Thursday, November 19, 2015

Alright FIFA ... WTF are you doing about this one?

Turkish soccer fans chant "Allahu Akbar" during Paris attacks remembrance

Turkey and Greece, neighbors that have been often vicious geopolitical rivals for centuries, have attempted in recent years to reconcile their differences, a move that's been given heightened importance during the growing migrant crisis.

Their soccer teams hadn't played each other in eight years, so Tuesday's friendly match in Istanbul presented an opportunity for a power symbolic display of peace and reconciliation. ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of CBS News.

Kicking Back Comments: Here is another opportunity for FIFA to show some leadership. Can we go beyond signs of support (which have their place) and move to actions in the face of such behavior?

FIFA is rightly willing to shutter stadiums for activities they determine racist. How oh how can this be condoned?

FIFA ... grow a set and take some action. 


  1. The greatest part about living in a free country (and a nominally free world) is free speech. It may offend your sensibilities to have someone interrupt a moment of silence - it would certainly be unheard of in the United Kingdom - but there is also no rule or law against chanting *anything* during a moment of silence. What if white, English-speaking Christians were shouting "God is great' during the moment of silence? Would you think they were praying, putting their faith in their God, disrupting your nice, quiet moment of remembrance?

    As a referee, aren't you trained to judge the action itself, and not to try to assume or divine the intent?

    On it's surface, disrupting a moment of silence with praise to one's God may seem rude, uncouth, or out of place. But if you don't want your freedom of speech or religious expression to be squelched, you shouldn't be advocated for the same to happen to others.

  2. Good comment Frank and thank you for your continued readership.

    I agree with your fundamental premise that a referee should generally wait for an action, then judge and form a result based on that action and to do so in an objective fashion for all. Please note I don't say "fair" as that implies "one for each" and the simple fact is that there is generally always someone better. This really gets to the heart of sport itself, which is intended to judge at the professional and international level, who is better.

    Beyond this fundamental premise, there are seemingly several critical flaws to your logic.

    First is this match occurred in Istanbul Turkey, which objectively many consider a country that heavily censors speech ( not to mention other fundamental rights (press, religion, assembly, and government redress) available under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. [Hat tip to my Con Law professor there]

    Sadly, free expression is not a global concept and most of the world does not have such a construct. Turkey does not have such a concept and regularly suppress their citizenship. While many governments may pay lip service to it, very few actually embrace these principles. So while I support the values that were demonstrated that night or for anyone who chooses to shout whatever they want, including the things you described, as you stated it was boorish behavior at best.

    Now, and pardon the academic exercise, if by your example someone did this here in the US, how close would this come to the case of Schenck v. United States [249 U.S. 47 (1919)]? In short, would this be simple expression, or serve as more in today's political climate? You are on to something there Frank.

    Second was my aim is squarely at FIFA, not the individual referee as was clear in the article. FIFA has sought to place itself in a position of judge, jury, and executioner on more political issues, such as being the sole judge when racism has occurred and has shuttered stadiums for it. Recently they have also involved themselves in the Israel/Palestine conflict trying to "help" the situation.

    My salient point was FIFA can't pick and choose what causes it wants to take up. If it is willing to get involved in racism or land rights in the name of soccer, in what has nearly been universally decried as inappropriate behavior at a match classified as friendly, then it should get involved here. FIFA has bilked the work for billions of dollars on the back of The Game and it can't just look away when something "bad" happens.

    Third is your implication of a bias in my writing or views where none exist. There is good and bad in everything. I'm not here to call out one group or another beyond the organization and its leader that touts itself as being a global peacemaker and is deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize (

    Beyond that, we agree, let the masses speak.

    Thanks for reading,