact was made. It could be that Gourcuff didn’t mean it like that but I can only advice him to use just a hand to “feel” the opponent and not go in with your arm and elbow in front of you.

  • gooner80

    Hey walter
    something occurred to me under Wenger wehave always had at least 3 french 3 players playing in our side and I noticed a correlation between the fifa world rankings for France and the success of Arsenal, if yopu take for example Arsenal reached the final in the champions league in 2006 and in that year france went to the final of the world cup and there defintely seems a pattern between their ranking and our success especially when France have been ranked number one in the world.

    Since Wenger has always been reliant on his fellow country men Imjust wondering whether they is anything in it, I looked but not in gr8 detail.

  • walter

    Greece – Argentina: first half: it there are no casualties in this game it will be because of the players keeping themselves under control. The ref is letting the game going out of his control.
    I have seen him given the no more sign some 3 times in a half. It is known by the refs that you only give this sign 1 time and after that you hand out the yellow cards. Poor stuff from the ref.

  • gooner80

    Hey walter
    something occurred to me under Wenger wehave always had at least 3 french 3 players playing in our side and I noticed a correlation between the fifa world rankings for France and the success of Arsenal, if yopu take for example Arsenal reached the final in the champions league in 2006 and in that year france went to the final of the world cup and there defintely seems a pattern between their ranking and our success especially when France have been ranked number one in the world.

    Since Wenger has always been reliant on his fellow country men Imjust wondering whether they is anything in it, I looked but not in gr8 detail.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    There were cynical suggestions in the Press that the Spanish referee was working for the Russians so attacking Brazil would be his remit??