Archive for June 16th, 2010

Drogba gets the OK

Didier Drogba the Ivory Coast striker broke his arm in a pre-tournament match against Japan in Sion, Switzerland on 4th June and had an operation in Switzerland a few days later in the hope of being fit for Ivory Coast’s first match against Portugal in Port Elizabeth on 15th June.

There was an understandable desire by the Ivory Coast that the African Player of the Year and one of the top players in the English Premier League would be able to take part in the competition.

It was publicised as a FIFA decision but the reality is that that this is a referee decision.

Law 4 Players’ Equipment states that:-

‘A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewellery)’

So is Drogba’s plaster cast legal?

The decision is solely the referee’s although he would be under immense pressure to allow the player to take part.

Fifa’s Head of Media Nicolas Maingot said: “The cast was seen by the Portuguese delegation at Monday’s match co-ordination meeting.”

Accordingly, all parties were satisfied that the cast did not pose a danger to other players – although the Ivory Coast coach Sven-Goran Eriksson decided not to risk him from the start at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz Carlos was unhappy, however, that he was allowed to play with a cast on his broken right arm.

Queiroz said FIFA may have bent its rules on Tuesday because of the “cultural significance” of a hugely popular African player taking part in the continent’s first World Cup.

“The FIFA delegates decided that the referee’s decision is final,” Queiroz said. “This was a bit odd, as far as we were concerned, because there are rules and regulations that say, for example, that players cannot play with a string bracelet or a plaster. … I would like to know that all the rules are the same for everybody.”

At the 1970 World Cup, Germany defender Franz Beckenbauer wore a sling in the semi-final against Italy having dislocated his shoulder during the match, while England striker Gary Lineker sported a cast to protect a broken wrist during the 1986 competition.

It does seem strange that a wedding ring can be dangerous but a plaster cast is not.

Maybe wedding rings covered with tape are not dangerous after all.

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Support your referees!

It was too good to last.

The criticism of referees has started and the disappointing thing is that it is coming from within its own camp.

According to reports, The FIFA Referees Committee has decided that there was a foul in the build up to Gabriel Heinze’s 6th minute goal which settled the match with Nigeria. The Committee believes that when Juan Sebastian Veron crossed the ball, his teammate Walter Samuel held Nigeria’s Chinedu Obasi and prevented him defending the cross.

German referee Wolfgang Stark failed to see the infringement and allegedly has been severely criticised by the Committee.

I believe in honesty, but I also believe in realism.

Did Wolfgang Stark control the match well and apply the Laws correctly? The answer is ‘yes’ even if the ever present television cameras, showing the same incident from all the different angles that the referee cannot see, showed he got a call wrong.

The FIFA Referee Committee is perfectly correct to analyse match situations and the FIFA Referee Instructors in their daily match analysis sessions will discuss these with the referee teams.

But does this mean they have to go public and undermine the excellent work of the referee teams so far? The Committee and the Referee Instructors are part of the FIFA Referee Team at the World Cup.

They should be supportive of the referees, not generate the criticism.

The team has a responsibility to stay together and support each other, not go public for short term publicity with long term problems.

These problems should be dealt with internally.

Did any of Rob Green, the English goalkeeper who made a much more serious mistake in his team’s opening match against USA come out and publically criticise him?

Of course not.  They are his teammates!

I rest my case.

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