Monday, December 26, 2011

Programming Note - Holiday Version


Over the next couple of weeks I will be in studio creating audio for "Two Minute Tips." If all goes according to plan, you will start to see a weekly audio episode starting January 7th, 2012 here and in iTunes.

Each episode will be two minutes in length and is intended to be those little nuggets you get after your formal assessment that can help you in the right scenario.

To be sure, even the most beautiful pearl of wisdom starts as a grain of sand or other irritant, so bear with me as we find our way together.

In all events, enjoy your holiday season, and I will see you all on the other side of the break.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Bicycle

The police departments of many cities hold annual auctions to get rid of seized and unclaimed property. Some of the stuff is repossessed, some comes from estates, some is stolen and discarded, or just found on the streets in public places. There is a wide assortment of items, everything from entire houses to knick-knacks for the mantle. Art work is in good supply. There is always plenty of electronic equipment and cameras, and lots of cars.

And usually a fair number of bicycles.

So it was that a young boy of 11 found himself at the police auction one day. He waited patiently for the paintings, cameras and home furnishings to be sold off. Eventually it was time for the bicycles.

The first bike to be auctioned was a beat-up old cruiser with more than a few dings and two well worn tires. It had been abandoned at a popular dumpsite near the river. The young boy immediately came to life and registered his first bid, of $5. The bidding continued, but the boy did not bid again, and the bike was sold for $16.

Several more bikes were wheeled onto the block, each one getting a little newer and nicer than the one before. The boy’s bidding pattern was repeated. With each bike, he registered a bid of $5, but as each bike’s price climbed, the boy stopped bidding.

Finally, the last bike to be auctioned was wheeled to the stage. It was a shiny, almost new ten-speed in immaculate condition, with a titanium frame and racing saddle. It had been taken from a drug dealer’s house.
The boy looked on dejectedly, knowing this bike would also be well out of his price range.

There was an almost imperceptible pause and a subtle murmur in the audience, as the auctioneer cleared his throat and opened the bidding on the last bike. By this time the boy was slumped in his chair, head down, and his perfunctory $5 bid was barely audible.

The auctioneer repeated his call for additional bids, yet none were forthcoming. Surely someone would give more than five dollars for a bike that was worth a hundred times that amount. The boy pulled his head up and looked around the audience. Everyone in the room looked back and smiled, but nobody bid. Going once…going twice…SOLD to the young man in the back for $5!

And so it was that an eleven year-old boy with only $5 to his name took home the best bike in the house, due to the collective kindness of a room full of complete strangers.

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Can't they just shake hands?

Poyet backs Suarez "to the death"

Former Uruguay international Gustavo Poyet says he backs countryman Luis Suarez "to the death" after the Liverpool striker was banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

Poyet, who spent 19 years playing in England with Chelsea, Tottenham and Swindon, labelled the FA's punishment "shocking and disproportionate" and insisted Suarez had suffered from cultural differences between England and Uruguay. ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of ESPN.

Kicking Back Comments: Where is Sepp when you need him? Mr. Racism things this can be washed away with a handshake? Why didn't the FA just make the guys shake hands? That would have solved it, right?


I actually think Suarez is the unlucky victim of an FA message to FIFA that "racism will not be tolerated." Even taken at face value the punishment may be seen as excessive, FA is sending the message that "if FIFA won't deal with it, we will."

The FA certainly has an axe to grind with FIFA, and this may just have been the latest installment.

Well that was quick

FIFA's new governance committee under fire for lack of transparency and independence

Even before their first meeting, the newly appointed members of FIFA's Independent Governance Committte (IGC) have received an indication of the scrutiny their work will face. Committee members are being criticised for not being independent enough of FIFA, whilst organisations like Transparency International and Football Supports Europe have declined to join the committee. ...

See the whole article here from PlayTheGame.

Kicking Back Comments: My knee-jerk reaction was a yawn as I have come to expect this from FIFA.

On closer inspection however there are some interesting things from the article, like Sunil Guliti is a member of the IGC. Hmmmmm ... FIFA throwing the US a bone of some type, or just another useless committee?

Also, from the article:
"In another blog post, Pielke points to the problems it raises for the committee and its president Mark Pieth that is has not disclosed that FIFA paid Pieth an amount of $128,000 and more than $5,000 per day to produce an initial report for FIFA."

Wow ... it's good to be a FIFA lacky.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Why the red card? The goalkeeper played the ball (of the fan).

For those who have not seen, check out the video below of Ajax and AZ Alkmaar, where Costa Rican international Esteban Alvarado fought back against a pitch invader in the 37th minute of the match, and was sent off by the referee for kicking the 19-year-old fan to the ground.

My sole question is simple. Do the LOTG support the Alvarado send off?
My sole answer is even simpler. Yes.

So where does it say that?
Let's start in Law 12 under "Sending-off Offenses." There are (7) of them, any come to mind?

One answer may be "serious foul play." Does that work?
Absolutely not.

Why you ask? Because serious foul play is reserved for when the ball is in play (which this was), but the action has to be committed against an opponent, inside the field of play, during play, when challenging for the ball. Most of these last requirements were not met.

How about "violent conduct?" That to me is how this one should be written up as it meets the requirements which are (from the LOTG, with my emphasis in bold.):

Violent conduct
A player is guilty of violent conduct if he uses excessive force or brutality against an opponent when not challenging for the ball.

He is also guilty of violent conduct if he uses excessive force or brutality against a team-mate, spectator, match official or any other person.

Violent conduct may occur either on the field of play or outside its boundaries, whether the ball is in play or not.

There are a couple of things to note here. First, you can't send off a fan. Cautions and send-offs are for players and substitutes ONLY. A referee can take action on "team officials" however they are "expel(led)", not "sent off." A fan is in the purview of the local authorities.

A referee has a duty however to "stops, suspends or abandons the match because of outside interference of any kind", and "ensures that no unauthorized persons enter the field of play." So while the Alkmaar coach took his players off the field (and I agree with him), the referee had the power to do the same. Also, and as a practical matter, referees at this level cede authority of preventing unauthorized access to the field to the local authorities as well.

I'm going to offer an opinion on this one and say I agree 100% with the referee.

Why you ask?

Because if the player pushed the fan away and that was it, even landed a shot (as Alvarado did) to get the guy off him, no problem. No caution, no nothing, just drop the ball (for the outside interference) and get on with it. At that level I may also have a chat with security at halftime (8 minutes away) to get a better security presence or I may abandon the match.

BUT, when Alvarado took not one, but two nasty kicks at another who was on the ground and defenseless, he had to go. This referee IMHO did exactly the right thing is removing brutal behavior from The Game. Yes, it was provoked by an attack on the Goalkeeper, and yes, it could have ended when the fan was on the pitch and the alternate referee came in to grab him, and yes violence needs to be removed from The Game, not just player on player.

Need another example of violent conduct? Here is a great one. This guy didn't even leave the stands.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011: Year of FIFA scandals

London - Soccer in 2011 was dominated by events off the field rather than on it.

Barcelona and Lionel Messi continued to provide some of the most sparkling performances in the sport's long history and Uruguay further overshadowed Brazil and Argentina at the top of the South American game, but headlines around the world were dominated by allegations of corruption and bribery at FIFA.

The sport's governing body was beset by allegations as behind-the-scenes politicking was thrust into the spotlight by the fallout from its 2010 decision to give future World Cup tournaments to Russia and Qatar. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of Sport24.

Kicking Back Comments: A sad state of affairs really. Once can only hope that 2012 will bring much needed change to governance of The Game.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NEVER Touch A Youth Player

Don't believe me, ask Mike Milbury.

Milbury sought in Pee Wee altercation

Former Bruins player and coach Mike Milbury may face charges for allegedly grabbing and shaking a 12-year-old boy after a Pee Wee hockey game, according to Brookline police. The incident occurred Dec. 9 after an exhibition game between the Boston Jr. Blackhawks and the Boch Blazers at Jack Kirrane Ice Skating Rink in Larz Anderson Park. ...

See the whole article here, from the Boston Globe.

Kicking Back Comments: So let me begin by saying I am not  commenting on the case itself as it will bear itself out in the days ahead.

More relevant is the clear message that you can't put your hands on a youth player, regardless of your intent. Now, amateur and pro players are a different ball of wax, but the youth, don't do it. No matter how well intentioned, no matter how well natured, no matter what, don't do it.

It may be for all the right reasons such as to help a player up, to break up a fight, to attend to an injury. DON'T DO IT.

One time, you are going to run into a crazy parent who will, regardless of your intent, demonize you and press charges calling it a battery (you have to make contact for a battery, an assault is just putting someone in fear of being touched), just don't do it.

Keep in mind too, everyone has a smart phone, everyone has a camera, and will collect "evidence" that will be used against you, and your insurance company in a court if law, a tort action, or just to make you miserable. DON'T DO IT.

As sad as it makes me to say that, it continues to be clear that people are not looking at the big picture of one person trying to help another, but what "harm" has come to their child.

Save yourself the trouble, and don't touch a youth player, ever.

Need a video example ... take a look immediately below. Listen to the comments from the stands too.

On a side note with the case, the Brookline PD did not do themselves any favors in commenting. From the article:

"Brookline police captain Thomas Keaveney said that with four children that have played sports, it doesn’t surprise him to receive reports a former professional hockey player getting involved in an alleged assault.

“I’ve seen a lot of irresponsible things done by adults and Mike Milbury is no different in my mind,’’ said Keaveney."

Now if I am Milbury's lawyer I am bring this front and center about bias toward his client that the Brookline PD has. Now in his playing days he was no angel as you can see below where he beat up a fan with a shoe at MSG, but you know what, that is a long way from what he is being accused of, so please BPD and others of the same mindset, throttle back a bit and give the man his day.

BTW, great vintage hockey clip. Classic stuff.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Are the Swiss Done?

FIFA threaten to expel Swiss from world football if they fail to punish Sion

FIFA have threatened to ban Switzerland from world football if their FA fail to punish Sion for breaking the game’s laws.

And if world chiefs push ahead with plans to exile the Swiss it could lead to Manchester United landing a shock Champions League reprieve.

Sion have been at war with FIFA over a transfer ban dished out in 2009 for breaking regulations when they signed Egyptian keeper Essam El-Hadary.

They thought the embargo had ended this summer and splashed out on six new signings. ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of Daily Record.

Kicking Back Comments: Do as I say and not as I do? A reasonable (yet belated) attempt to enforce transfer bans, or FIFA being heavy handed by threatening to stop the Swiss from playing all together?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Expect the Unexpected: High School Football Version

I've said it before, but this is a new one, even for me.

What was that line from Hill Street Blues? Be Careful Out There?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's worth the click

For those of us affiliated with US Soccer, information at times has been hard to come by, and sometimes not available at all.

I received an EMail the other day reminding me just how good a job US Soccer, specifically the refereeing arm, is doing with regard to putting timely and relevant information up on its web site.

If you don't have this linked, you should, and it can be found here at the US Soccer website.

I'm glad too, for if you take a look at the Socialnomics video below, they would be missing a huge segment of the population if US Soccer didn't take this step, or fail to keep up.

Take a peek below ... it might blow you away.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Not soccer related, but interesting none the less

RadioShack-Nissan-Trek announces lineup for 2012

RadioShack-Nissan-Trek for 2012
Jan Bakelants (BEL)
Daniele Bennati (ITA)
George Bennett (NZL)
Matthew Busche (USA)
Fabian Cancellara (SUI)
Laurent Didier (LUX)
Jakob Fuglsang (DEN)
Tony Gallopin (FRA)
Linus Gerdemann (GER)
Ben Hermans (BEL)
Chris Horner (USA)
Markel Irizar (ESP)
Ben King (USA)
Andreas Klöden (GER)
Tiago Machado (POR)
Maxime Monfort (BEL)
Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA)
Nelson Oliveira (POR)
Yaroslav Popovych (UKR)
Joost Posthuma (NED)
Gregory Rast (SUI)
Thomas Rohregger (AUT)
Hayden Roulston (NZL)
Andy Schleck (LUX)
Fränk Schleck (LUX)
Jesse Sergent (NZL)
Jens Voigt (GER)
Robert Wagner (GER)
Oliver Zaugg (SUI)
Haimar Zubeldia (ESP)

General manager: Johan Bruyneel
Team directors: Kim Andersen, José Azevedo, Dirk Demol, Alain Gallopin, Luca Guercilena and Lars Michaelsen
Press officers: Philippe Maertens and Tim Vanderjeugd

Source: Velo News

Friday, December 16, 2011

This guy should have read yesterday's post

Jerry Sandusky’s new lawyer: Maybe he was just teaching kids how to properly apply soap in the shower

Alternate headline: “Surprisingly, Joe Amendola not the worst lawyer on Sandusky’s team.”

We need something to help us clear our minds ahead of tonight’s debate. Let me assure you: This’ll do it. ...

See the whole story here, from Hot Air.

Kicking Back Comments: Here is a fact if life, and refereeing as sport is a subset of life (not the other way around).


Thursday, December 15, 2011

1-800-OOH-$*IT !!!

With an obvious play on what Jerry Sandusky's lawyer, Joe Amendola said to the media regarding facts around  Mr.Sandusky's child rape case, (see here for the story) there is a huge lesson in there for referees. First is not to hire someone as exquisitely unconventional as Joe Amendola, second (and relevant) is:

Know what you are going to say, before you say it.

Let's face it, referees take a lot of crap, but there are times that we are asked genuine questions too, ones that we should answer. Not the "how can that be a foul?", questions, but more the "direct or indirect?", "who was offside?", or "how much time is left?" questions.

My thought here dear refereeing friends, is answer very carefully as anything you say CAN and WILL be used against use in the court of public opinion, and even in a report to the league or federation. It is critical that you communicate with players and answer their questions at times when genuine. Here are a couple of specific thoughts:

First, if you are asked about your opinion, "what was that?", don't paint yourself into a box. "An direct/indirect kick" should be sufficient in most cases. If not, couch the answer as an opinion, "I though they handled the ball." Nothing fancy, no long discussion. Quick answer and move on as quick as you can.

Second, downtime can be trouble. Keep the match moving as best you can to limit running conversations. Less is more in this regard. If there is an injury, attend to the player and focus on them, not the conversation.

Third, don't let a conversation get away from you. If you decide to engage a player in conversation, make sure it does not devolve into a shouting match. Keep it brief, and keep it positive.

Fourth, know the LOTG cold. A referee stands to really embarrass themselves and damage their credibility if they are discovered not understanding the LOTG. A better play is to avoid the whole discussion if possible.

Lastly, don't be afraid to talk about non-soccer stuff before, during, and after!! Many times I would talk about pitch condition, weather, stadium, family, kids ... whatever, with players. This is great as it builds the bonds that are the underpinning of high level match control.

In all cases, think about your responses before they leave your mouth. You can't take them back, and they can be very damaging to you, and others. Just ask Mr. Amendola.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Every Microphone is live

This my friends is a lesson to remember for us all. Especially in the face of everyone having a device on their hip that can record video and sound in High Definition at a moments notice.

I personally have been caught more than once either "communicating" to a player in a direct manner (damn field mics), or slacking off at a game I thought no one was watching and somehow the tape made its way to US Soccer.

Always, always, always, assume you are being recorded when refereeing. It will just go easier for you in the long run.

Bad things can happen if you forget, as was evidenced recently by Tatyana Limanova being caught on camera "communicating" when she thought the video was off.

Russian newsreader Tatyana Limanova makes insulting gesture at Obama

A top Russian female newsreader has caused a stir after appearing to offensively show US President Barack Obama her middle finger during a live newscast.

Online footage of the incident, which occurred earlier this month during an afternoon news bulletin on the privately held REN TV channel, is being avidly viewed in both Russia and the United States.

In the footage, Tatyana Limanova, an award-winning senior newsreader at the channel, can be seen briskly reading out an item about how Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has just assumed the rotating chairmanship of the Asia Pacific Cooperation organisation. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of The Telegraph.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Right from the horse's ass

Sepp Blatter: Mistakes were made, some of them horrific, but we are determined to remedy the ills of the past

Dear readers of insideworldfootball

On the occasion of the 13th edition of the International Football Arena (IFA) conference in Zurich, on November 7 and 8, I will present updates and reflections that underline our road towards a different FIFA. The 200 opinion leaders from around the world, gathered at the IFA, will witness our determination to remedy the ills of the past, and how we intend to improve the way we do business. Through this column, I want to share some of the thoughts presented in Zurich with a much broader public so as to stress the relevance I give to the changes that are presently happening at FIFA. ...

Read the whole farcical tale here, courtesy of Inside World Football.

Kicking Back Comments: ... and I have some land in Florida to sell you. Please send $19.95 cash for your deed to the land. Send these monies to the following:

Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)
Headquarters: FIFA House, 11 Hitzigweg, 8030 Zurich, Switzerland

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Upgrade Kudos

As we have done here in the past, I would like to congratulate Richard Williams and Moulay Ridaoui, who have recently been upgraded to Grade 7 (Referee 1st Class).

Well done!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

All that and live images of the lunar eclipse

Only a slap?

Lamine Diack, Issa Hayatou: Only a slap

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Two senior African members escaped without serious sanction from the IOC on Thursday in the ethics scandal that led to the resignation of former FIFA president Joao Havelange.

IAAF president Lamine Diack of Senegal received a warning and African soccer head Issa Hayatou of Cameroon was given a reprimand after an investigation by the Olympic body's ethics commission. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of ESPN.

Kicking Back Comments: So from the IOC report, and the article, it would seem that timing matters greatly here. As the bribes were taken before these folks were IOC members, it is okay and the IOC is choosing not to act.

I said it the other day ... what a world we live in where integrity is a luxury, not a requirement in such positions. How very sad a state indeed. Allowed to continue in their position even with such ethical transgressions in their recent past.

This part of the article really caught my eye:
The ISL case was the subject of a Swiss criminal trial in 2008. FIFA has blocked the court in Zug from revealing which officials repaid $6.1 million in kickbacks. The officials repaid the money on condition that their identities remained anonymous.

Any guesses who is on that list?

Friday, December 9, 2011

From one who knows directly

Blatter under pressure – again!

The past few weeks have not been good for FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

Firstly he became involved in the racism issues which involve two high profile Barclays Premier League players – Luis Suarez of Liverpool and England and Chelsea captain John Terry.

His suggestion that that racial discrimination could be settled with a handshake might have been non-controversial in most countries but in England, where these cases are still being investigated by the FA and feature prominently in the media, it lit a blue touch paper of outrage. ...

See the whole story here, from the blog of George Cummings.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My dad made me do it

Wayne Rooney father’s arrest to be used in Football Association's plea for clemency over Euro 2012 ban

The Football Association is considering whether to inform a Uefa appeal panel on Friday that Wayne Rooney’s father was arrested on the day before the game in which he was sent off for kicking out at an opponent as it seeks to have his three-game ban reduced. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of The Telegraph.

Kicking Back Comments: Are you *beeping* me? This boarders on "my dog ate my homework!" 

Now, if the arrest was for something traumatic like a crime of violence, or something that could result in great harm for his dad, I think the lawyers who are preparing his case have a reasonable shot.

After all, and this is a good lesson, everybody takes baggage into the field with them. If they can deal with it and play (or referee) is the hallmark of a pro. We are fools to think that everyone leads such a charmed life that "real life" does not impact matches. There are a few fools from previous administrations of US Soccer and others, who have washed out referees thinking they knew better than the referees who were dealing with off the field issues.

That aside, what was Roo's dad pinched for? Betting on soccer matches. In fact he was only detained.
From the article:
... Rooney’s state of mind was affected by the arrest, on the eve of the match, of his father, Wayne Snr, by police investigating alleged betting irregularities in football matches.Rooney Snr was one of eight men detained on conspiracy to defraud and was later released on bail.
... and THAT should give Rooney a pass for kicking someone in the way he did? Please.

IMHO, if he really wants to be a leader, take the 3 matches and say "sorry." I also recognize that it is likely not his decision, and the FA "wheels of justice" are turning over Roo where he will sit and look good, and have a canned response crafted by FA lawyers when called on.

I do believe however that at the end of all of this the ban is going to get reduced. Why?


Any way you cut it Roo is a punk (for now), and a great player, and UEFA wants butts in the seats.

My question is, if a substitute did this (I won't even go down the referee route), would the FA send 4 lawyers to actively work the case, or just be quiet and let the lad hang for 3 (or more) matches?

Simple answer.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The air gets thin up there

As a follow up to Babak Rafati, the FIFA referee who tried to take his own life right before a German 1st division match take a look at, "Bundesliga referee Babak Rafati diagnosed with depression", from In it we see one look into the pressure facing a FIFA referee who stated through his lawyer:
"Growing pressure for him to perform as a referee and the media pressure linked to that, combined with the constant fear of making mistakes, became a bigger and bigger burden," a statement from lawyer Sven Menke read. "This burden, at some point, made everyday problems seem insoluble and, in the end, he no longer felt able to cope with it."
Now when asked to speak about what it was like to a National and Professional League Referee for the time I did, I sometimes describe it as breathing "rarefied air", or sometimes "very thin air." There is a tremendous amount of pressure to perform regularly at these levels and one needs to be mentally prepared for that as they step onto that stage. There is no getting around this fact.

I say this as I recognize that it took great courage for Mr. Rafati to confront his condition head on and give such a clear statement about how he felt. It is rare to have one be so honest and personal about what they are going through, especially when one must act as a pillar of strength for those who rely on him.

While it is my genuine hope he will return to The Game in better health, it is also my sad suspicion he will not, as there is no getting around the very palpable, and very intense pressures bestowed on referees at that level, and sadly the stigma that generally accompanies mental conditions. You think its cruel when players call your gender into question ... imagine calling ones mental state into question. It may be a bridge too far.

Air at that level gets very thin, and ones survival is conditional on acclimating quickly or descending before getting hypoxic. Of course there are two ways down, under ones own power, or another's. The latter generally occurring without consent of the party descending and usually leads to great suffering.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Another Day, another FIFA corruption probe

Joao Havelange, FIFA Pillar, Resigns From Olympic Commitee Amid Corruption Allegations

Joao Havelange, a president of international soccer’s governing body for 24 years, stepped down from the Olympics after serving there for nearly a half century.

The Associated Press reported the resignation Sunday, and it was confirmed on Monday to the AP by the International Olympic Committee and Fédération Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA. There are more reports herehere and here. ...

See the full story here, courtesy of the WSJ.

Kicking Back Comments: I'll be honest, I used to revere Dr. Havelange. He was the man in power when I was just discovering the international game and I saw him for the position he represented. I was so smitten with The Game at that time I probably would have forgiven him if he was guilty of something. Based on the story, it would sure seem that way. I'll be honest too that there is no place for corruption, but I have no need to see a 95 year old man dragged through the mud. He may deserve it for what he had done, but I am more reflective about the man's age. A double standard possibly as Sepp is no spring chicken to be sure and I have made my position clear that I have no use for the man in his official capacity.

However, Ricardo Teixeira is another matter completely. Leading the 2014 World Cup and alleged to be taking bribes ... hmmmm. Some have even said if the games go well he is a clear successor to Sepp after 2014. Well, like Sepp, I have no use for corruption in The Game, and if this investigation bears out that Teixeira was indeed taking bribes, I would think sane minds would automatically exclude him from the FIFA presidency, or for that matter continuing as the heads of 2014.

Then again I live in a state when things like this are a regular happenstance, and all is forgiven.

Interesting times indeed when integrity is a luxury and not a necessity.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Xbox 360’s FIFA Phishing Continues Unabated

Since October, we've heard anecdotal accounts of Xbox Live members finding suspicious purchases on their credit cards and learning their accounts had been recovered to another machine. Now it's happened to a games writer—just this past week. Dan Crawley of VentureBeat provides a detailed rundown of exactly what happened, and in the process asks some detailed questions of Microsoft. ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of

Kicking Back Comments: Rumors that Sepp himself is the party responsible for phishing for credit card numbers via the XBox game are of course, false. He is after all far too busy scamming others in far more lucrative ways, IMHO.

An interesting story however for those of us who play in the electronic world as well as the real one.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I was just kidding, but somehow knew ...

... video would be out there of the topless protest.


Here is the actual protest from Inside World Soccer, You Tube video is linked at the bottom of that article.

Can we get some video please?

Ukrainian Activists Go Topless in Prostitution Protest Ahead of Euro 2012 Soccer Draw

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian women's rights activists went topless Friday outside Kiev's Olympic Stadium to rally against alleged attempts to legalize prostitution during next summer's Euro 2012 soccer tournament.

Five half-naked demonstrators from the Femen group held up signs saying "Euro 2012 without prostitution," "Euro 2012 attacked our gates" and "F*cking Euro 2012," in front of the entrance to the stadium, while miniature soccer balls dangled on strings attached to their underwear.

See the whole story here, courtesy of Fox News.

Kicking Back Comments: Let me state that I too support "Euro 2012 without prostitution", as well as the creative method of messaging the point.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Transparency my a$$$$$$$$$$$ ...

Anti-corruption watchdog cuts ties with FIFA

KIEV, Ukraine—Global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has ended its working relationship with FIFA because past allegations of wrongdoing in world soccer won't be investigated.

Sylvia Schenk, TI's sports adviser, said Thursday she was "just astonished" that its conditions for joining a FIFA panel overseeing anti-corruption reforms were not accepted. ...

See the whole story here, from

Kicking Back Comments: Election over. Blatter wins. Send in the (FIFA) paid mouthpieces. 'Nothing to see here', they say. 'Move along', they demand.

Amazing. Simply amazing. 


Thursday, December 1, 2011

... and while we're on Law 4

So yesterday we asked the question about the use of helmets and the effect of Law 4 on them in, "Soccer is bad for your health?"

Well here is a twist on this question ... can a referee wear a helmet if they want to? Or for that matter other equipment that may be dangerous to another? How about hats or long pants?

The answer dear friends, is no. And it's even in the LOTG.

First, take a look at my previous post of "What's a snood, and why is FIFA banning them?" Pretty straight forward, yes?

Now, please take a look at "Snood, You Lose", from HK Referee, and we are treated to pictures of FIFA referees, yes FIFA referees, wearing snoods.

Now, besides the fact that they look silly on a referee, why not wear them if practical you may ask?

Well first, it immediately sets up a "do as I say, not as I do" paradox between the players and referee. After all, why shouldn't the referee follow the LOTG as well? After all, they are responsible for enforcing them.

A better answer is actually in the LOTG itself. Take a look at the interpretation section which states:
"Referees are also prohibited from wearing jewelry (except for a watch or similar device for timing the match)."

Why would that be you ask? Likely to protect players from harm in a collision with a referee. So here, not only would jewelry apply, but also a dangerous item like a snood.

I would opine that the same applies to the dress and appearance of a referee. It would seem hypocritical to have it any other way. HK Referee and I agree on this one.

After all, we are there to enforce the laws by example first, and action as needed, second.