By Walter Broeckx
A few times in the last few weeks I have seen the question coming up in the comment section: “I wonder what Walter has to say about that decision in the world cup?” But because of my one man embargo on Fifa and all what is connected to them I haven’t seen much football from the world cup.
Now of course I didn’t run away from my TV whenever there was football on it. And as I live in a house with still a few kids at home obviously when they were watching football I didn’t forbid them to see it. And I admit of course that on such occasions I looked at it. Hate Fifa, love the game as I have said before. So I did have seen a few things but not much. And what I have seen has made me sad at times.
Now let me say that before the world cup started I have been looking for declarations on how the refs would do the world cup. In the world cups in the past it was the start of implementing new rules and mostly stricter rules. Like a few world cups ago they ordered the refs to act strongly against that despicable wild tackle from behind. And ordered refs to give red cards for it. And blimey it did work. In most leagues in the world this tackle has been removed from the game, thank goodness.
But this time…they would take on the pulling and shoving when corners or free kicks had to be taken. Prevention was high on the list. And so we have seen refs even trying to look for two players standing close to each other to “prevent the blatant shirt pulling” and call the players over. And yet has there been a penalty given for this foul? Because after the ref doing his prevention show I have seen some blatant pulling and holding. Yet I didn’t hear of any penalty being given for it.
When trying to find something about the game plan from the refs I had the impression that the instruction was: be soft when it comes to handing out cards. And the secret instruction was of course: make sure that Brazil makes it to the last 4. Didn’t you let it feel to the refs that way, Mr. Busacca? And by the way did you know that Busacca’s main occupation was a pub owner? That was before FIFA promoted him for helping Barcelona in the Uefa CL as we might remember. Instant gratification.
So on came the first match and I looked at it with my eyes more fixed on my computer trying to find out who we had bought already (just joking – but was only looking with half an eye as they say it in my mother language). I turned off that half an eye when Brazil got their ludicrous penalty in their match against Croatia. The refs surely seemed to know what to do. I think Mr Blatter and Mr Busacca will have been very satisfied and will have had a good drink in Mr. Busacca his pub.
But apart from the fact that Brazil got what they wanted I noticed something else. And I was not alone in noticing this. On Friday 20 June one of my sons called me. And as he also is a referee we started talking about the world cup. And he said to me that he had noticed that the refs were amazingly soft when it came to punishing reckless tackles. And he said that he feared that we would see broken legs and other parts of human bodies being broken. I completely agreed with him based on the information I had seen in summaries of matches and when I saw short clips on twitter or facebook posted by friends of mine.
Accidents would happen. And my god did they happen? Yes, they sure did. My son and I predicted it 3 weeks ago and we were right. Now I could have missed a few things but from the back of my head I know of 3 broken legs, 1 broken jaw, one broken back,… and I haven’t followed it all.
Up to now we have had 60 matches. And 5 players who had something broken in those matches. This is far too much! This is criminal. And all because of the referees allowing too much. And as far as I know not one of the bone breakers has been banned! So it was not just the referees on the field who were poor but also something is completely wrong with the punishing system. The only time it worked was with the Suarez incident one could say.
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Referees allowed too much on the field and it was waiting for accidents to happen. My son and I predicted it and it came as predicted. Now if we could see it, then why couldn’t Mr. Busacca see it? He should have called his refs over and ordered them to be more strict against reckless challenges. And you don’t have to wait till the leg is broken to give a red card. No a challenge that could result in broken legs should be punished with red cards!
But he didn’t do it apparently – or at least I didn’t see or hear of any change in how the referees did their matches. The kick-fest between Brazil and Colombia resulted in one of the main bill board boys being severely injured. I was half watching that match while doing some administration on my computer. And long before Neymar got injured another of my friends who is a referee started a comment on facebook in a referee group of which I am part of, asking if he was the only one who was getting annoyed by the behaviour of the referee in that match. Well my friends referees reacted in masses to agree with being annoyed.
The way the ref let things get out of hand because he was visibly afraid to hand out yellow or red cards resulted in Neymar finding himself in hospital. Now I don’t give a f*ck about who will win the world cup (but as the Germans have most Arsenal players on board I do hope they will come home as world champions now) and Fifa and their corrupt organisation and fascist methods. But what I don’t like and want to see is players being carried in hospital with severe injuries.
Mr. Busacca and a lot of his referees have let things get out of hand. And players feel it when referees are afraid of acting like they should. And then they will try to move the barriers of the laws. And will go in harder and certainly when too much nationalism is getting involved and making people doing what is needed for “their country”. The expression from the former Dutch coach Rinus Michels was very true at times. He once said in the seventies: football = war. And at times it was in this world cup. And we had the casualties that goes with a war.
In a way it is pathetic. Both in England and in Fifa they promoted a referee that was found with his hands in the till, as one might say when it comes to helping a certain team to victory. I hope it was a big coincidence that both times that referee did it against Arsenal. But both then got promoted to the highest job in the referee world in their country or in Fifa. And both gentlemen are seemingly not able to make sure that players are protected in the right way.
Is it because the other refs don’t listen to them as they know they have been passing lines a ref shouldn’t pass and thus have no natural authority that one should expect? Or is it that they instructed the refs that way and then it is getting close to criminal negligence.
I know there is blood on the money that Fifa will make from this tournament. Blood that shouldn’t have been spilled. If the refs had done their job in a proper way. Just as it happens in the PL.
From the Riley’s and the Busacca’s, save us Lord.*
* based on an old idiom in my mother tongue that was said in church in the times when the Vikings came to plunder our towns and the original expression was: from the Vikings, save us Lord.
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