Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Refereeing Legend: Angelo Bratis

U.S. Soccer Centennial Referee Interview: Angelo Bratsis

In the 100-year history of U.S. Soccer, few people have had as much of an influence on the Federation's referee program as Angelo Bratsis. In nearly 50 years of involvement in the program, Bratsis started officiating on the amateur fields of New England and worked his way all the way up to the FIFA international panel. ...

See the full story here, courtesy of US Soccer.

Kicking Back Comments: A worthy read and associated video. I have the pleasure to know Angelo and have worked with him and for him and have learned more from him than I could ever teach another. I can safely say, to this day, he is one of the very best at his craft, and has limitless passion for The Game.

He is one of US Soccer's treasures, and is only fitting they honor him in such a way, and more.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The question is ... what would you do after seeing this?


Send off?

Throw in?

What's the next step a referee should take?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tipsy Coachman Theory: Don Garber Version

To understand the theory, takea look at Lee v. Porter, 63 Ga 345, 346 (1879), or Wikipedia for a good summary.

This doctrine is a rule of law that upholds, in a higher court, a correct conclusion despite flawed reasoning by the judge in a lower court. In other words, the lower judgment was right, but for the wrong reason.

We are not talking about law per se here folks, but about GLT.

As most know I have railed about my dislike for the the use of GLT on the pitch, as I believe it is an erosion of the referees authority to control a match that has been replaced by automatons. I also do believe that there is no sure fire solution to detecting when a ball crosses the line as even the very expensive technology being put in place, has significant flaws.

For all my foot stomping, FIFA went ahead and implemented it anyway, and we will see it very, very soon.

Enter MLS ...

Take a look at MLS rules out goal-line technology from Fox Sports.

I was thrilled when I saw the headline. After all the Commish is standing up and saying that MLS is not going to march with FIFA on this one. I was thrilled ...

... until I read his reasoning.

He said it was a matter of ''prioritizing how we spend our money.''

Ugh ... It was like that moment that Lucy pulls the football away from Charlie Brown and he falls on his back.

It's too expensive ....

While an absolutely reasonable answer for a financially struggling league, he could have said more .... he SHOULD have said more.

He comes closer with ''... our view has been that we're going to wait and see how it works out. We certainly don't need to be the first league that has it.''

Which was better ... BUT ... why not say something like:

I believe in our referees to get this right and see them working hard in doing so. We can defer a decision based on cost, and not be an early adopter, and a desire to evaluate the need based on the circumstances, MLS stands behind its referees and their decisions.

His silence was deafening, as on the business end, they are happy for the "good" decisions, and quietly look for blood on the "bad" ones.

Managing professional referees in any league is not easy as these folks have to carefully balance the need for development at that level, with the "product" that is being sold.

Fortunately, the MLS refereeing management has some spectacular folks talented in this regard.

So yeah, MLS got it right ... but for the absolutely wrong reason IMHO.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Very dark scary stuff ...

Asian football candidate denies player persecution

A leading candidate to become Asia's next football boss has made a fresh denial that players were persecuted under his direction in Bahrain after a rights group urged delegates to vote against him.

Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, a Bahraini royal and head of the country's football association, made the comments after the US-based group said players were tortured and abused during a crackdown on pro-democracy protests. ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of football.co.uk.

Kicking Back Comments: Accusations of bribery, match fixing, and torture. FIFA, where are you?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Who said gaming does not pay

Your essential guide to the FIWC

From 6 to 8 May, 21 of the world’s best EA SPORTS™ FIFA 13 gamers will gather in Madrid for the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2013 Grand Final. At the Grand Final this elite group of finalists will play one another at EA SPORTS™ FIFA 13 on the Sony PlayStation®3 in the hopes of being crowned the next interactive world champion. Do you think you have what it takes to challenge for the title of the world's finest FIFA 13 player? ...

See the whole article here, from FIFA.com

Kicking Back Comments: 20K and a trip to Switzerland to see the Ballon d’Or Gala?!?

I should start training now!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Oh what a day for Twitter!!

... and here I was thinking that my day could not get any better with disgraced NY Representative Anthony Weiner returning to Twitter after a two year hiatus after photographing his private parts and Tweeting them across the globe ...

I was wrong.

Sepp had his Twitter account hacked, and during that time, Tweeted things like:

"It was decided that the president Sepp Blatter is to step down due to corruption charges."


"So what if I took money from Qatari prince? I am the family's bread earner"

Classic stuff indeed.

While Sepp was the victim of a genuine hack, and Mr. Weiner was the victim of his own stupidity, the end result is the same in that I will be waiting to see what spews from their respective accounts next.

For the record, it was not me who hacked Sepp, the Syrian Electronic Army has taken responsibility for the incident.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Massachusetts selections to the 2013 President's Cup


With special thanks to the Massachusetts State Referee Committee, and SYRA Brian Treanor, I am pleased to relay the first of three announcements appointing referees to the 2013 series of Regional tournaments for Massachusetts!  

The first tournament to be announced will be the Region I President's Cup Championships.  The President's Cup is a national tournament which allows teams from all across the country to compete for a national title.  All 50 states have President's Cup play in games.   Those play in games then lead to Regional President's Cup competitions and the regional winners all meet at the US Youth Soccer President's Cup National Championships.  It is a high honor for a referee to be selected to represent his or her state at these prestigious Regional events.

I am pleased to announce that this year's Massachusetts referee/assessor delegation to the 2013 Region I President's Cup Championships will be:

Erin Cappellucci
Nikolas Coelho
Nicholas Grimard
Nicholas Karnovsky
Max Perkins
Corey Samuelson
Karl Sundberg
Joseph Welsby


Bradley Weitzel
Fouad Madkour
Mello Barros

The Massachusetts assessor for this year's event will be Boris Senic Sr.

Congratulations to all on this significant milestone in your refereeing and assessing career!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Knock knock ... Who's there? Jack Warner ... Again

Former Fifa vice president Jack Warner's football legacy goes on

Jack Warner's association with football officially came to an end when he resigned from Fifa, football's world governing body, in June 2011.

But after spending decades as one of the most powerful men in the game, his legacy continues to cast a long shadow across the sport. ...

See the whole article here, from the BBC.

Kicking Back Comments: Honestly, at this point if people are willing to take Jack into their affairs, I don't feel bad for them if things go horribly wrong.

At this point the world should be on notice regarding how he choses to conduct his affairs. One may even say they are tainting themselves in the process should they choose to engage with him.

I would hope any who which to remain "above the fray" do not.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A message from Bruce Hamilton, President of Boston Area Youth Soccer

Please Observe a Moment of Silence this Weekend

In case you weren't aware, Martin Richard, the 8-year old victim of the Boston Marathon bombings was a member of Dorchester Youth Soccer. In response to this senseless violence and the impact it has had on our soccer community, BAYS suggests that a moment of silence occur before every game this weekend in observance and out of respect for Martin and all of the victims of this tragedy.


Bruce Hamilton, BAYS President

Kicking Back Comments: While I currently do not have teams or players in BAYS, you can bet I will honor this request during my matches this weekend. I invite all others to do the same, regardless of sport, regardless of affiliation, regardless of anything, please take a moment and reflect.

Friday, April 19, 2013

10 Matches is not enough

UEFA finally clamp down on racism by proposing 10-match ban for guilty players
UEFA have finally woken up to the ‘scourge’ of racism and will introduce 10-game bans and stadium closures from next season.

Stung by widespread condemnation of a perceived kid glove approach, UEFA bosses have drawn up a range of new measures for European matches and are even urging member associations to adopt them.

General secretary Gianni Infantino revealed that discussions had already taken place with member associations and that all countries, including England, had indicated a willingness to adopt the same sanctions at domestic level next season. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of Mail Online.

Kicking Back Comments: IMHO something is better than nothing, but this is closer to nothing than something. Ten match bans for a player don't even scratch the surface for this behavior.

Playing behind closed doors is better, but still does not cut to the heart of the matter, after all Suarez and Terry are players, and are guilty of the conduct, other than depriving a club of some revenue, how does that prevent further such abuse? Clubs will still go after the (3) points, and play their best like Suarez and Terry. Not seeing that one personally.

How about this ... if a player is guilty of such abuses, ban them for the remainder of the season. Period.

If fans are to blame, then I agree with the playing of matches with out fans.

But of course, much of this is going to go back to the referee. From the article:

"Games could also be abandoned if they are marred by racism.

‘It will be up to the referees, but they will be empowered to interrupt games and even abandon them if they become aware or are made aware of racism during games,’ said Infantino. ‘In the first instance, they will request a loud speaker announcement, warning of the consequences. If it happens again, the players will be taken off and another announcement will follow, warning that the game may be abandoned. If there is a third instance, the game will be abandoned and points may be deducted."

There are a couple of issues with this as you can imagine.

Already we are employed as drama judges for flipping and flopping that is occurring all around the pitch. Now we are going to have to become multi-linguists and cultural police to determine what is racism, and what is harmless banter.

Now if I am a coach or a players agent, I am going to immediately ask for evidence, actual evidence, not a statement from a referee or an opposing player why a player is going to sit for 10, 20, 30 matches, or shutter a stadium. 

It is a reasonable question, and one that UEFA has to thing about carefully, as to be draconian, and I think they should, can also lead to abuses on their own, or in a less sinister case, incorrect interpretations.

Referees soon will be required to carry recording devices on their person and no doubt be required to turn in that recording at the end of a match as evidence of any wrongdoing.

Also, and I have said this before, racism in the near future will likely be its own send off offense as "foul and abusive language" may not be specific enough.

While I loath tinkering with the LOTG, this small addition may be very worth while to set it aside as particularly egregious and place it in a sui generis category for especially harsh punishments. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I love HKReferee!

This title is not a gag in any way. HKRef is IMHO one of the best football referee bloggers out there today. His analytical style wrapped in thought provoking comments are always a worth read.

One of his latest, Trendsetting: Referee Shirts, is no exception and in a single article hits on several interesting  and funny points.

I would strongly recommend taking a look as it sets up what may be coming our way soon.

I have to say honestly that regarding uniform, I am a big fan of the basic black, long sleeve jersey. While I do like a flourish or two regarding them (e.g. buttoned cuffs) going too far outside of that just does not do it for me.

One of these days I will commission a study to correlate favorite referee jersey style and color to refereeing style. I think the results would be fascinating.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Eat Up!!

I have opined here several times that referees, especially youth referees, particularly in tournament settings, are endurance athletes and need to eat, drink, and train accordingly.

We are about (6) weeks away from Memorial Day tournaments ... are you ready to go for (4) days straight, doing (6) matches a day in early summer heat?

For me personally, I started training last October for an even this October, and while I likely have a bit further to go to get into form than most here, my point stands that fitness is not a fad, or an overnight thing, it is a lifestyle.

Nutrition is a huge part of an athletes lifestyle.

Take a second a look at this very worth article that speaks to soccer nutrition specifically.
It's worth it.

Sports Nutrition – A Head Fake Toward a Healthy Lifestyle

Monday, April 15, 2013

Statement from the Boston Athletic Association

Statement from the Boston Athletic Association
Monday, April 15, 2013
8:00 p.m. ET

The Boston Athletic Association extends its deepest sympathies to all those who were affected in any way by today's events.

Today is a sad day for the City of Boston, for the running community, and for all those who were here to enjoy the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. What was intended to be a day of joy and celebration quickly became a day in which running a marathon was of little importance.

We can confirm that all of the remaining runners who were out on the course when the tragic events unfolded have been returned to a community meeting area.

At this time, runners' bags in Boston which remain unclaimed may be picked up by runners presenting their bib number or proof of race participation on Berkeley Street, between St. James and Boylston. There are no bags at 101 Arlington Street.

At this time, we are cooperating with the City of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and all federal law enforcement officials.

We would like to thank the countless people from around the world who have reached out to support us today.

Please go to the B.A.A. Facebook page --
http://facebook.com/thebostonmarathon -- for information.
We post new information as we are able.

Kicking Back Comments: It is a sad day here in Boston. I can only hope as a race we come to our senses and at sometime time soon no longer feel the need to murder and mame innocents.

From all of us here at Kicking Back, our deepest sympathies to all affected.

Something smells funny ...

FIFA investigator among Americans barred from Russia in rights dispute

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The chief investigator examining allegations of wrongdoing in soccer including the bidding process for the 2018 World Cup in Russia is one of 18 people on a list of Americans barred from entering Russia over what Moscow says are human rights abuses.

Michael Garcia, a former U.S. federal prosecutor who now works for soccer's world governing body, FIFA, is on the blacklist published by Russia's Foreign Ministry on Saturday after Washington named 18 Russians barred from entering the United States for alleged rights abuses. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of Reuters.

Kicking Back Comments: In reading this article it would seem that this is a "tit for tat" move by the Russians as once the US named (18) individuals who were barred from entry for rights abuses, Russia did the same and named (18) to a similar list not allowed entry into Russia for rights abuses.

Garcia's ban would seem to stem from his successful prosecution of an arms dealer (Viktor Bout) who is currently being held in the US on a 25 year term.

That aside (and it is a big aside mind you) I don't know if Russia wants to not allow FIFA's current chief investigator into the country. World Cup 2018 may be on the line for them.

Then again ... maybe that's exactly what they want to do.

Stay tuned as politics reigns supreme once again.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Do you carry a spare?

By that I mean a spare watch, whistle, pencil ... how about cards?

May want to consider it ... take a peek here for a reason why, from The Guardian.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Just guys in lycra huh ...

... some of the toughest guys in sport.

Check this one out from last weeks Paris-Roubaix.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Another "bad guy" gets away

Special thanks to John U. for bringing this one forward.

So with March madness safely behind us, I was mildly interested in basketball for a bit, but am over it now.

One thing I am not over though is the resignation of Ed Rush as PAC 12 Director if Officials.

Now for any who follow basketball, or referees, you likely know who Ed Rush is. For those who do not, he served as a referee in the NBA at age 26 (the youngest ever at the time), and eventually after a storied on court career, became the NBA director if officials from 1998 to 2003. In 2007 Mr. Rush started consulting with PAC 12, and became their Director Of Officials in May of 2012.

As has been reported in a variety of places, Mr. Rush "bullied" officials, and offered "$5,000 and a trip to Cancun" if they called a technical foul on Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats. My immediate reaction was somewhat bemused, until I found out he chose (or was forced) to retire his position after "an anonymous official" at the internal presentation felt "threatened" by the comment, and fans and the media swarmed at the inference of impropriety.

Earth to the "anonymous official":
You're never going to make it in the big leagues ... or even the college game for that matter.
Put on some big boy pants and try something else.

Earth to the media who helped cause the resignation:
Keep doing what you are doing. You are fools, and keep me "employed" as a blogger.

Now assuming momentarily that the comment was actually spoken, and I believe it was, as several officials in attendance corroborated it to be true ... what fool takes that seriously?

You would think it is an NFL team paying for players to hurt other players. While both on the surface are ludicrous, do we really think this was anything more than a joke, or a way to make a point, when discussed in such an open forum?

Of course not.

Does anyone out there, including the "official" who needs to don his adult pants think that discussions about "problem players" or "problem coaches" is inappropriate?

How many times as an official, or a parent, or as a spectator something like, "ooh I'd like to ..."? 

A rope, a tree, let's hang the ... Heard that one? Why are these people allowed to go on?

Lets go back to problem players. This conversation happens all the time, and yes, names are named in the big leagues ... and in the little leagues too folks.

Well this seems unfair you grouse ... somehow inappropriate and all.

Well how do all you people who clammer for match control think it's going to happen? Just let it unfold in front of all of our eyes and take a guess at what might happen next? Just react without a plan? Do you actually think that referees put some thought into managing the people behind the uniform and how to effectively deal with them to manage the match as a whole?

Let me take a soccer example. A former coach of the NE Revolution who was a tremendous player was particularly boisterous on the touchline. Not nasty, not foul (in the normal sense of the word), but always challenging, always pushing, and crossed the line several times.

As a younger 4th official in the league, I would have to regularly deal with him, and enjoyed the challenge as I saw through what he was doing and have (to this day) immense respect for him as a person. Guess what though, there were strategies we discussed to help us all manage the match. Most of the time they worked too.

Did my knowledge and discussion, sometimes in a joking way ("oh we'll have to send him this match") somehow get interpreted as "we need to take that action"?

Of course not ... it's just hyperbole to make a point.

Same thing here folks, it was clearly just a way to make a point.

Don't believe me? Fine.

Ask the other officials in attendance what they thought (which was done by the head of security for the PAC 12) ... and guess what, NO ONE ELSE TOOK IT SERIOUSLY.

Note to official big boy pants ... you stand alone.

What is truly sad is that something (or someone) so stupid serves to topple the career of someone who can do some real good in that situation.

By all accounts Ed was agressive in his pursuit of making these officials better, and anyone who really, really wants to be good at that craft needs to be able to get brutally honest to be able to do so.

Ed was that guy and this is a loss for the PAC 12.

By the way, internet mogul Mark Cuban was reported as saying, circa Jan. 8, 2002: "Ed Rush might have been a great ref, but I wouldn’t hire him to manage a Dairy Queen. His interest is not in the integrity of the game or improving the officiating ..." and some have reported is gleeful at the report of Ed's resignation.

That's okay ... I don't hold Mr. Cuban out as much of an athlete anyway. He to me is much more akin to an athletic supporter, like most fan(atics) who choose his path of dumping on good people.

After all of this, the one who was held out as a bad actor to make a point, Sean Miller, I am certain will get "kid gloves" treatment in the days ahead in a feigned attempt to avoid any "impropriety."


Thursday, April 11, 2013

SHOCKING!!! ... not.

Brazil to miss FIFA deadline for World Cup stadiums

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO (Reuters) - More than half a million tickets have been sold for the Confederations Cup in June, but host nation Brazil has yet to finish the main stadiums to be used in the dress rehearsal for the 2014 soccer World Cup.

On the eve of yet another FIFA deadline, Brazil has delivered only three of the six venues for the eight-nation warm-up starting in two months.

World soccer's governing body FIFA had demanded that all six stadiums be ready by this past December but construction delays forced it to extend the deadline until April 15. Even with that extra time, all the stadiums will not be ready. ...

See the whole story here from Yahoo Sports.

Kicking Back Comments: Well I am not at all surprised here. Unlike Ronaldo, I don't blame the Brazilian culture, I blame FIFA for failing to recognize this was going to be the case from "go." I only hope no one gets hurt when the public fills these (what will be) unfinished stadia.

One interesting line in the article was:
"FIFA requires that the new stadiums be tested twice, preferably with soccer games."


How is the brain trust at FIFA testing GLT?
Preferably with actual matches.

Half finished stadiums, GLT that might work most of the time, disrespected sovereign law to appease sponsors, and no local food within 1.5k of any stadium.

Welcome to the World Cup 2014.

Honestly FIFA, you should have just went to England.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lightning Strikes 3 Times!

Well friends, you know the old saying that lightning dosen't strike twice in the same spot, well it happened to me three times today! Please let me explain.

By the way, before I really get going, the expression is just a myth as it is fairly common for lighting to strike more than once in the same spot. NASA did a study on it.

So there I was minding my own business at work today, and having, well, a work conversation. The discussion was wrapping up and near the end of it, the person whom I was talking to said "... I like your blog ... ."

I always get a little sheepish when someone says that outside of the "soccer mainstream" as I'm never quite sure what reaction I am going to get as I can be somewhat ... well opinionated.

We spoke for a while actually, and I was truly flattered they took the time to read and enjoy the subject matter and gave me some good advice that I will share below.

Walking back to my office I though that was pretty neat, I'm glad others enjoy reading this stuff, heck that others are actually reading this stuff.

From there I struck up an online conversation with a colleague from the UK who I had not heard from for some time, and always enjoyed his wit regarding technical matters. Near the end of the conversation, lighting struck again and they too mentioned my rants on my blog.

This one I found not only really humbling, but also pretty darn accurate as the classification of a "rant" I think is more in line with what I do here. But again, in the same day, lightning strikes again.

On the way out for the day, I was stopped in the hall by another colleague, who made mention of my refereeing past and association to The Game. I was again blown away, and struck for the 3rd time in the day.

While I stumbled over the question I was asked, my head was racing with thoughts of "oh crap I really have to be careful about what I'm writing if folks are actually reading stuff."

There are days I sit here and ask why would anyone read this stuff ... even I can't stand to read it some days. Today was one of those days that I was truly humbled by the reaction from folks reading Kicking Back.

For those who have read, and those who have responded to me, positive or negative, I thank you, and remain humbled by your viewership.

Now the really good piece of advice I got was when I shared that there are times that I have strongly considered keeping this blog away from any "professional" sites, such as LinkedIn where many have received these updates.

This individual just looked at me and said, "It's who you are ... nothing wrong with that, right?"

And they are right.

For all the warnings that I have tossed out here about acting responsibly in front of cameras and how bad things can happen if it goes horribly wrong, there is another side to that.

It is also an opportunity to share with a far wider audience what makes one tick, and gain perspective about who we are.

Challenging, and a little frightening to be sure. But one with the right amount of tempering (sorry folks still can't go off the deep end here) I am coming around is a very positive thing.

I learned a lot today ... that NASA did a study of lighting events (I already knew it could strike multiple times in the same place) ... and that some appropriate sharing, is not such a bad thing.

It won't stop me from railing about Sepp ... but at least you'll know it comes from the heart =)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Revs' Alston diagnosed with leukemia

Revs' Alston diagnosed with leukemia


Kevin Alston of the New England Revolution has taken an indefinite leave of absence after being diagnosed with leukemia.

The MLS team announced Monday that the five-year veteran defender will take the leave to undergo treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia. The team said that the condition is rare and treatable and that Alston, 24, will not be hospitalized. He expects to return to the team, the Revolution said. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of Fox Sports.

Kicking Back Comments: I have to say things like this always shock me ... although speaking from personal experience it should not. One can be in the very prime of their life, or even well before (you have to watch the link! and here), and be struck by something like this.

Cherish every moment folks ... you never know when.

All the very best for a speedy return to Alston.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Coward thy name is Sepp

Sepp Blatter softens position on relegation for racism

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has softened his stance on calling for clubs to be punished with relegation after serious racist abuse, suggesting that fans would deliberately provoke incidents.

Zurich: FIFA President Sepp Blatter has softened his stance on calling for clubs to be punished with relegation after serious racist abuse, suggesting that fans would deliberately provoke incidents. ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of NDTV Sports.

Kicking Back Comments: I am not in the least surprised Sepp is backtracking on his idea regarding relegation for any who are found to commit racism. I am sure some clubs were in his ear about it.

Honestly Sepp, you want to stop racism, be draconian. Take the points, relegate the teams, and keep at it. There is a point in time that players, staff, and spectators will get it, even if they want to act otherwise.

Maybe I'm being too harsh, Sepp did after all create a task force led by the president of CONCACAF to study the matter and devise the appropriate penalties.

I'll start holding my breath ... now.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

FIFA: Goal Line Technology went to the lowest bidder

As a backdrop, take a look at this article,  FIFA appoints goal-line tech provider.

Innocuous enough, after all FIFA had to pick someone and better to do it sooner than later.

What was interesting to me was these quotes:

"While all four companies had previously met the stringent technical requirements of the FIFA Quality Programme, the final decision was based on criteria relating more specifically to the tournaments in Brazil, including the company’s ability to adapt to local conditions and the compatibility of each GLT system in relation to FIFA match operations."

Well ok ... I can see this in a way. After all GoalRef and Cairos both used modified goals and ball, and planting electronics in goal posts in a less than friendly ambient environment may cause issues. I personally thought they were lousy (technical) solutions anyway in my previous post on GLT.

What really caught my eye was this quote:

"The respective bids were also judged on cost and project management factors such as staffing and time schedules for installation."

Translation: GoalControl was cheaper than Hawkeye.

Even still it costs $260000 per stadia and nearly $4000 per match to operate the (14) cameras (source). Hardly cheap, but a drop in the bucket for the FIFA bankroll.

This was a bit of a shocker actually as Hawkeye is a well established, well respected company, and GoalControl is just a year old.

I'm sure there was no animosity toward the UK (where Hawkeye is headquartered) after all the grief they have given FIFA of late.

Have no fear, Hawkeye has a safe future in the Premireship as they have been in talks for months.

Now GoalControl did release a statement, in part one I was not really fond of. It stated:

“We look forward to having the opportunity in this competition to offer our goal line technology system, a new tool to assist referees”, states Dirk Broichhausen, Managing Director of GoalControl.

To which I and other referees in the community have said, thanks but no thanks. This is coming from FIFA for reasons other than to help referees. While it is a secondary effect, I don't think anyone genuinely believes that was the ultimate goal.

It rarely is from FIFA.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Do we really wonder why Sepp won't leave?

FIFA To Rake In N790 Billion From 2014 W/Cup

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is set to provide a record $5 billion (about N790 billion) windfall for FIFA, according to audit and consultancy firm BDO.

The figure represents a 36 percent rise on the $3.655 billion made at the last World Cup in South Africa and is 110 percent higher than the $2.345 billion earned at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Xinhua has reported. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of PM News.

Kicking Back Comments: If true, this is staggering. Then again, Nigeria certainly has an axe to grind with FIFA right now, so I would be interested to see the research behind the numbers.

Even if close however ... you can't tell me it ain't about the money with a straight face.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound ...

So the weather is getting warmer ... birds are chirping ... and spring is on the cup of springing.

Have you trained today? We are about to start the season.
An easy run ... some stretching perhaps? Have you considered doing some jumping exercises?

Why you ask ... well take a peek below from The Science of Soccer Online. Compelling stuff.

Leg Strength, Sprint Speed and Jump Performance

Soccer players typically perform around a dozen sprints during the course of a 90 minute match. In the 2010 World Cup Finals, Mexican forward Javier Hernandez reached a top speed of more than 32 km/hr (close to 20 miles per hour). There is no doubt that sprint speed is an important player characteristic that can have an important impact on performance. For example, during a breakaway, it is the faster player who either outruns his or her defender or closes down the open forward. ...

Bottom line ... are we ready to keep up if a player kicks it into overdrive?

Most of us will start refereeing next week or so (and am thankful for the extra week due to very wet fields) ... and MLS has already started.

Are YOU ready?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

File under: Professional Misconduct

Well I am happy to say that my beloved Radio Shack Team is off to a good start with Sparticus (Fabian Cancellara) winning the Tour of Flanders, and is a favorite for Paris-Roubaix this Sunday.

In the same breath I am sad to say that one of the best riders in the next generation, Peter Sagan, made an ass out of himself, and Cannonade, by grabbing exactly that.

The Tweet below tells the story.

As is tradition, there are podium girls who kiss the winner of a race, and Peter could not help butt get into the act with his gesture.

I am having a little fun with a play on words, but the situation is serious on a couple of levels.

First is the conduct itself, which is inappropriate, full stop. It would seem clear the young woman did not consent to such an act based on the picture.

Cannonade should act and sanction the young phenom in an appropriate manner. While it is unlikely that he will be asked to sit on Sunday, he should pay at least a hefty fine, and issue a public apology (he did apologize, but it was not exactly as public as this incident).

The other serious issue is the ingrained sexism in the sport of cycling. Look at the Tweet from the organizer ... "Naughty Sagan" almost condoning the act. They too should apologize for the incident as their senseless comments.

Just remember folks, there are cameras everywhere, and just when you least expect, or want a picture taken, is exactly when it will happen ... and potentially ruin your career in the process, or at least derail it for a while.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

JAFO may have been right

The other day JAFO laid down a stinging rebuke of my GLT analysis and I came to a conclusion that I am a hypocrite.

This is not news by the way, I flop more than a freshly caught fish on the deck of a boat. I often find exceptions to exceptions especially when it comes to something like GLT.

Where I am getting caught is that I am still a traditionalist, but appreciate the technology involved.

Take a look here at Garmin's new set of toys for cyclists.

Pretty freaking cool right?

I dunno ... maybe its pride that drives me away from technology inside the pitch. Then again, as JAFO stated we are training with HR monitors and the like ... while even here I showed a GPS plot of a match I did to demonstrate just how useful the information can be.

I guess what it comes down to is how the technology is going to be used, for good, or not.

JAFO mentioned beeper flags. A good starting point.

What was not mentioned was the flurry of rotten refereeing habits that ensued after their introduction. Eye contact was at an all time low, and on more than one occasion I about had to use one as a club to get a referees attention without actually activating the beeper. This was in MLS too.

Headsets are the same. In this case information overload can come into play. There are times when a moment of silence can help more than someone crackling in your ear about what just happened.

I am still not a fan of GLT, but take JAFO's point more easily now. Where some see it as an aide to officiating, I see it an an opportunity for some to not do their job and let "technology do the work."

If that day comes, we have lost indeed.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Soccer is life

You know it's funny. JAFO came up with this saying some time ago and I continue to be amazed at how true it is. Here is just another great example.

I found this article in The Guardian where after the death of a friend, Andrew Cassidy turns to what, yes football, to help him stay fit.

Oh by the way, he is 50 ... and by the look of the video below, truly talented.

An overnight internet star is born.

... say it with me ... Soccer is life.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fools!

So I have to admit I am a fan of April fools, anda bit of a clown at times ... and in the past I have shared in the fun with some gag stories on Kicking Back.

One of my favorites was last year with UEFA Experimenting with Referee Speed Drills.

I actually received some serious "... you have to be *&#ing kidding me ..." emails on that one. To me it cut both ways. One way was the fact some folks fell for the gag, which was great. The other of course is that they believed that organizations such as FIFA or UEFA would actually do something like that.

Given the history of some of these organizations, I can see their point.

This year I am turning over a new leaf, and wanted to simply share a story about April Fools' Day: 18 Greatest Sports Pranks of All Time from Bleacher Report.

A worthy read on this April Fools.