Respect

March 9, 2017

Once upon a time on AA we had Rant Friday, well today is Rant Thursday.

Last night’s game at Camp Nou may have been exciting and the denouement exceptional but what about the rest of it? And what of our game the night before? My focus here is on Respect.

The cheating exhibited by Suarez, Lewandowski etc is a disgrace. It shows no respect for the referee, the opposition and much more importantly, the game. These people benefit from deceit. Their prime purpose is to gain benefit and kudos by blatant diving. Cavani got shown a yellow card  for waving an imaginary card (fully justified), yet Suarez who spent most of the evening diving and feigning injury picked up just one card when he should have been sent off at least twice.

It is wrong and could be so easily remedied. Post game analysis (of which there are endless re-runs) allows the authorities to retrospectively ban players. They have too do so if the game has any merit or morality.

FIFA and the FA show little respect for the spirit of the game. Tuesday night saw a referee completely out of his depth. His sending off of Koscielny , the penalty thus rewarding Lewandowski’s blatant cheating  clearly affected the game. So too did hthe referee’s rebuttal of our penalty claim when Theo was felled. It could so easily been sorted out  by the 4th official using video technology. It works ion almost every other sport and in both cricket and rugby adds to the entertainment. Why not football? The argument that it cannot be used at grass roots level is quite frankly ludicrous.

In the absence of true heroes current society makes heroes of sportsmen; they have to be role models and with that comes responsibility. That players are rewarded for cheating has a knock-on effect. Why be honest when deception pays?

The current authorities have to start to bring morality and honesty back to the game we love. There are simple solutions, I could do it and so could you, so why can’t they?

What happened to Fair Play?

Rant Over (for now)

written by Big Raddy

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Oi Ref …. You Don’t Know What You’re Doing

January 16, 2014

It is only fair to say from the outset that if you are not interested in the way we fans are involved in the running of our favourite sport, and the idiosyncrasies of referees — do not read on! :-)

We have from time to time on AA discussed refereeing inconsistencies with heated debate frequently ensuing and the antics of the officials this week end should make them hang their heads in shame.

r1For the most part, reasoned and mature debate is the default setting on this venerable blog site and all manner of opinion is tolerated and aired to prove or disprove points of view.

But why do we depend on expressing our opinions to justify our individual views, or to prove a point, however dubious, and what is the value of an opinion anyway?

Well opinions do have substantial value, in the right context, but let’s be candid, we are only really interested in those opinions that please us, by which we mean agrees with our own views, and sod the ‘value’.

Does that mean we do not value the potential worth of constructive criticism? Not necessarily, because opinions can have a much wider impact and importance.

It is important to note here that not all fans have the same value judgments, and that some fans can treat opposing opinions rather more roughly than is really necessary.:-)

It is a truism that some of us may struggle with what value to attach to an opinion that contradicts our own biased stance. This notion is important to resolve, but in any event it should be a matter of pride that our opinions are essentially the bedrock of civilisation in ways we do not always immediately recognise.

Take statute Law. In the UK this is Law passed by the elected members of Parliament and this, together with Laws passed in other Countries are a fundamental necessity for the smooth running of this and every other civilised society.

This form of Law is normally committed to writing, to avoid misunderstanding , and in and of itself is pure, in so far as language can make it so.

Unfortunately, problems can still arise because of verbal or written ambiguity which is endemic in all languages, not least English, especially where it involves definitions governing the practical application of Law upon society.

Ambiguity inevitably leads to hypocrisy as an inevitable consequence of allowing an opportunity for ‘interpretation’ of meaning by those in a position of power.

As a result, the Law can be seen to bend itself to those in power like the branches of a tree flinch in a high wind, and precisely how the law is interpreted and applied depends on the whims of those in power which, in turn, results in the Law becoming twisted and perverse.

Now that leads us back to an inevitable conclusion that laws are, at base, just a set of formalised opinions, approved by the electorate.

This means that the Law should be formalised as the result of the informed opinions of the electorate for the proper and ‘peaceful’ governance of society, or, for that matter, of any other institution which implements laws or rules to ensure strong and impartial governance of its members.

There are those who will contest the use of the word ‘peaceful’ in this context, as many will view the imposition of the Law as having, at its core, the subjugation of those without power who are unable to introduce or amend the Laws which govern them except through the offices of those in authority.

Others will say this is not so, and that the introduction or maintenance of Laws, or rules, are necessary for the mitigation of damages or the decreeing and enforcement of punishments for anti-social behaviour.

OK, let us stop for a moment and consider what we have discussed, so far.

Opinions do have intrinsic value in arriving at a system of Law that helps govern society, and also the rules for the administration of institutions. These Laws then impose the rules that govern acceptable behaviour in society at large, or the judicial operation of institutions and other authoritative bodies.

As a natural fallout from this, there is an implied need to protect every individual within society, and the members of institutions, from harm, both physical and mental.

My personal concerns over this whole subject is that, in practise, Laws can sometimes be seen to decide which forms of oppression are allowed, and because man made laws are subject to those in power, and oppression then becomes a right for them over those who have little or no power.

That might seem to be an overtly political point of view, :-) but it has a direct correlation to football, and how it is run, and that is the only matter under discussion here.

The governance of football, whether from its highest authority, FIFA, or its application by one of its incumbent bodies, UEFA or the Premier League, and through them the referees body PGMOL, is in effect a form of oppressive authoritarianism, and its intent is to protect their own dominance by manipulating the power of member clubs and to impose rules on the game and on the conduct of the players, all of which, in the final analysis, directly affects us, the fans, and we have no say whatsoever in this process, other than to voice our concerns in forums such as this.

To keep this state of affairs in a sustainably stable and rigidly enforceable grip, one of the first tasks of FIFA and the other authorities has been to belittle the views or opinions of those, like you, who disagree with their manipulation of the beautiful game, (take the award of the World Cup venues for example) and they have succeeded to a great degree in doing so because those of us who seek another way to run the game are usually either unwilling or unable to articulate those views for fear of being mocked for expressing them.

That then is the rub.

For those few who do stand up to be counted often take umbrage at being ridiculed for lacking in perspicacity or acumen only gives an excuse for the massed ranks of the authorities to descend en masse to ritually and publicly humiliate and annihilate the disaffected ‘fools’ as we are seen, and thereby re-establish their control and authority, which, of course, is intended to protect their own vested interests, of which the primary one is the powerful assertion of absolute oppression, by the application of their laws and the elimination of any dissension.

None the less, the expression of our opinions on public forums such as AA is a necessary first step to ensure that the footballing authorities in this country, and elsewhere, are made aware of our concerns and the need for what we see as the beneficial and transparent application of just rules. :-)

Keep blogging, keep your opinions forthright, keep on keeping on! :-)

Written by RA (Red Arse)


Tapping-up is bad, Right?

July 27, 2011

Written by 26may1989

The rules say that a club wanting to acquire a player must get the consent of the player’s current club before beginning a discussion of any sort with the player:

“Any Club which by itself, by any of its Officials, by any of its Players, by its Agent, by any other Person on its behalf or by any other means whatsoever makes an approach either directly or indirectly to a Contract Player except as permitted by either Rule K.1.2 or Rule K.2 shall be in breach of these Rules …” (Rule K.3 of the Rules of the Premier League).

Couldn’t be clearer (and it’s backed up by FIFA regulations and regulations governing agents): any approach, direct or indirect, is verboten.

But despite the clarity of the rules, Arsène Wenger said this week that: “it is a rule that has to be reviewed. It’s not really respected.” And you can understand where Wenger’s coming from when, with delicious timing, the very next day Patrice Evra showed he felt no compunction in openly demonstrated that the rules mean nothing to him:

“Of course I’ve talked a lot with [Nasri] in the holiday and also when we met up for friendly games with France at the end of the season. I told him how great it is to play for United and how important it would be for him to become of the biggest players in the world. … I just told him how good it would be for him coming here. He will have a nice welcome, and I can help as well because I’m French. …. I would definitely tell him to come to United. Definitely. I made that little joke saying that he’s a prince now but if he wants to be the king then he has to join United. But that’s the reality, and I’ve told him that. I said, ‘If you want to win trophies you have to come here.’ …. I just told him the truth.”

Could there be a more obvious breach of the rules?

We feel righteously bitter about yet another no-mark blatantly unsettling one of our best players, a feeling that is made more acute by the feeling of fragility and vulnerability at Arsenal this summer. But here’s a thought: perhaps the prohibition on tapping-up should be scrapped.

It is often said that a law that is routinely broken is a bad law. And it is clear that football’s rules against tapping-up are broken every day of the week. Gary Lineker wrote a good article back in 2006 (see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/2346447/Tapping-up-isnt-illegal-so-why-have-this-stupid-rule.html), explaining how frequent tapping-up is, and how in some ways it is not only inevitable, but necessary. After all, there is an air of unreality in the idea that the would-be buying club approaches a player’s current club, and both then embark on a full-blown negotiation process, without any idea whether the player would join the new club. Similarly, a club that wants to sell may be reluctant to dilute its bargaining position by openly stating at the outset that it’s looking to offload a player.

But regardless of the rights and wrongs of the rules (and believe me, I get as wound up as anyone when I see the latest comments from Xavi, Puyol, Rossell, Ferguson, Mancini or Evra), if the rules are ignored more often than they are observed, what’s the point? And, while Arsenal may well be relative angels in this area, I’m sure our club breaches the rules too: does anyone seriously think Chamakh didn’t know he had an Arsenal contract in the bag before he began to wind down his contract at Bordeaux? And how would he have known? Because someone told him Wenger wanted him. Or more accurately, told his agent.

So, rather than perpetuate this torture of waiting for the rules to be enforced every time the vultures circle, let’s be more honest and scrap the rules against tapping-up, and just allow conversations to flow in a more grown-up manner. That way, we can just get on with hating Evra for being an odious little nerk.


That Damned Abusive Offside Law

October 22, 2010

Written by RedArse

There are only 17 Laws of Football. The one that is the subject of this article and which makes me bristle with frustration and anger is …… Law 11, The Offside Law.


Before we can rationally discuss the pros or cons of this law we need to know what it says!

Offside Position

It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.

A player is in an offside position if:

he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent.

A player is not in an offside position if:

he is in his own half of the field of play or
he is level with the second last opponent or
he is level with the last two opponents

Offence

A player in an offside position is only penalized if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:

interfering with play or
interfering with an opponent or
gaining an advantage by being in that position.

No Offence

There is no offside offence if a player receives the ball directly from:

a goal kick or
a throw-in or
a corner kick

O.K., so they had defined Law 11; but how did it work in practice.

Following much controversy shortly after the current rule was introduced, FIFA brought out some “clarifications” or interpretations to re-define what the terminology meant, so that Referees worldwide would be consistent in their decision making. Not an auspicious beginning and the angst was to continue!

Clarification – Decision 1;

In the definition of offside position, “nearer to his opponents’ goal line” means that any part of his head, body or feet is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent. The arms are not included in this definition.

Clarification – Decision 2;

The definitions of involvement in active play are as follows:

Interfering with play means; playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a teammate.

Interfering with an opponent means; preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or movements or making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent.

Gaining an advantage by being in that position means; playing a ball that rebounds to him off a post or the crossbar having been in an offside position or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside position.

So, despite Andy “know it all” Gray, it is not sufficient for a player to have his feet level with or behind the defender’s, if his head or torso is ahead of the defender’s body parts, he is offside!

Anyway, following last weekend’s games, I got extremely exercised at how Referees, or their Assistants, had interpreted the offside law, and in doing so, had materially affected the outcome of at least two games.

Let’s take the Spuds v Fulham game as an example. Huddlestone struck a terrific shot, from outside the penalty area, which flew thru a crowded area and over the boot of Gallas, before lodging in the back of the net.
The Assistant Ref flagged for offside, (Gallas gaining an advantage?), the Spurs players protested, and after consulting his Assistant, the Ref overturned the offside decision and allowed what turned out to be the winning goal.
After the match, ‘Arry the Twitch, said “I don’t know if it was a goal, or not, because I don’t understand the offside rules”. A furious Mark Hughes predictably said the Ref had made the wrong decision by overturning the Assistant’s decision, but agreed the Offside Law was very difficult to understand.

And that’s the crux. The Offside Law is difficult to understand or, more aptly, to apply, because it is open to each official’s subjective interpretation. Enshrined within the Law “clarification”, it declares that “in the referee’s opinion” is the major criterion, and this has to be a recipe for obfuscation. The result is that “goals” are allowed or disallowed, by different Referees/Assistants, in what are very similar circumstances, much to the frustration of Managers, players and fans, because each individual referee can make decisions, “in his opinion”. By definition, mistakes are being made, and far too frequently, because those “opinions” can be illogical.
I say this without wishing to castigate the match officials, who are doing their best in almost impossible circumstances.

The prime mover with this Law change was to promote more goal scoring opportunities (keeping TV audiences engaged?) coupled with the injunction to give the benefit of any doubt to the attacking side. Very laudable, you might think, but conversely, the large majority of the errors continue to benefit the defending side, thus negating the very purpose of the Law.

Part of the problem, of course, is that Referee’s Assistants are frequently unable to properly make offside calls because it is impossible for them to “compute” the many variations of whether or not a player is “active” or “inactive” at the precise moment his teammate touches or passes the ball, not least because the human eye often cannot physically see both the kicker and the recipient clearly because of the angle they are at, or his “line of sight” may be impeded by other players’ bodies.

It is only human nature that, if an official is unsure whether or not he has correctly worked out all the possible permutations, in the split second available, and does not want to make an embarrassing mistake, he will likely err on the side of caution by raising the “offside flag”, rather than not doing so and looking incompetent.
Why is this? Well if the official does not to flag, and wrongly allows play to continue, resulting in a goal, this will get highlighted and shown over and over again on TV, or ridiculed in the morning newspapers. The effect on the official’s career path could be terminal.

Back to my original point, that Law 11 is misunderstood and incorrectly applied. In a newspaper today, Graham Poll the ex-referee declared, in his inimitable doctrinaire style, that the Referee was correct to allow the Huddleston goal because Gallas was not in the goalkeeper’s line of sight. He made no mention of “gaining an advantage by being in an offside position”. The shot from Huddleston passed over Gallas’ foot, which must have caused Schwarzer, at least, a momentary delay in reaction simply by his being there in that position, yards in front of any defender.

What to do? The old Law 11 came into disrepute, because in major international championships, a lot of ill feeling was caused when stunning “goals” were disallowed because a team mate on the attacking side was scratching his arse in an “offside” position out on the wing.

Before the current Law came into effect, this “problem” was overcome by adding the simple sentence “unless interfering with play”.

Therefore, in the above example; under the “old” Law 11, a stunning goal would be allowed, even if the winger was “offside “whilst playing with himself, unless he was interfering with play, due to flashing.

The solution is to return to the old Law 11 rules. We all understood those simple instructions and it would demystify the current refereeing decisions, which satisfy no one!

A very Happy Birthday to Arsène Wenger.