Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Is There Any Sport Involving More Stupidity than Football (Soccer)?

Football Stupidity
This article is written on the occasion of the recent football (soccer) match between England and Ukraine from the group stage of Euro 2012. We won't discuss here whether Ukraine should have won or not and which team was better. We won't discuss so much the problematic goal in this game as well. In brief, there was a goal for Ukraine that was not allowed because the referees were not good enough to see the ball passing the goal line. It was a critical mistake resulting from the imperfections of the human body. Some people claim there has been an offside before the goal. Well, even if we agree with this, it does not revoke the goal. An overlooked offside could only show that the human referees are even more imperfect. UEFA refereeing chief Pierluigi Collina said that 95.7% of the close decisions made by the referees on Euro 2012 were correct and according to him this is a huge result. In fact, 95.7% could be a good percentage in many other cases but when it refers to judgements affecting somebody else it is rather weak.

I think it is out of the question that human referees must be aided by technologies. It's 21st century after all. This has been admitted even by Sepp Blatter (FIFA president) who has previously claimed that a referee's judgement must be seen as final and that mistakes are part of the game (in regard to players undeservedly receiving red cards). But... This change will probably take time. Because changes in football happen quite slow. What time is needed for is actually debatable cause such a technology has already been a necessity for decades. It is mainly related to the unwillingness of the football administration (incl. the president of the UEFA Michel Platini) to introduce changes despite the glaring need for them. Of course, the lack of unanimity among the football society does not help either (e.g., the English players and fans are not mad at all after their match with Ukraine in contrast to their attitude two years ago during 2010's World Championship in South Africa when they were the injured side).

Football (soccer) specifics
Unlike other games, in football only a few points (goals) are scored during a match. Overlooking one of them could be (and had been a lot of times) crucial for the outcome of a game. Note, that the so-called Hawk-Eye system is used in sports like tennis where one "wrong" point is actually not so critical (although always unpleasant). Furthermore, similar to the cycle of the Olympic games, football's World and European Championships are rare (once per 4 years). There are only a few big competitions in the carrier of a footballer and sometimes it could be even one (especially if the player is from a country that is not a constant major force in the sport). So imagine what should be the frustration a football player gets after he is dishonestly eliminated from one of the most important events in his not so long carrier. It's a mockery with his continued efforts to achieve something.

Stupidity surrounding football
And now comes the main issue? How is it possible the most popular sport in the world to be surrounded by such a degree of stupidity? And I'm not talking only about the contemporary footballers, which are often accused of being quite unintelligent. I'm not talking about the fans who often do stupid things. I'm mostly wondering why all involved in this sport do nothing about the situation with the human referees injuring their interests and endeavours. Yes, it is true there a lot of conservative people in FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and UEFA (Union of European Football Associations), probably there are even some idiots. But this is not a reason to suffer for so many years. If all football players, managers, trainers, club owners, etc. decide to boycott FIFA and UEFA the problem will be solved in less than a week. UEFA and FIFA are nothing without the men producing the billions of dollars in this sport. Football has become an enormous money making machine. And it is even more inexplicable why the guys that actually make the money do not take any action against the spoilt system.

Making referee decisions in football more accurate is easy. We are not talking about rhythmic gymnastics, for example, where any estimation is inevitably subjective. Introducing some electronic devices will not be so expensive and it will lead to considerably lower amount of wrong referee calls. It is clear that such electronic systems won't be equally necessary in all football competitions. Yes, it is always nasty to be harmed by a referee and lose a game unfairly but if there are not Hawk Eye devices or similar installed for the games in 5th division it will be comprehensible. It's true that if you've lost a game you cannot blame only the referees. Yet, it is a shame that such absurd mistakes happen at football competitions of the highest level.

A revolution in the international football affairs could be achieved in no time. People won't blame a revolution like this because apparently decades have not been enough for achieving better judgement in evolutionary way. The question is why nobody really cares about it. Is it because the best players in the world make huge amounts of money anyway and they are not so concerned about (dishonestly) losing a match or there is more to it?


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