Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fair and Balanced Indeed

Sepp Blatter, Rupert Murdoch meet after FIFA, Fox seal $425M World Cup TV deal

ZURICH — FIFA President Sepp Blatter met with News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch on Thursday, weeks after their organizations signed a $425 million broadcast deal.

Murdoch later wrote on Twitter that he’d been “with the big chiefs of soccer,” describing FIFA as an “amazing organization.” ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of The Washington Post.

Kicking Back Comments: KA-CHING!!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Not Running A Hospital Strikes Again ...

... with more cunning insight about youth soccer, and its inevitable collision with parenting. Paul Levy again shares his experiences with us about the two, through the lens of a soccer referee.

You can see the whole story here from Not Running a Hospital.

Please follow him at:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

It stays in the family I guess

John Parry from Akron Ohio has been named referee for Super Bowl 46.

Michigan City native John Parry will be the head referee for Super Bowl XLVI, to be played Feb. 5 in Indianapolis.

Parry, son of the late Dave Parry, also served as an official in Super Bowl XLI between the Bears and Colts.

Parry’s father also officiated in a Super Bowl and was instrumental in collegiate officiating as well, including being the head of the NCAA referees prior to his death in May of 2011. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of the Herald Argus.

Kicking Back Comments: I am a big fan of refereeing families. I think it gives rise to a fantastic "built in" support system. I have many, many fond memories of interactions (i.e. debates) with my dad about the LOTG and their application from the in-town leagues I used to do, straight through to the international level.

Funny to that I am beginning to probe to see if Jr. would want to work some in-town matches. That will be a story unto itself I am sure.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

TMT Episode 4: Fitness Part 2 of 5

Download it below, or at right from the iTunes Store.

Two Minute Tips: Surviving to Thriving on the Pitch

Friday, January 27, 2012

How to get into college 101

For those of you who follow @Kicking_Back, you may have caught this retweet last week.

Some background:

When applying for college it is often required that the applicant write an essay on a particular topic, or sometimes the topic of their choice. This is intended to be used both as a writing exemplar for administrators to determine the capacity of the prospective student, as well as to genuinely learn something about the individual. After all, diversity is key for many college admissions and if it looks like you have done or will do something exemplary, a college is more likely to admit you, in my estimation.

Enter the below piece from a Maryland referee entering college. She describes most aptly what I am sure many of us have felt in part going through the "Youth Soccer Gauntlet" as I like to call it.

Take a read below, it is well worth it.

Thoughts of a Youth Referee

I am addicted. Sometimes I wish I could quit, but every time I lace up, my blood starts rushing, my palms start sweating, and I can’t think of doing anything else.

That’s what soccer does to me. That’s what soccer does for me. Even when it’s hard and ugly, when I’m the focus of hate and on the receiving end of angry insults from people who are older and who should know better, as a referee, I can not shrink. ...

See the complete story here, at Marylandreferees.com.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Bees left baffled by referee's decision

TREVOR Senior was left flabbergasted after his side made the 150-mile round trip to Brislington on Saturday for absolutely nothing.

The Bees arrived at Ironmould Lane just minutes after being told the referee had deemed the pitch too dangerous to play on – a conclusion both teams strongly refute.

Senior told Echosport: “It was an absolute joke. We got the call to say the referee had called the game off when we were just five minutes away from the ground. ...

See the whole story here, from DorsetEcho.

Kicking Back Comments: Abandoning a match due to pitch conditions can be a tricky thing. At the very young ages it can be easy as often the decision is made my other (usually in-town) people. If for some reason it is not, err on the side of safety which is the primary concern for the youth player. Nets that are not anchored, large amounts of standing water, grass that is way to tall (I've seen this one) are all legitimate reasons to not play a match. With youth and with the amateur matches, be accommodating if you can. If there is an adjacent field that is fine, play that one. If there is a broom to sweep water, or kitty litter to soak it up, do it ... if it can be done safely and in the time frame that requires the match to start, or close to it.

Know however that even if a team is traveling a great distance (as this story describes) and the pitch is not ready, ultimately it is not the fault of the referee, but of the home team. Don't be afraid to remind an opposing team's manager of that if your judgement is questioned when abandoning a match due to the pitch conditions.

Even easier than the youth level is the professional or international level where the grounds are generally beautiful, and if there are adjustments that need to be made, there is a staff on hand to do so.

That is a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Don't Get Cute ...

... it will cost you. Just ask Marco Antonio Rodriguez, FIFA referee from Mexico.

Mexican ref Marco Antonio Rodriguez nets a 5 game ban for showboating
Mexico’s FA this week banned referee Marco Antonio Rodriguez for his showboating antics during last season’s Apertura final between Tigres-Santos.

The second leg of the final, held in December 2011, was a complete mess from an officiating standpoint as ref Rodriguez splashed seven yellow cards and three red cards during the 90 minutes. One incident, however, stood out from the rest in the farce. ...

See the whole story here, from 101greatgoals.com.

Kicking Back Comments: Here is the picture:

He's lucky he only got (5) games. The Mexican FA's work may have saved Rodriguez more grief from FIFA. Also, if he was not the Mexican refereeing legend he was, he may not have a badge today.

I admit, it is cute, but there is a time and place, and this was neither.

Monday, January 23, 2012

It's Recertification Time!

It is an exceptionally busy time for the Massachusetts State Referee Committee right now as we enter the time of year for certifying, or re-certifying referees, assessors, instructors, mentors, and assignors. So busy in fact there are approximately 1.5 events per day for the next 9 weeks!!

A complete course listing of what is offered can be found here from the MSRC.

Ever wanted to be a referee?
Now is the time!

Ever wanted to become certified as an assessor, instructor, assigner, or mentor?
Now is the time!

Ever wanted to drag a parent or friend to teach them the LOTG?
Now is the time!

Everybody get where I am going?
Now is the time!

Spring is right around the corner, and now is the time to do the administrative stuff to make ready for it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Scudamore: Hard to respect FIFA

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore believes it is "very hard to have huge regard for FIFA" after the organisation's difficulties over the past year.

A controversial bidding process for the right to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups was beset by allegations of corruption, leading to a long period of soul-searching for president Sepp Blatter.

Former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam was handed a lifetime ban for bribery in July while Jack Warner, a FIFA vice-president and president of the confederation governing football in North and Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF), resigned from all football activity in June having been charged with the same offence. ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of ESPN.

Kicking Back Comments: A reasonable view from Richard. My question is, short of removing Blatter, what can FIFA do to repair its image?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

TMT Episode 3: Fitness Part 1 of 5

Download it below, or at right from the iTunes Store.

Two Minute Tips: Surviving to Thriving on the Pitch

Friday, January 20, 2012

Carpe Cerveza!! - Says FIFA

This is funny on the surface, but a real issue for FIFA.

Brasil law (not a suggestion or a stadium rule) their LAW, states that no beer, or for that matter alcohol, is to be served at matches. A reason would seem clear that there are security concerns with dealing with a large groups of inebriated fan(atics).

Makes sense, right? Not to FIFA.

Check out this story from Yahoo where FIFA demands, not politely asks, that alcoholic drinks will be part of the World Cup. Look at the quotes from the Secratary General from FIFA, Jerome Valcke, in the linked story.

So Brasil is now being asked to amend its sovereign law to accommodate the money making machine that is FIFA. Amazing b@**$ power FIFA has to alter the very fabric of how a sovereign country does business to line their pocket.

At least they will make money, and keep their FIFA World Cup sponsor Budweiser happy.

By the way, the match schedule is out for WC14, and can be found here (pdf).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Got a question? Be careful of the answer!

Like with many things, you can find an amazing amount of information from the internet. I use it often to find a great amount of "stuff" about a great number of topics.

One should however be very careful in how they approach using this information. For example (and I have personal knowledge of this one), take a look at the Wikipedia article for chicken salad here. Looks good right? Authentic?

It's a spoof from guys that I work with. A complete fabrication.

I can almost hear the Wikipedia police knocking now ...

Same is true about refereeing information. There are lots of sources for information. For example:

AskTheref is an interesting potpourri of questions and answers. Mark Sprenger, Grade 8 referee from CA is the author of the site and does a nice job fielding a wide array of questions, from a wide audience.

The Big Soccer Referee Forum seems to dispense advice as well. Some of which is really good IMHO. Again a wide array of topics (and some inside info at times) to a wide array of folks. Careful here though because even many of the "insiders" get the LOTG or the rumor mill badly wrong.

Absolutely worth reading is You Are The Ref  from The Guardian. Excellent questions, and excellent answers generally from Keith Hackett, arguably one of the best football referees - ever.

We also have Ask A Soccer Referee which is authored by some serious refereeing firepower and is one of the very few official places to get answers to your refereeing questions.

We then get into other blogs of note such as HK Referee who has some truly excellent stuff by way of refereeing analysis and George Cumming blog ... a man who has written the LOTG, not just enforced them.

Then you get to guys like me at Kicking Back who try not to dispense advice, but more to think about why a referee is doing what they are doing. I personally like to challenge perspective with an opinion.

So where does this leave us in the soup of information?

First friends, study the LOTG, Policies and Procedures, and Administrative materials for referees. For those of us involved in US Soccer, look here.

Regarding all the rest, be careful what you chose to use as advice. Punditry is one thing, read that all day long. For me it is an endless source of entertainment to read what other people feel about referees.

For what to implement in your matches however, be very careful to use official information. Much of what you can find online today is not of that quality, or is outdated.

This unofficial information has its place, but is no substitute for the real deal.

Don't Dig In

So here is an excellent lesson that I have learned in the past and was reminded of last night.

If you make a mistake, correct it, and move on.

From my post yesterday "Nice to see it happens everywhere, not just in MLS as some opine", while my underlying point was sound (it was an opinion), I made a second point based on fact that I screwed up on. (Special thanks to Ian for pointing out that MU WON their match 3 - 0, not lost as I had indicated, and again my apologies to Sir Alex.)

I screwed up, and instead of hiding it (real easy in the blogging world) I wanted to openly correct it. Same is true inside the field.

It is fairly easy to not correct a decision (like a throw in) and take it and go on from there. There are (2) reasons why IMHO this correction is critical:
  1. It gets the underlying issue correct. For fundamental fairness this is critical. Clearly we are there to administer decisions inside the field the way they are supposed to go. Now I am not talking about making a judgement call, I am talking about the black and white decisions that we all have blown now and again. We need to get these right if at all possible.
  2. It demonstrates to the players that we are human. As humans we make mistakes and it's okay to remind players and coaches of that too. Now that said, it is a fine line and one can not certainly go through a match apologizing, but if there is a genuine issue we should.
A note on mechanics here ... if we do reverse a decision (lets saw a throw in) we need to give the teams time to react to the change. As a referee, do not be a "12th man" by allowing a quick throw or kick to give an advantage to the initially wronged team. This restart needs to be ceremonial in nature and may incur additional wrath. It will however be no where near the wrath faced if we sit idly by and allow the mistake to stand in the first place.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nice to see it happens everywhere, not just in MLS as some opine

We need refereeing consistency demands Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes that there needs to be more consistency in refereeing decisions.

Ferguson was speaking after his side had beaten Bolton Wanderers 3-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday.

He was unhappy that referee Peter Walton, who awarded United a penalty in the 21st minute which was subsequently saved, did not send off Zat Knight for illegally denying a clear goalscoring opportunity. ...

See the whole story here, from Click-Manchester.com

Kicking Back Comments: So there are two sides to this. First is, a 3-0 loss win is frankly hard to pin on a referee. In a case like this I would think an initial comment would be one of introspection, not blame I think Sir Alex got it mostly right, and was my mistake for thinking otherwise initially as I had the score reversed. Due apologies to Sir Alex (I think my bias just showed through). Second, fairly often we hear a chorus of "experts" saying that what the MLS needs is Eurpoean referees to come in and be more consistent. Well guess what, Sir Alex may want to consider hiring some MLS guys for consistency.

Yes I recognize (now more than before) these two points are in conflict, which is what makes the whole thing funny to me in the first place.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

FIFA12 House Cleaning ... Including Roo

So as part of my "day job" I am involved in managing a line of business that produces among other things, software. Over the last few days I have been running across just how incredibly well FIFA12 is doing and was thinking I should have gone into gaming software, not the stuff I currently do. Kidding of course, but it continues to amaze me how well the FIFA franchise is doing.

Take a look here at "FIFA 12 claims sixth week at top of UK charts", where FIFA12 is just rolling over everybody else in the UK. Also from several articles, we find out that FIFA12 is becoming the largest sports game in history with a 23% year on year increase in sales to FIFA11.

Now the last stactistics that really caught my attention were from videoganmer.com.

"Four weeks into the launch, we have hosted 271 million online games, an increase of 105 per cent over last year. Fans are currently playing an average of 94 million minutes per day of FIFA 12 online. These numbers can be confusing so let me provide some context."

Yes he said 94 million minutes of FIFA12 per day. Yeah that equates to about 65,000 people playing 24 hours a day. (I need to find what Jr. is up to =/)

"One month after FIFA 12 launched in stores, the game is still on the console tray and thus still generating incremental revenue. Players are rewriting our assumptions about their traditional decay curve. They're playing longer, they're more engaged and they are eager to spend in order to extend the experience."

Do you think these guys at EA Sports have this one wired?

Finally, and funny, was this article how Roo lost the Ballon d'Ore (I though he had it personally), but how he then lost to a 17 year old Portuguese teenager in a FIFA12 match. Afterward Roo was apparently making excuses about how he was not able to play as much as he would have liked.

To which frankly I say good (as I do with Jr.) as I would rather see them both kick a real ball around, than a video image of one.

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 Northeast Regional Futsal Championships - Finals Today!!

Today was one of those times that goofing around in my backyard I found buried treasure.

It came in the form of the 2012 Regional Futsal Tournament going on in Brookline (MA) that was going on over the last couple of days. Similar to the outdoor Youth Regionals we all know, love, and have talked about here, this is the futsal equivalent, and the finals to see who is going to the National tournament held February 18 - 20 in Overland Park, KS. Check out the promo from US Youth Futsal below.

I was truly fascinated by the refereeing of the game as I had the pleasure to watch FIFA referees Shane Butler and Jason Krnac work a match first thing Sunday morning. Both have represented the US for CONCACAF appointments and Jason represented the US as a referee at the 2008 Futsal World Cup in Brasil.

I had the opportunity to speak at length with both referees and found them both to be tremendous referees as well as truly interesting people. I would not be surprised to see an interview here with one or both detailing their experience with The Game.

Jason Krnac at 2012 Northeast Regional Futsal Championships
It was a fantastic experience for me, so much so that I have begun a series of stories about futsal, how to become a referee (I think I am on the hook for that one now), some of the differences in how US Soccer administers these referees as compared to outdoor referees (this was fascinating to me), and what I belive are some distinct advantages to being both a futsal and outdoor referee.

So if you are in the Boston area, come on down to the Park School at 171 Goddard Avenue in Brookline, MA starting at 8:00 AM on the 16th, check out some great referees, great play, and catch the bug like I did today.

General and schedule information can be found here, on the Massachusetts Futsal Association site, or at Twitter @FutsalMA.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Upgrade Kudos

As we have done here in the past, I would like to congratulate Steve Dileo and Ken Koopmans, who have recently been upgraded to Grade 5 (State Referee 1st Class).

While all upgrades are worth mentioning, this particular move to a Grade 5 is particularly noteworthy. With this move it most clearly demonstrates the commitment these folks have to The Game. Now in full disclosure I have the pleasure of knowing these guys and can attest personally that is true. They are both excellent referees who put a lot into their craft.

Also noteworthy is that Grade 5 is a place where a referee has to make a real decision. National or not? Some may say this decision should have been made earlier, even before going to a Grade 5. I am mixed on the topic as I believe there is a place for "State Nationals" as it were ... the best a state has to offer within its own boarders. There is a place for these referees. These folks are the best within the state that want stay within the state, so to speak.

For others the decision is a mere formality as they already know they want to go on to do games that only a National Badge will let them do.

In all cases it is an event to be celebrated, as with it, these referees enter the top 1% of referees in US Soccer.

Well done!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

TMT Episode 2: Administration

Download it below, or at right from the iTunes Store.

Two Minute Tips: Surviving to Thriving on the Pitch

Friday, January 13, 2012

One Trillion Dollars!!

FIFA vows tough action on match fixing in soccer

(CNN) -- FIFA's head of security has told CNN that match-fixing in soccer is fueled by an illegal gambling market of up to $1 trillion and says governments must work together to stamp out the problem.

Chris Eaton, a former head of international crime agency Interpol, has been tasked by world football's governing body with breaking up a lucrative underground industry. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of CNN as well as the video from CNN below.

Kicking Back Comments: If accurate (and I have no reason to believe it is not), this is an astounding amount of money. This is certainly a serious security concern. No question. I would think a good place to start is within the halls of FIFA itself as there are plenty of allegations to be looked at. Also it may find itself in a better moral position to investigate such crimes (and they are) with cleaner hands.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why not China?

Why China fails at football

Little red card
The telling reasons why, at least in football, China is unlikely to rule the world in the near future

The Buddha tells the people he can fulfil only one of their wishes. Someone asks: “Could you lower the price of property in China so that people can afford it?” Seeing the Buddha frown in silence, the person makes another wish: “Could you make the Chinese football team qualify for a World Cup?” After a long sigh, the Buddha says: “Let’s talk about property prices.” ...

See the complete article here, courtesy of The Economist.

Kicking Back Comments: An interesting read as to why China is failing at football on the worlds stage. A question I continue to ask is, if a country does not have a viable team, do they have viable referees? Which comes first the teams, or the referee, or are they necessarily tied together to accede together on the worlds stage?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Physically Impossible?

Why the ref cannot get offside decisions right

It is just as football fans always suspected. Referees' inadequate eyesight means they can never be sure of getting offside decisions right.

But it may not be the officials' incompetence that is to blame, despite their reputation for needing glasses or a white stick. A soccer-loving GP argues that the rule which has ruled out so many goals should be scrapped because human eyes are just not up to the job of collating all the information needed for split-second verdicts.

Francisco Belda Maruenda, a fan of Real Madrid and his local teams, says applying the offside rule correctly "is beyond the capacity of the human eye, which may explain why so many offside decisions are controversial". In an article in the British Medical Journal today, he suggests the use of freeze-frame television.

But he told the Guardian: "It is obvious that television can be just used in the case of international matches or in Premier League matches but not in the case of regional or young leagues. That is why, as the offside rule cannot be applied scientifically, it should be removed." ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of Guardian.

Kicking Back Comments: I don't buy this on two levels. I don't doubt the science that eyes can not be four places at once, but I would opine they do not need to. (You can access the full article from the BMJ here (subscription required).) First of all, you can always listen to when the ball is struck to determine when you will judge the offside. This can usually be done even at large stadiums. There are times however that this is not possible due to crowd noise, or a subtle touch.

Assuming however that you can not hear what is going on, what is an AR to do in the case of having multiple things to look at?

Well, assuming the entire play is not in the field of view of the AR, and keep in mind, scientifically, the field of view for a human is pretty large (The approximate field of view of a human eye is 95° out, 75° down, 60° in, 60° up. About 12–15° temporal and 1.5° below the horizontal is the optic nerve or blind spot which is roughly 7.5° high and 5.5° wide.[source]), the AR must take "snapshots in time" and infer if a player is offside or not based on ball and player movement. All of this in a second or two. In short, the AR has to put several pictures together to make the call.


No, a reasonable inference based on actual information the AR observes.

It's not easy, and takes lots and lots of practice, but in the case where you can not see everything in one "look", this is what an AR must do to get the call right. This is the magic of the highest level ARs who can do this and get it right.

This may make some folks uncomfortable, especially Mr. Maruenda I would imagine, but guess what, referees don't actually see everything and still make correct calls based on the other (than visual) information given. It is what makes a good referee, a great referee. This is a part of The Game folks, and frankly it is a wonderful thing that a referee has the freedom in the LOTG to "fill gaps" with reasonable inferences to manage a match.

Second place this goes off the rails is the suggestion that Law 11 should be "removed" because it " ... can not be applied scientifically (at all levels)." To which I say nonsense.

Ignoring the approximate 164 years of history with the offside law, to suggest it should not be enforced because the application lacks "scientific basis" (that's really the wrong term as it does have a scientific basis ... a better word may be "precision") I say is nonsense too.

The Game is not a mathematical equation that has a finite outcome, it is a series of interactions and subsequent reactions that unfold before everyone eyes. The Game is art, not science.

That to me is why, it is truly The Beautiful Game.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Incorrect Football Refereeing Decisions to be made Mandatory

In what appears to be a follow up of UEFA President Michel Platini's comments about video technology, a spokesperson for the governing body in European Football made the announcement in a press conference yesterday.

"UEFA has decided to make incorrect referee decisions mandatory, effective from the knock out stages of the UEFA Champions League and the Last-16 of Europa League. This ruling will be applicable to only these 2 tournaments this season. However, starting the 2012-13 season, allleagues and all competitions overseen by UEFA will be required to introduce mandatory referee decisions which are incorrect. This decision was taken up as part of our efforts to drive the organization along the 'totally-not-ridiculous' vision of our legendary President Michel Platini."

See the whole story here, courtesy of The Spoof.

Kicking Back Comments: What's that saying? Funny how art imitates life? 

Monday, January 9, 2012

FIFA suspend Angolan referee Heldér Martins

January 1 - FIFA has suspended the Angolan referee Heldér Martins, the country's Football Federation (FAF) have confirmed.

FAF told the Angolan Press Agency that Martins had been informed of the suspension but that no reason had been given.

The agency reported that they have requested further information from FIFA for the reasoning behind the ban.

See the whole story here, courtesy of Inside World Football.

Kicking Back Comments: The US has in the past "benched" FIFA referees (and others), officially, and not officially by not assigning them to matches.

Frankly they have every right to do so for good cause, and should, to prevent even a whiff of impropriety by a referee on, or off the field. For those of us involved with US Soccer, have you read the Code of Ethics for Referees?

If not, you certainly should. It can be found here in the Administrative Handbook. A worthy read for all referees at all levels.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

More Government Incompetance

Well someone should be very embarrassed over this one. As some may have seen, in celebration of the London 2012 Olympic games, a series of 29 50p coins were released, one per sport.

Well the football (soccer) coin, of which about 500K are in circulation, feebly attempts to explain offside on one side of the coin ... and gets it wrong. Only by about 17 years or so though ... so it was close by government standards.

As you would imaging everyone at the Royal Mint is spinning and believes the coin is "provoking discussion", or is "true" in representing an offside position.

To which I say ... rubbish.

It is true that it is a collectors item however, and I am in the process of getting one for myself. Call me hypocritical.

You can see the full story (and image of the coin) here, from Guardian.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

TMT Episode 1: Goals

Download it below, or at right from the iTunes Store.

Two Minute Tips: Surviving to Thriving on the Pitch

Friday, January 6, 2012

FIFA Hack on Xbox Still Very Much at Issue

Xbox Live 'FIFA hack' concerns continue to escalate, Microsoft states Windows Live ID not compromised

Following an increasing occurrence of Xbox Live account hack reports, we are growing concerned over Microsoft's Windows Live ID system, the only layer of protection between a hacker gaining access to a person's Xbox Live account and their information. In our research, the only consistency we saw across users who were hacked was the general inconsistency of what email and payment method was used on their account. Hotmail, Gmail and school emails were used for their Windows Live ID, while payment methods used were credit cards and PayPal. Other than a compromised Windows Live ID, there wasn't a common thread we could identify. ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of Joystiq.

Kicking Back Comments: In my "day job" I am responsible (in part) for investigations like this. IMHO Microsoft needs to take this a little more seriously or they could find themselves in a world of hurt if a large number of people are stolen from.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

TV Rights for Election Help

Former Official Says FIFA Traded TV Rights for Election Help

The former vice president of soccer’s governing world body said that he was awarded World Cup television rights for as little as $1 in exchange for helping Sepp Blatter win elections for the presidency of FIFA.

Jack Warner, who resigned from FIFA in June amid bribery allegations, said in a statement Thursday that the organization awarded him the 1998 World Cup rights in his native Trinidad & Tobago for $1 after he helped Blatter win a "brutal" campaign to become FIFA president.

A former president of regional body CONCACAF and the Caribbean Football Union, Warner also said he was sold the rights for the 2002 and 2006 World Cups after helping Blatter get re-elected in 2002, and later bought the 2010 and 2014 rights. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of Fox News Latino.

Kicking Back Comments: Now it will get good. "Retirement" has a way of loosening the tongue.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's all in your point of view

So I Tweeted about this over the holiday break ... and on a level this is really quite funny where a University of Arizona fan posed as a referee (specifically the Head Linesman, hence the "H" on his jersey) and after stopping the game on the last play of the first half, proceeded to strip down to a Speedo and ran around inside the field.

Take a look at the video clearly taken from the viewpoint of his compatriots or some incredibly keen eyed fans that should be working for the CIA.

Viewer warning for crude language and nudity.

But dear friends, lets take a look at this clip from the broadcast TV, and folks, these are the same moments in time.

What was the referee (the guy in the white hat) looking at?
You guessed it ... the streaker.

What should have the referee (and for that matter, the whole refereeing team) have been looking at.
You guessed it ... the players.

A question I would have if I was the assessor is why the *BLEEP* in a hotly contested football game are the referees leaving players to their own devices?

In this case the only ones that got it right were the coaches from both teams who got right out there, and the cameraman who was EXCELLENT in showing the spark that caused the whole thing. That cameraman "smelt" what was going on better than the referees.

Shame on the players for causing the incident, and shame on the refereeing team for failing to avoid the incident.

Harsh? Maybe. But at this level and above, there are no excuses for lapses in concentration this poor. Yes even a streaker. You need to be aware all the time.

Let me posit two questions and leave them for thought:

What do YOU as a referee look at when a player is being tended to for an injury (caused by another player)?
Should YOU be looking at something else instead?