Sunday, September 30, 2012

All Done ...

NFL refs approve eight-year deal, scramble for Sunday return

IRVING, Texas (AP) -- NFL referees voted and approved a new eight-year deal with the league on Saturday. Now they all can get back to the business of calling games.

Referees approved the contract by a 112-5 vote, officially ending a lockout that led to a rising chorus of complaints from players, coaches, fans and politicians. The next stop for the refs who gathered in Irving, Texas, was the airport, where most were to hop on planes taking them straight to their Sunday game sites. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of SI.

Kicking Back Comments: So many angles on this story. Amount of money in the agreement; use of D3 referees as D1 and D2 guys would not go; how the D3 guys did; use of the word "replacement" with regard to the substitute referees .... on and on.

We'll start on Monday. =)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Elite referees meet in Zurich

Elite referees meet in Zurich

Potential referees for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ are meeting for the first time in Zurich this week, with 52 people hailing from 46 different countries taking part in an initial referee workshop being held from 24-28 September. Having undergone medical tests over the past few days, the 52 candidates were officially welcomed by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter on Monday morning.

"I would like to congratulate you for being selected for this trip to the World Cup at Brazil 2014," said Blatter. "The preparations ahead of the tournament are incredibly important. You will form my team, which will be the 33rd team at the World Cup and one of the most important." ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of FIFA.

Kicking Back Comments: Big kudos to FIFA here. Getting these folks together early and often will lead to very homogenized refereeing at the 2014 World Cup, which is what everyone is after. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

It's about time ...

Let's face it, I spend a lot of time pointing out, and at times just bashing, FIFA and their failings. While it makes good fodder, it is also somewhat one sided, as FIFA does some really good things in the name of The Game as well. Following is a good example:

FIFA sets ball rolling on grassroots mission

BANGALORE: FIFA's mission to reach the innards of India's football-frenzied populace got a fillip on Monday at the launch of its one-of-a-kind Futuro III Instructors' Course in Bangalore, aimed at promoting the sport among children at the grassroots in South Asia.

The six-day seminar, which ends on Saturday, features 18 participants — 12 of whom have been nominated from Afghanistan, Bangladesh,Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka — and will be trained by FIFA instructor Vincent Subramaniam from Singapore and AFC instructor Chan Hiu Ming from Hong Kong. ...

See the whole story here, from The Times of India.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


NFL’s regular refs return tonight

NEW YORK — So long, replacement refs. The NFL’s regular crews will be back on the field starting Thursday night.

After two days of marathon negotiations — and mounting frustration among coaches, players and fans — the NFL and the referees’ union announced at midnight Thursday that a tentative agreement had been reached to end a lockout that began in June. ...

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

Kicking Back Comments: I am (obviously) not at all surprised. Much, much more on this soon.

Have We Reached the Squeal Point? (NE v. BAL)

Back on September 7th, I penned "No Agreement ... No Referees." In my comments to the cited Washington Post article, I mentioned a squeal point where the NFL union caves to the Referee Union. After Sunday's New England v. Baltimore game, and Monday's Sea Hawks v. Green Bay game, I wonder if we are there.

Now regarding the New England game, some may come right out and say that I am a New England-ite and have a baked in bias. Well, they would be part right as I do cheer for the team, however I am largely ruined when it comes to most sports as I am far to into the refereeing to be anything other than objective. On a level this is actually really pathetic as I generally watch referees, and not the actual game itself. A noted exception is Little Ms. Saturday morning "magnet ball" sessions.

Now, Bill Belichick is reportedly going to be fined $50,000 for his Sunday night incident where he grabbed a referee (please note I am not using the adjective "replacement" as they are referees), in an apparent attempt to dispute weather the winning field goal actually passed through the uprights, or over them.

I frankly support the fine as grabbing an official is off limits, period. Even if, and I do believe this part, it is done to try to get the attention of the referee. I think there is a lesson in there as well for referees in general, and that is how to deal with end of match confrontations.

Take a look at Belichick defends his contact with replacement referee, from SI, note that "replacement" word again. The first thing that struck me was the picture of a growling Belichick, and a cowering referee. It smacked of "just get me out of here" instead of "let's talk about it."

In the article, Belichick hit the nail on the head had this quote:

"I've coached in this league a long time and never been penalized, never had any incidents with officials or anything like that," he said. "I have never meant any disrespect or in any way tried to abuse or be disrespectful to the officials and the job that they do. I was just trying to get an explanation for, obviously, an important call.

"That's the No. 1 thing between coaches and officials. It's always at the forefront. It's just communication of what's going on, what's happening."

Communication. That's what he states (and I believe) he was after.

Imagine, just imagine, if that referee when Bill tugged on his arm, turned, waited for Bill, and walked side by side with him to allow Bill to ask his questions, or plea his case for the time from the field to the tunnel. What do we think the result would have been?

I opine much better for all. Bill would not be receiving a fine, and the referee would have earned some additional respect from Bill, and the coaches in general.

Both men knew that the call would not change, but Bill wanted to vent, and likely even genuinely ask what was happening. I think that is good, and high level referees employ this technique often to great effect.

It should have happened here, and as it is not, it smacks of "amateurish" behavior for some current NFL referees.

Honestly it is not dissimilar with College soccer and amateur and pro level play, where in my experience a referee who does mostly college matches I find sometimes very "thin skinned" when it comes to a player or coach giving them rubbish. It is the environment they were brought up in and are used to. Keep in mind many of these referees are D3 football referees ... in a college program. Their heads have to be swimming.

Point being here, talk to players, talk to coaches, hear them out, let them vent (not abuse you ... think Brandon Spikes on Twiitter), and things will go better for all.

After all, everyone want to be heard when they have something to say. It's just human nature. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Have We Reached the Squeal Point? (GB v. SEA)

Back on September 7th, I penned "No Agreement ... No Referees." In my comments to the cited Washington Post article, I mentioned a squeal point where the NFL union caves to the Referee Union. After Sunday's New England v. Baltimore game, and Monday's Sea Hawks v. Green Bay game, I wonder if we are there.

In the days ahead I will write about the NE game and how I believe that a lack of communication between the referee and coaching staff of both teams continues to dig a hole for the guys in stripes, and for the games themselves. Although I'll say tongue in cheek, if the NFL was looking for an additional revenue stream they may have found it via fines for offenses to referees.

Today is a discussion about the ending of the GB v. SEA game on Monday night, and the mess that followed.

A good "blow by blow" of the single incident that may be that "squeal point" is detailed in "So about those replacement officials …" (there's that replacement word again), and the video is here, at CBS Rapid Reports.

Take a look at the video before reading on ... I'll wait. It's below for as long as the NFL allows it on YouTube.

My first reaction was an audible groan, and let me assure you it was not from the call itself, or the need for a review, it was for watching (2) referees a few feet apart failing to talk to each other before giving a signal, and each going the other way.

That one hurts.

This was a game changer at the hands of the referee, it was the squeal point. The referees could have made everyone say ... Hey, we're here, deal with it, and we are going to make the calls. Instead they seemed to say ... Hey, we're here, and we are not at all on the same page.

Again, this is not about the call itself. I don't care, and am not so knowledgable about the rules of football that I can figure it out anyway. It just looked horrible.

Both go touchdown, both go interception, both call a timeout for the review (the worst of all evils as it shows a lack of conviction), they just needed to BOTH GO ONE WAY. They were right there, they should have looked, heck even talked, before raising their arms in the air.

It's tough being a pro referee, I know that first hand. The pressures are tremendous, and things happen fast, fast, fast. Jobs are on the line with split second decisions. Referees (in general) in these positions, need to communicate, and get it right, all going the right way.

A tall order to be sure, but that's what separates pro referees from the rest.

This one incident showed clearly that the current NFL referees are not pro referees. This is true more than any other set of incidents so far this season. Can they eventually get there? Some certainly will. Will they be allowed the time to do so? I don't think so. I think Monday nights incident was the beginning of the end of the current set of referees.

We have officially hit the squeal point.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Resistance is Futile

FIFA corruption probe 'being resisted'

The man appointed to investigate corruption at FIFA has said the organisation has "skeletons in the cupboard" and that he has encountered resistance to his work.

Mark Pieth was brought in to chair FIFA's Independent Governance Committee (IGC) by Sepp Blatter, the president of world football's governing body. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of ESPN.

Kicking Back Comments: So while "Jenny from the block" wows folks at FIFA (yawn), Sepp and company remain hard at work resisting the ethics probe he set up.

It's all for show guys, we know this, right?!?

So, in fine Borg-esque fashion, Sepp is reminding his ethics appointee that 'resistance is futile' and there will be no cleanup of FIFA ... at least when Sepp is there.

Again ... yawn ... as this is no surprise to me.

Step 1 ... get rid of Sepp.

The rest will fall into place.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friendly Match huh?

FIFA extends Luisao's two-month ban to all competitions

FIFA has announced that it has extended the two-month ban incurred by Benfica defender Luisao to cover all competitions.

The 31-year-old was already suspended from domestic games until Nov. 14 after attacking a referee in a preseason friendly against Fortuna Dusseldorf in the summer. ...

See the whole story here, from Yahoo Sports.

Kicking Back Comments: I've said it before, and I'll say it again, friendly matches are not friendly, they are dangerous to referees. This incident is another good example.

Here is a true story for you. In the mid/late 1990's I was on the cusp of being a National Referee for US Soccer. I was already participating, and refereeing D3 and A-League games on a regular basis, and 4th and JAR in MLS locally.

I was asked to referee a friendly between our local A-Leage team, the Boston Bulldogs (formally Worcester Wildfire). Before taking the match I asked who the other team was, and was told it was a group of "Brazillian All Stars." Digging just a bot deeper raised no other concern for me as I was assured, and I believe not deceptively so, it was a local group of former pro's just playing friendlies.

Well, you can imagine my surprise when a significant number of players starting that day were from the 1990 Brazilian World Cup Team including, Dunga, Branco, and Bebeto.

A friendly huh.

Coaching and playing for Boston was Liverpool legend, Steve Nichol. Can you see where I'm going?

Now for sure, Steve knew it was a friendly, and even before the match we joked and laughed with each other expecting a "friendly" match. It was clear however that when the temperature got turned up a bit, he would have none of it and correctly demanded equal protection for his players.

Friendly or not, I had to send one of his players for a tackle from behind in front of the Brazilian bench, and had to caution several players from Brazil for similar tackles, and antics.

It was not friendly, and could have easily got WAY out of hand, because like it or not, athletes (current or former) compete when you mix them together. It's almost chemical.

There is no clearer example than the O-40 "beer league" I play in on Thursday night. Guys really knock the crap out of each other. Cycling (as I write this) is similar too actually. While less contact is made on the bike, it is just as intense at times.

If this match was not in control, it would have damaged my career I am afraid to say. There comes a point when even town line scrimmages for a referee can be problematic if they go sour.

Always remember, referees are the "red shirts" of FIFA and US Soccer. We are, sadly, expendable.

So, when you go out to referee. Every time you go out to referee, be ready for anything. Even former World Cup stars coming out to play.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


FIFA'S Goal-Line Technology On Schedule in Japan

GENEVA (AP) -Officials from two FIFA-approved goal-line technology systems arrived in Japan on a Club World Cup inspection visit on Tuesday, hours after English football witnessed yet another disputed incident.

Everton was denied what appeared a clear goal against Newcastle in a Premier League match on Monday, as a referee's assistant did not spot that the ball had crossed the line. ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of NBC Sports.

Kicking Back Comments: Geez. I am just back from Japan and would have stopped by had I known.

Timing on these installations are interesting, and it makes me wonder if just more than a full year of testing will really be enough to ready the technology for "prime time", that is to say, the World Cup.

While goal-line issues are embarrassing to FIFA in a sense, a failure of GLT at the World Cup would be a huge blow to The Game overall I believe.

I remain very, very interested in the trials.

I do still think this is hilarious how this is being portrait in the media, as a referee failing, not as the speed of play these days. Even more hilarious however will be the blame on the referee when the GLT Technology itself fails. That on is coming too folks.

Take a look below for a brief GLT overview.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Programming Note

I will be out of pocket for the next few days so I will not be able to write regularly. I invite you to read the archives at right.

Thanks for reading, and we'll be back at it in a few days.

Finally, just to reflect for a second on yesterday's post ... do we really want an MLS match to look like this?

Sadly Gillette Stadium may soon unless things get better.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Front Page of the WSJ, and "Below the Fold"

To Show Their Support, Soccer Fans in the U.S. Need to Master 'Tifo'

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Members of the 1906 Ultras, a fan club for the San Jose Earthquakes soccer team, had a lot at stake as they trooped into Buck Shaw stadium here for a game earlier this season.

The concern wasn't so much their team's prospects against rival Real Salt Lake. The big test was their own performance in the stands. ...

See the whole story here, from the WSJ.

Kicking Back Comments: Here are the article on the front Page of the WSJ:

Which story does not belong?

I am a little surprised frankly the WSJ went there. It's not even a good article.
Why is this on A1? I have to believe there are a few other things going on that should make A1.

Now I get this is a WSJ "A-Head", and the library of WSJ A-Heads can be found here. It was just widely out of place, and had almost no point to me.

I dunno, I'm not saying everything has to be serious all the time, but this article to me was particularly vapid. This includes the reference to, which is running ads from

Maybe its me. Is this the A-Head to run?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Really?? I'm Shocked!!

Clubs demand more World Cup cash

The European Club Association president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has opened talks with Sepp Blatter after calling for more of FIFA's World Cup money to go to clubs.

A total of 575 clubs are receiving payments from UEFA for releasing their players for Euro 2012, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Juventus all due to receive more than ¬2 million. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of ESPN.

Kicking Back Comments: Best line of the article is the quote from the European Club Association president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. It states in full:

"Sepp Blatter told me that he recognizes the clubs as the roots of football," Rummenigge said. "You know the roots always need water, and the water has to come from FIFA."

More like blood from a stone.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Freaking Armadillo?

Armadillo to be 2014 FIFA World Cup mascot

Rio de Janeiro: A rare species of armadillo is set to be the official mascot for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

World football’s governing body FIFA registered a patent for the mascot on the European Union’s trademark website OHIM Tuesday, just days after the design was shown on Brazilian TV show Fantastico, reports Xinhua. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of FirstPost.

Kicking Back Comments: What a horrible choice for a mascot! There could have been so many more creative picks. I think they make it worse by allowing the name of the horrible choice to be picked via internet poll. Surely nothing can go wrong there.

Other than the animal being able to roll itself into a quasi-spherical shape, where is the tie in?

I am a way bigger fan of Jaunito or Tip and Tap from the 1970 and 1974 World Cups respectively. Even Pique was pretty good, but would likely never pass today's PC standards.

I think it was the US who took it off the rails with Striker, the World Cup pup, after that it has been all animals, all the time. See a history here of the World Cup mascots.

I wait with anticipation what the World decides the armadillo's name to be.

Any guesses? Post them below.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Law 18" Strikes Again

Time To Gift Them Common Sense As The ‘Football Laws’ Continue To Fail Them

Referees, you either loathe or hate them. Their very presence on the football pitch fills you with rage, safe in the knowledge that they’re just moments away from a complete lapse in judgement or inexplicably getting in the way of a sweeping counter-attack.

I will confess to having launched a few foul-mouthed tirades in their direction, remarking about how they should have gone to Specsavers or joining in when the crowd refer to them as Wayne Kerr (whoever he is). Perhaps we are too quick to criticise those men in black, especially when their job is made impossible by the playacting antics of a select few. It’s always been my belief that referees are hampered rather than helped by Fifa’s governing directive, constantly trying to justify their mistakes with the phrase, ‘the letter of the law states…’ ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of

Kicking Back Comments: The conclusion of this article is interesting and I think paints the picture of what people want out of referees. It states in full:

"I personally believe the game would benefit from placing the trust in referees to use their own knowledge and experience to make decisions. If the Fifa handbook allowed enough flexibility to be used as guidelines rather than strict commandments then perhaps officials could go one week without suffering ridicule from the stands or in the press. It’s certainly a better solution than having two wand carrying statues at each end of the pitch."

Now the interesting part is that referees have full authority to do as the author of this piece suggests, with a couple of notable caveats.

It is interesting though as it remains clear this is "what the people want", and frankly, what the very best referees do innately.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where is Gellette Stadium?!?

FIFA 13 stadium list

The list has been leaked, but here are the stadiums that you will be able to have matches in FIFA 13.

See the whole list here, from The Examiner.

Kicking Back Comments: While Gillette is certainly no Old Trafford, I think it rates. After all, a couple of World Cups, and a ton of international friendlies. What would it take for EA to render it??

Monday, September 10, 2012

No Medal For You?

FIFA sets date to judge case of South Korea player’s political banner at London Olympics

ZURICH — A South Korea soccer player who displayed a political sign after the bronze-medal match at the London Olympics will have his disciplinary case heard on Oct. 5.

The verdict will help decide if Park Jong-woo gets the bronze medal that the International Olympic Committee has withheld since Aug. 10. ...

See the whole story here, from the Washington Post.

Kicking Back Comments: This is interesting to me. Remember before in "Should We Punish the Undeserving?" where we spoke about FIFA and other competition authorities "feeling the scenario"?

Here is a good chance for FIFA to do just that. Villa in that case lifted his short during play to reveal a heartfelt message about his family who nursed his soul through his broken leg.

In the current case Jong-woo, seemed to have a similar spontaneous, yet far more political expression after South Korea's win over Japan in August for the bronze medal.

Remember, the IBD states "... political, religious or personal statements." While the Villa statement is certainly personal, and the Jong-woo message is certainly political, both are equally prohibited.

Let's see if FIFA is evenly handed in enforcing their own Board Decisions.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

U.S. Defeats Germany

U.S. defeats Germany for FIFA U-20 World Cup title

The United States won the women’s under-20 World Cup for the third time on Saturday after Kealia Ohai scored late in the first half to secure a 1-0 win over defending champion Germany in the final.

Crystal Dunn beat a German defender in the area and squared a pass to Ohai, who sent a right-foot shot over goalkeeper Laura Benkarth in the 44th minute. ...

See the whole story here, from The Globe and Mail.

Kicking Back Comments: Well, this is better than the MNT who lost 2-1 to Jamaica. While still in 2nd place in Group A qualifying ... its far from over.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Happy 46th Anniversary!!

Doodle courtesy of Google
'Star Trek: The Original Series' Doodle nod: 3 enduring years

The Google Doodle's "Star Trek" tribute offers up a fine way to waste some time on a Friday: an interactive homage to the groundbreaking television show on its 46th anniversary.

"Star Trek" was a relatively short-lived science-fiction series, running from 1966 to 1969. But the show, starring William Shatner as Capt. James T. Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, left an indelible mark on our culture, a mark that exists today. (And we're not just talking about those Priceline Negotiator commercials.) ...

See the whole story here, for the LA Times.

Kicking Back Comments: "Live long and prosper", readers of Kicking Back.

You can tell people are getting amped up for (the new) Star Trek 2 as well due out in May 2013. Take a look at this fan film trailer. It is off base however as Simon Pegg and Chris Pine have said that the film is not Kahn (or KKKAAAAHHHHNNNNNNNN in Kirk speak). It's fun none the less.

Friday, September 7, 2012

No agreement ... No referees

NFL, officials’ union meeting ends without agreement

NEW YORK — The NFL and its on-field referees union failed to reach an agreement when they met Saturday, and the league said it’s proceeding with replacement officials.

The NFL locked out the referees in early June, then hired replacements, whose work in exhibition games has been heavily criticized. ...

See the whole story here, from the Washington Post.

Kicking Back Comments: One very interesting part of this article was the NFL's thought of hiring (1) full time crew to essentially be a liaison between the referees and the league. Now the less interesting part was the NFLRA's response of ... pay us better. That was pretty weak.

That said, the NFL should take a page out of the MLS playbook as they have employed "full time" referees for a while. The exact numbers has flexed a bit from what I understand (at one point it was up to 3 guys), but the concept is there.

From what I have heard on the street, these guys were getting paid in the order of $50K per year. It makes me wonder what the NFL is proposing for a salary.

Now, given the player minimum league salary for the NFL is $390K for 2012 (source), and for the MLS is $34K for 2012 (source), should it scale appropriately? Should a NFL "full timer" get $500K a year in salary? Or asked another way, why should a referee be paid near the level that a rookie is making?

Take a look at MLB unpires. After a stint in the minor leagues, these guys when they hit "the show" can make up to $300K annually ($140K is the average). NBA, about $120K on average annually. NHL is about the same as MLB on average.

Now lets be fair, MLB, NBA, and NHL schedules are grueling, NFL is not. Even MLS plays more than the NFL and its referees get paid far less. (NFL salaries are ~$25K - $70K, MLS is based on number of games, but assuming you do a match every week ... which you won't ... you would make about $19K (36 weeks * $600).

I'd be interested in the actual numbers from the NFL, but a game a week for 20 weeks or so ... $100K? That's pretty good, and the league can certainly afford it.

We'll see where this goes, and what happens after week 1 ... but I think there will be a "squeal point" in there from the NFL that will be directly proportional to the number of "blown calls" in real matches.

After all, its how GLT made it to reality.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

US stop Falconets from FIFA U-20 World Cup final

US stop Falconets from FIFA U-20 World Cup final

Nigeria’s Falconets on Tuesday failed to qualify for the final of the ongoing FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan, after a 2-0 loss to two-time champions, the U.S., at the Tokyo National Stadium. Goals from Morgan Brian and Kealia Ohai halted the ambition of the Nigerian side who were runmners-up at the last edition, two years ago in Germany, and had appeared destined for the 2012 edition’s final match.

The Falconets domintated the game in terms of possession, always keeping the U.S on the retreat, but the failure to take their chances as a result of poor shooting did them in. ...

See the whole story here, from Business Day.

Kicking Back Comments: Anyone hear of Margaret Domka? I hope so, she is representing us well in Japan. Take a look at her blog here for the details.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pia Sundhage steps down as United States Women's coach

Pia Sundhage steps down as United States Women's coach

Pia Sundhage has decided to step down as manager of the United States women's team, ending a successful five-year stint with the side. Sundhage declined to extend her stay as she wanted to coach in her home country Sweden.

"After the Olympics we had discussions and early in the process it became clear that Pia was very interested in returning home to Sweden," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati in a statement. ...

See the whole story here, from

Kicking Back Comments: I think she got it just right ... go out on top. I wonder if she saw issues with a 2015 World Cup victory? I do not think it was, as some have commented, that it was a Hope Solo issue.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day

In honor of Labor Day, there is no post today.

See you all in a few days ... thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Send in the Clones

NFL to use replacement officials for Week 1

NEW YORK | The NFL will open the regular season next week with replacement officials and said it was prepared to use them "as much ... as necessary" afterward.

Replacements will be on the field beginning Wednesday night when the Dallas Cowboys visit the New York Giants in the season opener, league executive Ray Anderson told the 32 teams in a memo. Negotiations are at a standstill between the NFL and the officials' union. ...

See the whole story here, from

Kicking Back Comments: Can you imagine what must be going through these replacements heads? I remember my first pro match as a 4th official back when I was 19 or so. It was at BU and involved the Boston Bolts.

I was terrified as it was the first time I was even involved with the pros at any level. My last match before that was an amateur match the previous week between two ethnic Boston area teams in a lousy neighborhood of Boston.

It was easier than the very well behaved pro match.

Heck, when I joined the MLS ranks in 1995, and served as a 4th, JAR, and SAR for several years before getting a shot in the middle, I figured I was a "seasoned pro." I was ready and could handle anything they threw at me, right?


I vividly recall Spartan Stadium, and the match between the (then) San Jose Clash, and Colorado Rapids. I was welcomed by Marcel Balboa almost knocking me on may a$$ and telling me to get the hell out of the way during the opening minuets.

I was kinda in the way ... but he was making a point ... and I took note of it.

I was not in Kansas any more Toto ... and neither are these guys who are stepping in this week.

After failing that assessment I went on to take some lumps and learn a whole bunch ove rthe next 10 years as a pro referee. Most importantly, the pro's are a whole different level than anything else.

I would imagine our replacement brethren will figure this one out soon enough on Sunday.

Good luck to them all.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Well ... not quite what I expected on age limits

Blatter opposed to age limits for FIFA officials

BERNE (Reuters)- FIFA president Sepp Blatter is against age restrictions for officials in soccer's governing body although he would be prepared to accept a limit on the length of time they can hold office, he said on Wednesday.

The 76-year-old Swiss said he was also opposed to standing areas in soccer stadiums, placing him on a collision course with both the Bundesliga and the national league in his homeland.

"I'm in favour of limiting the length of time officials can serve but against an age limit," he told Germany's Sport Bild magazine. ...

See the whole story here, from

Kicking Back Comments: And here I was thinking Sepp was saying that REFEREES should not have age limits if they can perform. But alas, the ever benevolent Blatter was concerned more about his fellow government officials.

I am happy to see he at least supports term limits ... which would take effect after he left of course.

There was nothing reported about you can only embezzle your weight in Swiss Francs. Maybe next Executive Meeting they'll get to that one.