Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Why not the ARs too?

As we discussed back in June in, Sex was the price to fix a match ... and lose a FIFA badge, we saw the reports of the Lebanese refereeing trio of referee Ali Sabbagh and assistants, Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb, getting tried and jailed for the exchange of sex for attempting to throw a match in Singapore. They never did of course as they were removed previous to ever setting foot on the pitch.

Out today however was a report that FIFA Bans Lebanese Referee for Sexual Favours. This ban for the referee from FIFA is a lifetime and worldwide, effective immediately.

Good on FIFA, this is the right thing to do. 

But ...

Both ARs were only given a ban of 10 additional years each, where the referee was given a lifetime ban. Now, practically speaking, this may have been a lifetime ban as (although I can't find these guys online and their birth dates) another 10 years may have put them over 45, however it was close for the referee as well.

Each referee received the same "favors" per the cited article and were each jailed for the intent to match fix ... so why the difference in punishment?

My opinion ... give them all lifetime and world wide bans for their conduct.

It is often said, and I agree, the referee crew is a team that sinks or swims collectively. An AR has no less culpability that a referee does when it comes to match control or comportment. Certainly an AR has an opportunity to influence a match as they are required to make critical match decisions. We have seen this in recent months at the howling of goal/no goal decisions and the sudden need for GLT.

Given this, why should the ARs suffer less of a fate as the referee? FIFA I believe has again missed an opportunity to say "If you match fix, you are banned for life." While clear for the referee, to not follow through for the ARs gives the impression that (a) ARs are less likely to fix matches, (b) ARs are "worth less" than referees to The Game, (c) there are options other than "life" for such an offense, or (d) some combination of these.

In this case the ARs received the same "spoils" for the attempted match fixing they were all in on. Let them all suffer for their affront to The Game.

FIFA, please take this seriously.

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