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FIFA: The urgent need to rethink certain rules

By Aloysius AGENDIA

I may not be a football pundit but viewing the catastrophic refereeing of the 2010 world Cup, and the delibrate acts of cheating by certain players, one can only crave for the urgent need for  World Football governing body, FIFA, to rethink some of its regulations and the use of video technology .  It is a good thing FIFA’s intransigent president Sepp Blatter has even accepted to open up discussion again on the issue of video technology. But there is something more; The Need for a penalty-goal regulation.

The world was certainly shocked when a certain Suarez, a Uruguayan player turned into a goalkeeper and caught with his hands and on the line, a Ghanian header which was bound for the net seconds to the end of the game. This was on July o2 during a quarter final match of the 2010 Corld cup in South Africa.   Some people like the coach of Uruguay  described it as instinctive. It could not been instinctive because a thousand and one players have been in such situation but none ever attempted doing what Suarez did. Other bloggers say it is heroic, some describe it as deliberate cheating but a lot more agree that it is simply unacceptable. 

Suarez was red carded and a penalty given but Ghana went ahead and missed the penalty and eventually lost during further penalty shoot outs that sanctioned one of the most thrilling  but heart-breaking game of the 2010 World Cup and may be in the history of the FIFA World Cup.

 A lot has been said about this but the bottom line is that, Ghana missed the penalty. Period. No need  whining because the rules were applied.

 However, FIFA could learn from this and adjust certain rules. It is Ghana today; it may be another nation tomorrow. What happened on July 2nd  in South Africa has never happened in the history of football though on certain occasion, players have equally cheated and scored with their hands. But the situation of stopping a ball on the line with the hands is completely different from scoring with the hand.

 If a goal-bound ball passes the goalkeeper and finds a player who handles it with the hand, FIFA could either make such a move an automatic goal, or a penalty should be kicked in an empty box without the goal keeper.

A penalty kick with the goal keeper should not hold in this case because the probability of missing such a penalty is 100 percent whereas the probability of the goal-bound ball reaching the net is 100%

This again, is completely different when a player is fouled by an opponent in the ring or when the last player is brought down by the goalkeeper. In all of such situations it is not yet certain that the goal will get to the net so a penalty with a goalkeeper in the box is ok. But in a situation where only a player is left and he delibrately catches the ball with the hands, it is completely different.

FIFA can also place extremely harsh financial sanctions on both the player and the team which commits such an outrageous cheat. In that case, players will not bear such risk to destroy the game of football that far.

Unfortunately for Ghana, the current rules state that Suarez had to be red carded and penalty given. But Ghana failed to concretise the penalty though the ball handled by Suarez was bound to be a goal.

We have to respect the rules and that is what the rules state. I feel so much for Ghana and Africa as well. But again, FIFA needs to rethink it rules so as to make the game more entertaining. Football has not become handball and FIFA endorsing the handball of French playmaker Thierry Henry during the FIFA 2010 World Cup qualification game between France and Ireland was a pity. It has made another mistake by suspending Suarez for just one game. A lot more needs to be done to savage the games from crooks.

 Catastrophic refereeing and blatant cheating

Though the FIFA 2010 WC in South Africa may enter history as one of the best organised world cup which also beat all the rumours and propaganda made by sceptic media and jealous organizations to mar the event, the refereeing in South Africa also enters the history as one of the most disastrous with a record four referees sent home for gross incompetence.

 The Malian who refereed the game between USA and Slovenia was sent home for refusing a clear USA goal for no just reasons.  The French referee who over-sawed the most catastrophic game of the World Cup which pitted Brazil against Ivory Coast was also sent home.

That referee is said to have been deceived by Ivorian player, Keita who claimed to have been fouled by Brazilian striker Kaka. This subsequently led to the expulsion of Kaka.

 However, some argue that though the Ivorian Keita exaggerated and lied, Kaka still merited a sanction for a tactful and technical foul and bad intention. This situation was not different from that of the Greek player who caused a Nigerian striker to be sent out. Oncegain, the Nigerian attacker was sent out for bad intention  but the Greek player went away for tricking the referee.

But the worst error of the Brazil/Ivory Coast game was the referee's validation of the second goal for Brazil scored by Luis Fabiono. Besides being a double handball, the referee went ahead to facially congratulating Fabiano for the handball whereas, other experts believe the goal should not only have been disallowed but Fabiono given a straight red card.

Furthermore, the referee who allowed an offside first goal of the Argentine team against Mexico in the 8th final game was also sent packing. However on the issue of offside goals, there were aplenty.

The Uruguayan referee who also oversaw the game that pitted England and Germany was also a disaster for not accepting the goal of Lampard when the ball crossed the line more than 40cm. FIFA had to aplogise to Englanf and Mexico for some of the lapses of the referees.

Furthermore, the Spanish referee who oversaw the game between Germany and Serbia just as that who refereed the match that pitted Argentina and Nigeria were far below expectations.

All these errors made by refereeing could have been immediately corrected if the video and goal line technology had been introduced. However critics of such technology claim that its introduction will make any single infringement on the field subject to replays and analysis and this will lead to further unnecessary delays and so many complains.

That notwithstanding, the issue of penalty-goal   and those who deliberately cheat must be re-examined by FIFA for the sake of the game.

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