Time for FIFA to get with the times

by Philip MacDonald | Last updated

I am watching this World Cup in a completely different fashion than previous World Cups. I am a huge soccer fan and love to play the game but what I’m seeing in this World Cup is painful to watch. I’m referring to the diving, cheating, excessive cards and dubious calls being made.

FIFA needs to get up to speed. They need to use video replay and give retroactive cards. With video technology they can review all this stuff after the game and change certain calls around. For example, Brazilian playmaker Kaka’s red card given versus Ivory Coast should be overturned. Instead, it is not even a topic of discussion. It’s not so much about one particular call but the bigger picture: the integrity of the game itself. If anything, FIFA needs to make an example of these cheating players and horrendous referees and filter them out of the game.

Enter FIFA president Sepp Blatter. He should step forward regarding the issue, acknowledge and deal with it. Instead he is ignoring it altogether suggesting that there is nothing wrong with the game and how it is being handled. He has ignored questions from reporters and walked out of interviews when the topic is raised instead of doing the right thing and dealing with it. Ignoring the problem and saying everything is alright couldn’t be further from the truth let alone casting a bigger shadow on the problem. It’s also borderline insulting to passionate soccer fans. Instead what we have is a man who gives speeches, shakes hands and cuts ribbons. The game of soccer deserves better.

The GOOD news is with the use of technology ALL of this nonsense can be removed from the game of soccer. Dubious calls can be reviewed after the game and overturned. In defense of the officials it is difficult/near impossible to catch everything that happens in real time but that’s where technology can help. With video technology, the cheaters can be punished and made an example of. Players and officials that are at fault will be filtered from the game because of how they are hurting it. What is coming across instead is that the officials are right and all the fans should simply ignore the bad calls. My fear is this will ultimately be the game’s demise on the world stage.

This World Cup has yet to see a breakout game and nation that stands above the rest. Instead, what is being talked about by the media are games like Chile versus Switzerland where there were 45 fouls in 90 minutes, including 9 yellow cards and a red card. The United States were disallowed the game winning goal versus Slovenia resulting and 2-2 tie and Kaka of Brazil received a red card for a foul he never committed. I feel bad for the players who worked so hard to get to this stage only to have the referees dictate of the outcome.  Some players dream about playing for their country their whole life; when that dream is realized and they find themselves on the biggest stage in the world – the world cup – it should not be spoiled because of the ignorance and nativity of the present games build. Soccer fans are an educated bunch and it will not take them long to figure out what is going on.

When it’s all said and done the love of the game comes from playing in a park with zero fans and enjoying every moment of it; playing every game as if it were your last; playing for no money at all. I still encourage all soccer fans to watch the World Cup and try to learn as much as possible. These are the best athletes on the planet. I recently heard a person complain that “it takes 70 minutes to score one goal” and my response to that is there are other great things about the sport of soccer that one can learn from. Think about F1 series racing or even the Indy500; the racers and their cars spend an entire race trying to orchestrate just one pass so that they can get into the position of their liking.  Similarly, in a soccer game a team might take the entire 90 minutes to study the other team, to try access different holes in the opponents defense in order to find an opening.  Unlike many of the North American based sports (i.e. basketball, hockey & American football) where it is constant fast paced action and high scoring, soccer is much more tactical and theoretical.  It is all about the build up to one moment of joy…a goal.

Obviously scoring brings great joy to the game but if played well, the game can be very entertaining. You can never go wrong watching Brazil. They bring flare and joy to the game. You can see it in the players eyes and body language. They smile when they play, leave the attitude at home and don’t wear flashy shoes or sport ridiculous haircuts. It’s all about playing for the love of the game and being the best you can be. The way it should be!

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