(by Eddie Keogh)
This is probably my favorite World Cup image though, from The Daily What:
That's in reference to this, if you weren't following the tournament.
Speaking of which, I understand that the rules at the World Cup are bound by a desire to keep the game "scalable." FIFA wants the game to be played in a way which can be exactly duplicated by a local amateur team, so no extra refs, no instant replay, no electronic goal sensors, etc.
I'm a little skeptical that that is terribly important — see previous commentary here — but it's still admirable. Nevertheless, I think that needs to bow in the face of the delinquent job the referees put in this tournament. The desire to have a scalable game needs to take second place to the desire to have a fairly judged outcome. No one wants to feel that their team is subject to the sorts of capriciousness we witnessed in South Africa, especially since FIFA explicitly wants people to not just care about the outcome of the games, but to stake their hopes and dreams and the pride of their entire nation on the outcome.
Referees shouldn't be part of the story in a sports game. They ought to be part of the background, like the groundskeepers. This tournamenet I'd put them as one of the top five topics. That's a failure. And it costs the game a lot of potential fans (e.g. Randomscrub.)
PS I can't pass up the opportunity to post this from Munger:
I can see why futbol is so big in Europe and Latin America. Largely arbitrary, controlled by officials who are in no way accountable to anyone, yet who are remarkably incompetent and indifferent. Everyone constantly pretends to be a victim, and rolls around on the ground crying until they get a subsidy they don't deserve. And then they waste the free kick, just giving up the ball. And then they run around in random patterns, hoping that someone will get lucky and do some actual work, so we can all celebrate.Bazinga!