Saturday, February 14, 2015

... and Speaking of Lawsuits ...

Soccer governing body sues over player images

A dispute over U.S. soccer players' images has landed in federal court.

U.S. Soccer Federation Inc. filed a lawsuit against the U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association this month asking a judge in Chicago to loosen some constraints on the use of players' images.

The Chicago-based federation is U.S. soccer's governing body. The association is the union for the men's national team. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of

Kicking Back Comments: I am actually glad to see this. While like anything else of this type it is about money, it demonstrates a shift to me that there is pecuniary value for the rights of the intellectual property of American players.

While often reserved to the "other major sports" in the US, it is pleasing to see folks "fighting" over the use of players images.

While I am sure not worth what a Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers image is, the fact there is a (no doubt expensive) lawsuit over the topic speaks volumes.

Friday, February 13, 2015


Another hobby of mine is playing with words. It is rare (to say the least) getting a chance to trot out a nine (9) syllable word!!

Here it is folks for this Friday the 13th. Meaning and history are here from Wikipedia (for as much as you can trust it).

So to put a soccer bent on this, I found it very interesting that Liverpool and Arsenal do not have any a #13 jersey. Too unlucky.

Then again, many clubs do, including the USWNT. To see a partial list of notables wearing the #13, take a look here.

For an unbelievable historical look at who wore what number, why, and just random cool football number facts, look here at

For those who are Friggatriskaidekaphobic, good luck today =)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I went to a fight last night and a basketball game broke out

High School Basketball Game Derailed By Brawl Involving Fans And Players

Check it all out here, courtesy of Deadspin.

Dunno folks, here is a good example of the referee doing everything right in the moment, and still a full scale brawl breaks out.

If they don't want to play, there is little you can do.

Question then becomes, how do you get them to play?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Another Ballboy Incident

As we recall a couple of years ago in "Five Match Ban ... Due to (Ball) Tosser" we had a ball boy, Charlie Morgan, son of a director at Chelsea, who made contact with then Chelsea player Eden Hazard.

As we recall Hazard was sent off in the 80th minute for violent conduct (not serious foul play) for his contact with the boy.

Of course we have come to find out that Morgan, who was appropriately maligned for his outrageous behavior of intentional time wasting, tweeted out BEFORE the match he was going to waste time for his home side was embellishing the contact with the Chelsea star.

Not the brightest bulb in the scoreboard clearly ...

Enter Ex Chelsea player Kevin De Bruyne, who recently cussed at a ballboy and was fined just over $30K for calling a ballboy a Mother F*&%er. You can see (and hear) the whole interaction here.

My question is where is the suspension? Hazard was suspended for 3 matches for his conduct, yet De Bruune is just fined? Did the ball boy get a cut of this?

On a side bar, talk about stinging ... imagine if a player or coach had to cut a check not to the league, but the person they offended be it a player, fan, ball boy .... yipes ...

Should the league do more here? Is a fine enough? What of the referee heard it? Do we send him for Foul and Abusive language? Or do we seek to let that one go?

Are actions more "actionable" than words?

Should they be?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

"Thugs cannot be martyrs"

Dozens dead in Egypt soccer stampede

Violence erupted Sunday in Cairo when police used tear gas to disperse fans trying to enter an army-owned stadium
At least 40 people were killed and dozens injured Sunday after clashes broke out in Cairo between police and supporters of the Zamalek soccer club, Egyptian medical sources said.

Violence erupted Sunday night when police tried to set up barricades and used tear gas to disperse fans trying to enter an army-owned stadium in the city's northeast on Sunday, witnesses said.

The fans accused security forces of a "massacre,” but police denied using violence to try and pacify the crowd. Many of the dead appeared to have died of suffocation after a stampede erupted. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of Aljazeera.

Kicking Back Comments:
I am often reminded that football is far more than just a game to most of the world. It is also a reflection of social, economic, and political affiliations.

In this way MLS can never compare to the rest of the world as while there is passion regarding each MLS team ... there is frankly not the other flavor contained in the American Game (at the club level) that exists in the rest of the world.

Not yet anyway ...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

$11025 to take a poop?

For any who were mystified why during the Superbowl the Seahawks were penalized 15 yards after they pulled ahead 24 - 14 .... you answer is in how Doug Baldwin celebrated his 3 yard TD reception ... he pretended to pull down his pants and poop out a football.

For his trouble he was fined a odd amount of $11025. To me the amount is almost as weird as the celebration itself.

Not the first time I have seen something like this actually. For me it was back in 1994 at a World Cup match between Nigeria and Greece. It was a match I was actually in attendance for.

Just watch what happened.

What was interesting is the referee did nothing about it.

On the surface you may see something like this or Baldwin's "celebration" and say come on, what's the harm? Well on the surface you would be right ... but it is the 1000's of kids who see this and mimic it in their own town games.

Yes, it happened to me with a U-16 player lifting his leg to a corner flag after a goal he scored. His prize ... a caution.

Shame on the professional players who do such nonsense and the professional referees who do not stop it.

You want to celebrate in a different way ... take a look here at some really good ones.

For gridiron football, just look at this one ... note the location in Wembley Stadium.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Coincidence huh ...

Former USWNT GK coach: Departure had 'nothing to do with Hope Solo'

With just four months to go before the Women’s World Cup, the U.S. goalkeeper situation was already up in the air with starter Hope Solo’s 30-day suspension by U.S. Soccer after her recent incident in which her husband was charged with a DUI while driving her in a U.S. Soccer team van in Los Angeles.

So the timing of this news on Wednesday night raised some eyebrows: Paul Rogers, the U.S. goalkeepers coach since 2009, abruptly left his position with the team to take a job as the goalkeepers coach with the Houston Dynamo. ...

See the whole article from Grant Wahl here, courtesy of

Kicking Back Comments:
The lady doth protest too much, methinks. At least Hamlet did ...

Yeah this is a bit too close in time for me to blow it off as coincidence. If (Paul) Rogers really saw another World Cup win in his very near future and hope (snicker) beyond the recent string of incidents with Solo, I find it hard to believe he would have left so abruptly, even for a MLS team.

This to me is another nail in the USWNT coffin and what we may come to expect in June in Canada.

Either way with US Soccer and Rogers saying that this was planned and there is nothing to see here leads me to be all that more suspicious there is not more here.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Superbowl Officiating Observations

With Superbowl XLIX behind us and finished in dramatic fashion, commentary regarding the officiating was generally very good. There were several things I noted, but turned to Football Zebras for a pro look.

Here are the top six points they came up with. One was right in front of our collective faces and I was stunned when I read it (it's point #6).

For me the largest point was the entire crew allowed the teams to play without any undue interference.

Yes there were a couple of calls (literally two) that I think they missed (roughing the kicker against the Seahawks and PI on Butler against the Pats when he stumbled and with a hand tripped the receiver). Beyond that they lets the boys play ... and play they did. There were wars going on in the front and while exceptionally physical, it was tolerated both ways.

There was also a very serious injury the team dealt well with on the Lane interception and ensuing runback. WARNING: VERY GRAPHIC PHOTO. Stuff like this takes a toll on a referee and crew and in addition to the natural tendency to be concerned about a player, equally as natural are the questions of "did I miss a call?"

We also had all the nonsense about "deflategate" swirling around, and the additional pressure (ahem) the referees were under, not because they had to do anything different, and in fact it is easier in the Superbowl (and has been in the past due to a neutral equipment manager) but all the extra eyes that were on the footballs was likely a PIA. I am sure the recording sheet that Walt Anderson did not turn in regarding ball pressure was done in triplicate and faxed into the league office 2h before the start of the game. I'm actually surprised that we have not seen it yet from the media. We did however have this crap from Seattle during the game.

Also, and finally, keep in mind none of these guys work together during the season (you can see the regular crew assignments here). So the NFL has basically put seven guys together, who never worked together before, in the biggest single annual sporting event on the planet earth and expect each to perform as flawlessly as possible.

Yes they do ... and yes they did.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Hat Tip - Sunil Gulati

U.S., England support Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein for FIFA presidency

FIFA vice president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein says the United States was among the national associations to nominate him to stand against Sepp Blatter for the top job in world football.

The Jordanian also disclosed he was endorsed by his home federation, Belarus, Malta and Georgia. The English FA had already announced it was backing him.

The vote to decide the presidency will be held at the FIFA Congress in May. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of ESPN FC.

Kicking Back Comments: Kudos to Sunil for taking a stand against FIFA, or more precisely Sepp's re-election. To be sure there were shades of Gulati's character not long ago regarding such graft when he, along with (2) other FIFA EXCO members were "gifted" $25,000 watches ... and he (I'm sure politely) refused.

Anyone know the other (2) EXCO members? Al Hussein was one.

Now in the last go round, the US voted for Blatter and as I have stated publicly I did not understand why. It may however be something as simple as the desire to bring the World Cup back to the US in 2022, recognizing the Swiss Prince would oversee the whole sorted affair.

We know how that turned out for us.

Now with years and years to go before we decide on the next World Cup, and quite possibly outside Sepp's lifetime (I'm not foreshadowing anything, he's currently 78 years old) it would seem he would not have the ability to shut the US out again. 

Maybe with nothing to lose at this point in not supporting his reelection, we are making a positive statement that the US supports a non-corrupt FIFA.

It could also be for the very good reason of supporting an individual that is not corrupt and can begin to take The Game out of the sewer that it is in right now.

Maybe eventually with a leader at the helm who started such a movement.

Are we seeing the beginning of a future campaign for FIFA president from Gulati?

Would not be a bad choice in my opinion ... unfortunately for the same reasons why we will never see an American referee a men's World Cup final, we will also likely never see an American running FIFA. It's sad frankly, but that is the bias we have to shoulder.

I wonder if I can file a discrimination suit of some type??

Nah ... it would get tossed ... even the WNT knows that =/

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Back in November I shared with you all the case being brought against FIFA for the use of a synthetic surface for the 2015 WWC in Canada. For any interested it can be found here.

As I opined then, and was recently confirmed, the case was dismissed for lack of merit. In a contorted statement from council representing the players, Hampton Dellinger stated, "So after a lot of effort to reach a compromise - the players need to start their training and need to know what surface they'll be be playing on - they have decided to put soccer first and put the lawsuit behind them."

In other words ... they got nuthin' ... legally speaking.

There is an important point in that last statement too as I believe that FIFA and the CSA got it wrong and the WWC should be played on grass. That last statement however is a far cry from what the case itself and how is was processed should determine as a victor.

Take a look at "Of Privilege and Preference ..." by Elizabeth Cotignola which in part calls Wambach et. al. v. Canadian Soccer Association, nothing more than a temper tantrum to which these players feel they are entitled.

I agree with her, as well as how the case was brought both in form and in venue, but at the same time, I think the women are entitled to the same surface as the men. Not because they are women, but because they are playing at the highest level of The Game, and the game itself deserves that respect.

Believe me, that surface changes the game, I have the experience to know this personally. What should scare the crap out of FIFA however was not this lawsuit, nor should it be the fear of a boycott from these players or fans, it should be the fact that Canada was the only country to complete the bidding process for the 2015 Cup.

Let me write that again ... Canada was the only country to ask to host the World Cup.

Gee, ya think FIFA has bigger issues to deal with regarding the womens' game?

Richard Farley put it best in his article at Soccer Gods:

Rather than spending so much time pursuing an inane court case, the players and their representatives should’ve been pressing the fact that this isn’t about the law. It’s about something deeper, something more fundamental. Once you break through the mire of FIFA standards, single-country bids, and the state of modern turf, this is basic, common sense stuff: Why us and not them?"

He is 100% correct.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Well done men ... you let the teams decide today

Photo Credit:Ben Liebenberg/NFL (via Football Zebras)

Congratulation to the entire Superbowl crew on a job well done:

Bill Vinovich, Bill Schuster, Dana McKenzie, Mark Perlman, Bob Waggoner, Tom Hill, Terrence Miles, Carl Cheffers, Fred Bryan, Rusty Baynes, Barry Anderson, Todd Prukop

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Best (Gridiron) Football Referee Analysis

Superbowl is here again and (for me) is a particular thrill as it again includes the New England Patriots. For those who have been following deflategate I will comment on that later ... and as I previously predicted, the referees are (at least in part) going to be blamed.

This year however instead of a discussion of the number of chicken wings that will be consumed (it's in the billions) or other millions of pounds of snack foods (source), best and worst commercial (my best vote is below ... worst is a toss up between T-Mobile and Esurance), lets talk the increased scrutiny the referees are under this year.

Lets face it, it has been a very rough year for the NFL in general and the referees have has their share of issues, at least perceived ones.

Working backwards, we of course have #deflategate where Walt Anderson is coming under some scrutiny for his handling of footballs prior to the AFC Championship game, Tony Corrente heard a little as well regarding the formation on the on-side kick that sealed the deal of the Seahawks. Of course this later "issue" is not one at all as debunked several times over, and was the subject of a tweet from @DeanBlandinio (folks should follow him!).

Heck, if you want to get all "grassy knoll" take a look at They have a section on the 2014 referee controversies and some honestly are not bad analysis ... some of course are crap.

Finally, if you want to get a good look at NFL officials, other than following Dean, take a look at Excellent articles and insight into anther sports referees.

A worthy read for anyone who enjoys referees in sport.