Monday, June 19, 2006

Crazy, Crazy

Stercus accidit, indentidem

Some misguided souls still wonder why not everyone gets excited by the World Cup. The France versus South Korea match was an excellent example.

After running themselves to death in the stifling heat and getting nowhere, much less threatening the French goal, the causal observer could be forgiven for thinking that the Koreans were just making up the numbers in their recent match against the Gallic former World Cup winners.

That is until the idiotic way in which the game is played conspired to rob the French of a victory. In the most prestigious tournament in the football world, something as simple as making sure that when a goal is scored the referee and his assistants are informed (if, for some reason they should happen to miss it?) would seem fairly elementary. Not so in the crazy world of FIFA (Famously Idiotic Fatuous Ass*****). There was, apparently, a move to micro-chip the ball to alert the referee when it crossed the line, but FIFA decided that it was too complicated/sensible/fair.

So, whilst the rest of the world are able to watch the video replay - which clearly shows the ball well over the line before the Korean goalkeeper pushes it out - the referee and his assistants are blithely unaware of this important happening and simply carry on. This really was one of the most buttock-clenching moments in World Cup history. Rather like the cricketers who don't appeal because it is so obvious that the ball, which has flown to second slip, has come off the outside edge, only to be bemused and befuddled as the umpire calmly walks off to square leg; the sight of the French players wandering around thinking about appealing for the goal to be given is one not easily forgotten.

Just for good measure, some Sunday papers have been castigating Messrs Lineker, Wright, Hansen and the rest of the BBC World Cup broadcasting team for their inane comments and lacklustre performance. Think I'll join in. This was their golden chance. They could have taken on the establishment and made a real case for using technology, where appropriate, to make the game fairer. Instead, they reverted to type - concentrating on the pressure the French coach is now under (wow, I'd love to read his report on the referee and his assistants!) and the failure of the French team to win the game. Ironic. They did win the game! 200 million people saw it. Only the idiots who organise football could possibly overlook an important feature of the game, namely a goal.

Is it any wonder that some people, St. John-like crying in the wilderness, are questioning the very basis of the game? Football is inherently a silly game. It was designed to be played by 19th century British schoolboys and gob-smackingly stupid, fatuous amateurs. Yet, if you suggest that the rules of the game need to be brought up-to-date folk look at you as if you are Tim Nice but Dim's educational advisor. This is rather ironic considering the intellectual achievements of David (I can string a sentence together and I am a gay icon) Beckham and Wayne (I think Chav is a compliment and my girlfriend is only marginally fatter than I am) Rooney.

Technology should be used to ensure that when a goal is scored the referee is informed. It's not exactly rocket science! Remember the furore when technology was introduced to Wimbledon to adjudge line calls? Now it is not an issue. So should it be in football. Not an issue. But, let's not stop there.

Football could be a much better game. Let's make the 18 yard box only 15 yards. For heaven's sake, the sky will not fall down and the "additional" three yards will make for more goals and more excitement. While we're there, let's make the goals themselves 30 cm higher and one metre wider. Move with the times! They were designed for lads in long pants and leather boots that (when caked with the mud of the British winter) weighed five pounds a piece! The sky will not fall!

Problem is FIFA is even more bureaucratic than the UN or the IOC. There is more chance of the EU voting to become the 51st state than FIFA actually managing to manage the game. I'm just waiting for England to be knocked out by a "goal" that isn't, or by "scoring" a perfectly good one that escapes the notice of the referee.

Actually, now that I think about it, this wouldn't make much difference. If it was a French referee, the Sun would run a campaign to boycott French goods, under the headline, "Frogs Spawn Agincourt Revenge!" and then retreat to the usual pap they publish. The morons who inhabit the stadia would, of course, miss the point completely. It would be left to the England captain to hammer in the final nail and announce (in his best Estuary English), "We was robbed! Even though the lads done brilliant."

I'd laugh myself silly.

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