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How We Can Avoid Circus like Portugal vs Netherlands Match

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As both sides were eager to increase the count of the cautions in the match, no surprise the referee found himself in a quagmire and try to get out of it by banishing players to dressing room. So in the end we had was a 9 on 9 rather than an 11 vs 11 contest.

Two days and four matches after that madhouse we can surely believe that it would have been so much better if FIFA wouldn’t had interfered with common sense referring with its dictum. Punish the cheats, control time wasting tactics and punish career threatening tackles had not only made the referees more sensitive to their boss’s request but also seemed an easy way for referees to be in FIFA’s good books so that they can run matches in the later stage of the tournament.

What should we do to avoid Portugal vs Netherlands debacle in future

First and foremost is the change in the system of cards, today we have two levels of offenses Yellow cards and Red cards. Red for committing a career threatening tackle or committing mistakes being the last defender and Yellow card for all the other offences in the game. Some of the people may like to differ with me but if one sees closely the Portugal and Netherlands match was full of players who ended up with yellow cards for minor offences because FIFA labeled few of the minor offenses as a Yellow card offence. For example the second yellow card of Deco, he was just in way and when the referee blowed his whistle he instinctively pick up the ball. Next thing was a flashing second yellow and way to the dressing room.

What should FIFA do with it?

To avoid offenses in a match fouls should be categorized into various classifications and level, for example a time killing penalty is equivalent to harsh tackle – a yellow card. But does this solve the problem.

Absolutely not, we have to understand the intention of the player. A time killing infringement should be dealt with a time based penalty and a tackling infringement should be dealt with an injury based penalty.

Diving, time killing, cheating should be reprimanded then and there. As soon as the referee spot a diving or time killing exercise, a new card say Orange should be flashed to send the player out of game for ten minutes.

How will it better than the present system

Presently the players who dive, kill time or try to cheat are the one who are not on caution so they believe even if they have a yellow card the objective will be achieved. Goalkeepers today so often waste time by taking too much time in kicking goal kicks and one yellow doesn’t influence their overall role in the tournament. So if the goal keeper is out for ten minutes the other team will have massive advantage to attack and change the game.

Believe you me once this is in on, no goalkeeper on earth will be wasting time. The moment one dive he is out for ten minutes, this will be a great hindrance as it will decrease the risk reward equation for the striker. At one moment he is trying to achieve a non existent penalty and next moment the opposition will have a ten minute numerical advantage to gain upper hand.

This will also reduce the pressure from the referees as their decision will have a shorter influence in term of single decision influencing a whole match but more control over the split situation. As we earlier described in the Deco example the over all influence of a minor mistake is that the team ended up playing 20 odd minutes with 9 players or in the match of Germany vs Sweden where Lucic committed a technical foul with no malaise but end up sitting more than a 50 minutes in dressing room. 10 minutes advantage to Germany of a man over would have been appropriate for such a haphazard foul with no ill intent.

The next article in this series will be ‘Referees need help to avoid a Portugal vs Netherlands kind debacle’. In that article we will throw some light how and where technology can be used to decide the critical decisions.

Anand Mann is a football correspondent in Germany, he decided to write for write term papers on this year global event. He has previously covered FIFA 2002 in Korea and Japan. You can contact him at Get the latest updates on world cup in daily newsletter from write term papers

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  • Posted On January 12, 2007
  • Published articles 283513

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