FIFA’s Fix to Officiating? Embargo the Evidence

In response to Sunday’s incident that saw Carlos Tevez score a goal when he had been offside as the ball was played his way, giving Argentina the lead in a Round of 16 match they eventually won, 3-1, over Mexico, FIFA today produced its comprehensive response.

The answer? Hide the evidence so nobody – not the players, the coaches, or perhaps most importantly, the fans, know what the hell is going on.

FIFA announced today that it has instructed stadium operators in South Africa not to show replays of controversial plays for the rest of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Instead of taking steps to fix the issues that are leading to all the key blown calls we’ve seen in this tournament (the Lampard no goal; the Edu no goal; the Tevez goal, etc.), FIFA has decided it would be better to make sure that no one knows exactly what happened, and that will somehow make the game experience a better one.

FIFA is apparently responding to the reaction of Mexican players after seeing a replay of Tevez’s goal on a large monitor in the stadium yesterday. There was no doubt Tevez was offside, something clear to everyone who saw it, save for the assistant referee. Even when questioned by head referee Roberto Rosetti, the AR seemed to have no clue about what he’d just seen. He had much the same mystified look on his face as Koman Couliabaly did when he disallowed Edu’s goal for the US vs. Slovenia. Incensed, the Mexican team surrounded the AR and Rosetti as they talked, followed by a gathering of Argentina players when it appeared that the goal might be disallowed.

It stood, of course, and Argentina went on to win handily. But FIFA’s response to this situation, and the others we’ve seen before it, is asinine. Rather than having the sack to stand up and fix the problems by whatever technology or means are available, FIFA would rather perpetrate a lie to those in the stadium, telling players, coaches, and fans … “Move along! Nothing more to see here. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.”

It’s not as if other sports don’t do this. I’ve been to NHL, MLS, and NFL games where controversial events weren’t replayed. But at least in the case of the NHL and NFL, they are constantly taking measures to try and improve the very officiating that often leads to the controversy.

FIFA will do no such thing. They’d rather smirk through the notoriety and bad publicity that such events provide than have these plays actually dealt with correctly, ensuring a valid and fair game result.

Instead of validity, FIFA would rather you not even know what the hell you just saw. They want you fooled, not informed. It’s enough to turn “The Beautiful Game,” into the “The Beautiful Fraud.”

Our sport is hard enough to defend to the Neanderthal jacknuts that come out every 4 years at this time and feel the need to protect their manhood by declaring to the world that they aren’t watching the game for whatever stupid reason – as if the rest of us give a damn. But unfortunately, FIFA’s actions of late make the sport all the more indefensible.

I wonder what call will be the next one to be horribly botched.

I don’t know the answer; but safe to say, if you’re in the stadium when it happens … you’ll never know.