FIFA FIFA World Cup 2014

World Cup Needs More Than Tech Upgrade

11:51 PMAleks Vee

by Aleks V


One thing that always strikes me as paradoxical is the failure of humanity to learn, no matter how many times the lessons are reiterated. Like a student who keeps repeating the same grade to no avail, FIFA remains ignorant when it comes to selecting referees for the World Cup.

The first edition of the World Cup saw the two extremes of refereeing in full swing. From turning a blind eye until a fight had police coming onto the pitch, to penalties awarded left and right, and, at last, ending a game six minutes early, Uruguay 1930 was a little bit of everything. Then there was the foul-laden, violent Battle of Berne in 1954 and the even more infamous Battle of Santiago in 1962, in which Italy and Chile exchanged some of the worst tackles ever seen at any football tournament. Aside from sending off two Italians, English referee Ken Aston failed to take any action regarding the other side. Both leniency and harshness in refereeing has been rampant in many tournaments, but on the world's biggest stage, standards for selecting referees should be far higher than in any Premier League. Perhaps it is quite normal in the EPL for a player such as Luis Suarez to bite his way around with minimal consequences. At the World Cup, however, there should be absolutely no excuse for his antics. There's also no reason he - or any footballer for that matter - should be treated differently than any other person who chooses to behave in such a manner.

On appointing referees for World Cup 2014, FIFA released a statement that said:

"The referees selected for the World Cup in Brazil have been chosen based especially on their personality and their quality in football understanding by being able to read the game and the teams’ tactical approaches towards each game."

That explains the presence of Mexico's Marco Antonio Rodriguez, clearly chosen for his personality and quality in football understanding. I fear that the number of dubious red cards he has handed out throughout his career will only break a new record after the Cup is over.  

Contrary to the way things have always been, measures must be taken before things get out of hand. The 1994 World Cup saw a partial clampdown on refereeing mishaps, with referees Rothlisberger and Brizio, the latter then considered the world's best, being ousted by FIFA from the tournament. The past few tournaments, however, have not seen much action taken when an official's errors greatly affected the course of a game. Do we really need another Battle of Berne or Santiago to remind us of the importance of fair and honest refereeing?

The issue at hand: history repeats, we rarely listen. History has been ignored too long. It's 2014, and goal-line technology has finally been introduced. That's a huge step forward, but how has a man-made improvement preceded the improvement of man himself? There's no reason the human aspect of the game can't catch up, and every reason that it should.

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