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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