It was a topic which I didn't want to touch as being a referee is the toughest job in football. And a job which does not get the credit it deserves, then a football match without a referee is just not possible. But what has now been happening for days at the 2010 FIFA World Cup is a disgrace for football.
It seems not the quality of a team or their own efforts will decide who will win the title at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but decisions rightly or wrongly taken by the men in the middle with the whistle. And some seem to want to take this international stage to show and highlight themselves. As if referee's can leave their own country and get transferred like players.
I would always say a good referee is a referee who doesn't interfere with the match, allows the game to take its own path and intervenes only whenever necessary. We have seen such performances in the World Cup, but often you have referee's who blow the whistle too early and start handing out cards before the game has really started. And we are not only taking about referee's from smaller footballing nations, but also those from Europe who regularly officiate in top level competitions.
Some countries have been lucky with decisions, while others face elimination because of mistakes which destroyed their game.
Ask the USA who had a genuine goal against Slovenia disallowed or Germany and Switzerland who lost players due to cards which could have stayed in the referee's pocket. And then there are the others who benefited from the referee's decisions. I loved New Zealand's performance on Sunday, but Shane Smeltz's goal was offside. In that game I found even worse the decision for Italy's penalty that Danielle de Rossi got. A paper in New Zealand asked if de Rossi had been shot the way he went down.
Then there are teams like Argentina, Brazil and Chile; who are being praised for their performances but no one questions them as crucial goals shouldn't have been given. Argentina's second and third goals against South Korea were both offside. Would the game have ended 4-1 without these goals or could have South Korea gotten a better result.
The worst offence so far is Luis Fabiano's second goal against Ivory Coast. The Brazilian clearly touched the ball twice with his hand, his movement is such that it can only be interpreted as intentional and French referee Stéphane Lannoy afterwards asks him if it was handball and Fabiano says no. Once a referee has the guts to ask a player for his honest opinion as he didn't clearly see a situation and the player fails. So will referee's ask again, I doubt it as they will question the players honesty.
But Stéphane Lannoy didn't have the game under his control as he from the start didn't stop the play acting by the Brazilians, which in the end led to Ivory Coast losing their heads and going for harsh tackles. I don't know what they there thinking, but maybe they thought as the Brazilians would lie on the ground anyway lets have a go at them. Not a good approach at all, but this is provoked by wrong decisions and things not going their way. The Kaka sending off was right, but it should have happened in the earlier instance and a straight red card was the only decision. The referee looked to lenient as it was a star. Here you see how a referee with his line can destroy a good match of football.
Even Chile's goal yesterday against Switzerland was offside. So the Swiss were beaten by the referee more then the Chileans, then both key decisions went against them. Was it necessary for Arturo Vidal to go down like this? Chile deserved to win, but would the match have gone the same way if Switzerland had played with eleven men. A question which Germany also asked itself, though they had chances to equalise in their match against Serbia.
And then Cristiano Ronaldo against Ivory Coast. In the instance he was fouled he receives a yellow card as he clashed with Guy Demel, a clear mistake by the referee but on other occasions he dives to gain advantage. And if the referee had seen these actions properly then Ronaldo wouldn't have ended the game on the pitch. And Ronaldo being the star that he is others seem to want to copy him, the positives and the negatives.
One of the questions that world football governing body FIFA has to answer is why not the best referee's from around the world are in South Africa, but only one referee by nation and divided by a coefficient per confederation. Surely also refereeing should be spread around the world, but at the World Cup only the best should officiate and if there are three, four good referee's from a nation they then should be there..
And what makes things even worse is that FIFA are saying that they are happy with the performances of their referee's. No real mistakes committed. Have I been watching different matches???
This all above also shows that football is big business these days, honesty is something unwanted as long as you are successful and keep on winning. Dangerous signs and terrible role models other follow.