Dumb and Dumber: Blatter and Valcke
On Saturday, FIFA, through its International Football Association Board, ruled the end to all discussion, speculation, and experimentation with any kind of technological or video review for soccer.
It’s the kind of short-sighted, arrogant nonsense we’ve come to expect out of sport’s worst governing body.
“The door is closed. Let’s keep the game of football as it is,” said Jerome Valcke, Fifa’s general secretary.
It’s the kind of decision that could only really come from FIFA, an organization utterly divorced from what actually matters within the sport.
What does FIFA have to say about the troubling system of smuggling poor Africans to European academies. Nothing.
What does FIFA have to say about its officials being irredeemably corrupt. Nothing.
What does FIFA have to say about the tsunami of debt poised to wash across the European game? Nothing.
But what does FIFA say when proponents of goal/no-goal technology attempt to bring soccer in-line with almost every single other major team sport in the world? They say, “Football is perfect,” as the Telegraph put it. “Time for lunch.”
It’s a disgrace, and it’s going to lead almost surely to a major World Cup match being determined by an indisputably incorrect call. And that costs us soccer fans in this country.
American sports fans do not sit well with the degree of injustice that can arise with just a single missed call in a soccer match. It goes against a basic expectation of fairness that comes with an American culture not mired in class-oriented disputes, resentment, and resignation going all the way back to feudal times. It’s not merely enough for soccer fans in this country to shrug, and go “that’s just the way it is.” The “way it is” is dead wrong and American sports fans are smart enough to see through that.
When people, especially in this country*, talk about how moronic soccer’s rules are, this, along with the continued acceptance of diving within the culture of the sport is what they mean. This decision will only further tarnish our sport when the inevitable botch comes at a World Cup.
And when the usual media suspects say how soccer is a joke and how it will never catch on because of this kind of nonsense, really, what will we, as soccer fans, have left to say?
The answer is, nothing.
* I should add that there is lots of criticism of soccer as a sport outside of the United States. Just ask those in the rugby community what they think of soccer’s wussified diving culture or ask those around cricket what they think of soccer’s total lack of respect for its own rules and officials. Remember, just because someone stupid like Jim Rome or Jay Mariotti says it, doesn’t make it wrong.