Sunday, January 6, 2013

It's Up to the Referee?

Boateng: FIFA must do more

Kevin-Prince Boateng has insisted he will walk off the pitch again if he is racially abused and criticised FIFA for not doing more to tackle the issue.

The AC Milan midfielder walked off during a club friendly on Thursday, followed by the rest of his team, and has warned he will do it again with the backing of club president Silvio Berlusconi.

Speaking to CNN, Boateng said: "I don't care what game it is - a friendly, Serie A or Champions League match, I'd walk off the pitch again and I think everyone would support me. ...

See the whole article here, from Fox Sports.

Kicking Back Comments: I agree with Boateng. There is no place for racism at all, in The Game, or otherwise.

From the article there was some significant "buck passing" though ... and all of it was passed to the referee.

From Boateng:
"I said to him if it happens again I'm not going to play anymore. The referee said 'don't worry' but I said I do worry, it's not very nice."

and, from FIFA:
"A FIFA spokesman said: "It would be for the referee to report and the disciplinary committee would have to look into it.""

This last bit is nonsense as if it was clear such activity took place, FIFA could deal with it outside of a referee report. To say they can do nothing without a report is cowardly. Certainly an investigation is in order for such nonsense.

Makes me wonder though ... right now the LOTG speak of sending off for "foul and abusive" language. Clearly racial epithets fall into that category. What about less clear cases? What is a referee to do then?

Will we soon see "foul, abusive, and racist" in the LOTG? Possibly an IBD on point?

It is a little bit concerning as, similar to referees being used as drama critics to sniff out if a player is simulating an action or not, will we now be forced into the moral police, to try to decipher when one individual is racially attacking another, or just having fun in a way that is personal to the players themselves?

While the referee certainly bears responsibility to maintain decorum betwixt the players, at what point does a referee get into trouble for going too far and sending off someone who they thought were acting in that way?

I'm not sure, but what I do know is this is a problem that needs leadership from the top down, not everyone heaping on the referee and waiting for their match report before taking action. 

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