Tuesday, June 22, 2010

FIFA brings out the big stick

Ladies and Gentlemen, your referee for the pivotal 3rd group match between USA and Algeria, Mr. Frank De Bleeckere. A referee since 1984, and FIFA since 1998, and appointed to the 2006 World Cup. See here for his FIFA profile.

He is one of the most respected referees in Europe and has several international and international friendlies to his credit. This includes 2002 World Cup Qualification, UEFA 2004 Qualification, 2003 FIFA World Youth Championships, UEFA Euro 2004, 2006 World Cup Qualification, 2005 FIFA World Cup U-17 Championship, 2006 FIFA World Cup. UEFA Euro 2008 Qualification, UEFA Euro 2008, 2010 World Cup, and a host of international friendlies.

A complete list as well as other details can be found here.

So what kind of referee is he? Well it would seem clear that discipline is critical to him. Take the following statistics into account:

From the 2006 World Cup:
EventGamesBookedBooked Yellow cardRed cardRed card
2006 FIFA World Cup41900

From European play since 2007:
Booked Yellow cardRed card
Red card


This is an average of 4.22 cautions per match and .26 send offs per match.

Keep in mind, this is just a number. More importantly, by the respect he is given in European circles, he knows how to use the misconduct to manage the players.

What may show more is his approach to the game on Wednesday. Here is a quote from him:
“I don’t look at reputation or anything that has gone before (...) I will watch the previous games of USA and Algeria to help me understand their tactics and work on my positioning. But I will watch ‘Gladiator’ first.”
(Full article from Yahoo sports is here).

Clearly both FIFA and De Bleeckere are preparing for a Gladiator style match on Wednesday as the USA takes the grounds against Algeria. We shall see who comes to fight that day, where De Bleeckere will act as summa rudis. One shall be named victorious and awarded a palm branch, possibly even a rudis, the other, likely goes home.

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