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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Rugby Union or Football? It's all about the Refs! 

In the past I've blogged about what I consider to be the characteristics of a "good" game, at least of the run-(or skate)-with-the-ball-(or puck)-and-try -to-get-it-down-the-other-end variety. This was in large part in response to the New Zealand media's breathless enthusiasm for Union, which leads it to treat every game, no matter how stupendously crap, as an atheletic triumph propelling the sport to ever-great heights (etc).

Case in point: Monday's NZ Herald sports section leads with one and a half pages of Union, including the narrow victory of some of the 91 Union players currently representing New Zealand over the only people in Argentina who don't play football. Anyway, I digress.

Some of the qualities of a good sport are, in my opinion:

1/ There should seldom if ever be an incentive for the team in possession of the ball (or puck) to put it out of play.

2/ When the ball (or puck) does go out of play, the restart mechanism should be as swift and simple as possible (seeing as how the logic of these games actually depends on the ball (or puck) being, err, in play).

3/ There should seldom if ever be an incentive for the team in possession of the ball (or puck) to give it to the other side.

4/ Under normal circumstances, the referee/umpire should not be a dominant person in the game. Generally, the more contrived and complex the rules, the more likely this is to occur.

Now, not suprisingly, Rugby Union fails on all four counts (but then I have a long standing antipathy to the game). But the key message from the FIFA World Cup so far is that football is also failing on Count 4 ... even the fans are surprised by the extent to which the Refs are stamping their (often stupid) marks on the game ... just ask any Australian.

That penalty v Australia was an absolute disgrace.

Fuck I hate the Italians. A bunch of diving prima donna cunts every time they take the field. Probably all involved with the match fixing that is all through the Italian league as well. I hope the ref sends half their fucken team off in the next game and they lose 15-0.

Seriously, that is why football will continue to be massively flawed until fifa bring in video replays of decisions and not just penalise players for diving but also penalise players for falling when they could have stayed on their feet, for rolling ten times when barely touched (like the Aussie player when the Italian was UNFAIRLY sent off), and for holding parts of their body that weren't even touched.

For that matter, if you have just been fouled and hurt why would you possibly want to roll several times and continue hurting yourself. The ref should walk over to the guy and say "you obviously aren't injured so get up and look at this yellow card in yo' face beeeaattcchhhh!!!!"

A replay of that should have earnt the Italian player a red card for acting and extra time.
May I just point out that Australian Football succeeds admirably on all four of your excellent points.

I commend it to your attention. :-)

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