Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How soccer gets it wrong

Soccer fan David Post writes:
in a good healthy weekend’s dose of soccer-watching (say, 3 or 4 games), you will see, guaranteed, anywhere from a half-dozen to twenty incorrect offside calls. Not “possibly wrong” or “arguably wrong,” or “judgment-call wrong” — just wrong, plain and simple, as shown on the slow-motion replays. A study published in Nature several years ago confirmed what every soccer fan knows – the linesmen get a lot (around 20%) of the offside calls wrong. ...

And the really extraordinary thing is: it’s not going to get fixed anytime soon, or ever. Nobody is proposing video replay for offside calls, and soccer fans would revolt around the world if they did. Not that we like all these mistakes, exactly — we yell and scream and moan about lousy offside calls all the time. But in a very strange way that I only vaguely understand, that’s kind of the point, and it makes us love the game even more than we otherwise would. It’s just a part of the game, ...

This, I realize, is simply inconceivable to most American sports fans. The whole point of having referees is to “get it right” – it seems obvious — and so we’ll do whatever it takes ...
It is not just that the soccer referees are incompetent or crooked. The soccer rules are so silly that they invite bad calls. It is almost as if the game were designed to make it easy for a referee to throw a game.

My simple explanation is that soccer is a Third World sport with Third World rules. Non-Americans don't seem to have the concepts of fair play and victory to the better team.

Several months ago someone pointed me to a video of a recent championship soccer match that he said was one of the most excited games played in many years. But not only was the outcome of the game determined by a series of very bad referee calls, but the outcome was a 1-1 tie! According to the rules, the visiting team was to be declared the winner on a tie score.

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