Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Not far enough ...

Love of money endangering game: Pele

Pele, Brazil's greatest footballer, said he believed high salaries and greedy players were a danger to the modern game.
See the whole story here, courtesy of Reuters.

Kicking Back's comments: He is right on several fronts, but does not go far enough. Love of money is also driving THE games caretakers in some cases to do not what is for the good of the game, but for what is good for a very privileged few.

Gone are the days of cheering for a home team made of folks from your hometown. Note this is not an issue unique to soccer at all. Big name talent, here today, gone tomorrow, for another city and a bigger paycheck.

One place you do see "homegrown" heroes is in refereeing. These few folks that make it to "the show" are local heroes to those who take the time to know who they are, and reflect on what they have accomplished.

For me these folks have names like Hasek, Socha, Bratsis, DiPlacido, Dias, Mauro, Resendes, Bennett, Woo and Supple. You don't see these folks trotting off to another city for a bigger paycheck or fancy new sports car. These folks are here to stay in the hometown they helped forge. For me, these are household names that serve as a continued reminder of what can be achieved, right around the block, when you really put your mind to it. Greatness need not change its zip code.

Hometown heroes all, and true defenders of THE game to the last.


  1. In the same press meeting during his 3-day visit to Hong Kong, Pele also said:

    "I would like to see players who foul around the penalty area forced to stand in a one-man wall in front of the upcoming free-kick. The last defender commits a foul, but they put all nine players who I have passed in the wall against me. Everybody I pass is now in front of me. That is not fair."

    From what I can gather, Pele wants a rule whereby there is only a one player who is allowed to stand in front of a free kick in the attacking third, with the other 9 'outfielders' standing behind the ball? Is that Pele's meaning when he says he would like only a "one-man wall"?

    Or does Pele, great player that he was, not understand that there is already a Law that deals with what he calls "the last defender commits a foul". By Pele's description, that player will likely be sent off for DOGSO. Another example of great players who are ignorant of the LOTG or who are stuck in their own era/bubble.

    BTW, great point about hometown heroes.

  2. You left a few names of the list... and even if I add a few like Scarsala, Rae and Kokolski, we do not get them all.

    But point well made... Love of the game is what drives them, an altruistic need.

  3. hkref,

    First, thanks for reading and I LOVE your blog. It is very well done and IMHO a *must* read for referees and all, but certainly higher levels.

    I agree with your comments regarding Pele. I believe he would want to see a 1 man wall only. While I'm sure (I hope) he understands the LOTG with respect to DOGSO and similar, I also agree his comments seemed to lack an understanding of how THE game has evolved in different ways around him over time.

    For certain he wants to see attacking football, however I would opine THE game today is far more balanced in all parts of the field. Thuggery is not tolerated in today's game by the referee, and the pendulum is swinging toward players simulating fouls, as defenders are just not committing the type they were "back in the day."

    Some of his comments too may have been surrounding the US adoption of THE game, which apparently is a personal mission of his now, and recognition that more goals may mean more viewers.

    With that I agree, and hope it will help.

    Thanks again,

  4. Dr. Rice,

    I agree with you [blogmaster name not withstanding =)] that the names you cite are equally powerful. In their cases, and others, not only for their refereeing prowess (I believe Frank was "Paul Tamberino-esque" before Paul was), but also for their administrative capabilities. Selfless to the last.

    They too around the world are heroes, as they keep the lifeblood running through the legion of youth referees that looks around and discovers the wonderment of THE game and all it has to offer.

    ... and like the others I mentioned, is living right down the street.