Thursday, 21 June 2018

Remember This About Shirt Swapping?

Back in June 2012, Pierluigi Collina promoted swapping shirts ... even between referees and players. It was a terrible idea then (as mentioned before) and remains a terrible idea to this day.

The upshot? USA World Cup referee Mark Geiger was accused by Morocco player Nordin Amrabat of "asking for Cristiano Ronaldo's shirt". Obviously there are "sour grapes" because Morocco lost to Portugal and subsequently after two matches Morocco are knocked out of the World Cup.

FIFA has released a strong statement that "unequivocally condemns the allegations [by Amrabat]" and that American referee Geiger "has acted in an exemplary and professional manner."

How ironic then that Collina, who is also chairman of the FIFA World Cup Referees, has previously promoted shirt swapping by referees. Collina himself was a collector of players' shirts during his time as a referee.




2 June 2012

Not Convinced About Collina in Respect Campaign

Here's the lead sentence from UEFA's social responsibility programme:
"Swapping shirts at the end of a match is a symbol of respect between opponents."

And here we see a famous Referee swapping shirts with a famous player:


Pierluigi Collina and Karem Benzema. Pic from UEFA.
 

Question 1: Does the Referee regard the player as an 'opponent'?

Question 2: Do Referees really exchange jerseys with players?

I am unconvinced about this latest respect campaign from UEFA.* UEFA claim that "Pierluigi Collina and Karem Bezema exchange jerseys as a mark of Respect". This is an incorrect and illogical claim. Also, Collina has previously admitted to not being able to give away his Referee shirts in exchange for players' shirts because he said Referees are never given enough shirts in the first place.

Instead, UEFA Referees' Chief Pierluigi Collina has a reputation for collecting famous football players' shirts without exchanging his own and even got Graham Poll hooked on this habit. Poll famously wrote in his autobiography about his unabashed attempt at making sure he was standing next to Zinedine Zidane when he blew up for full time, just so that he could be the first to 'claim' the great Zizou's jersey. How pathetic. This makes a mockery of the integrity, credibility and neutrality of Referees. Referees should not be seen to swap shirts with players with whom they are officiating matches with.

This blog admires Collina for his performance and dedication to Refereeing. However, this blog does not agree with some of Collina's practices such as the habit of encouraging Referees to swap shirts with famous players that they have officiated. It is hypocritical of Collina to promote this campaign. Also, it is by definition unethical.


Saturday, 28 April 2018

Football Dark Arts

What are the Dark Arts in soccer? This interesting book is the first-ever collection of 80 negative football tricks, traps and tips that are used by mischievous players, coaches and managers.


Here is the book description, which is found on Amazon websites:

How winners in football really win at football.

Football Dark Arts provides detailed knowledge about crafty, deceitful and outrageous gamesmanship that will help you and your team win matches.

For the first time anywhere, 80 tricks, traps and tips in soccer are collected together and presented in this book. These dark arts help give ultra-competitive managers and street-smart players a competitive edge that prevent their opponents from performing at their optimal level.

Masters of the dark arts know how to bend the rules, to deceive, to con, and ultimately to negatively affect their opponents. This book highlights the ugly, unpleasant and unsporting aspects of “The Beautiful Game”.

Whether you are a player, coach, match official, fan, commentator, journalist, medical doctor or club director, your best option is to read this book and understand the dark arts!

Proceeds from this book will go to the Common Goal fund to support football charities around the world.


If players, coaches and managers are using the Dark Arts to help them beat their opponents, then match officials should also be smart enough to be able to recognise and understand these negative actions. This book is an "eyeopener" into the real world of competitive football. Highly recommended.





Friday, 16 March 2018

Risk of Sports Injury?

At first take, who looks more likely to have a significant injury, or three, during their football career?

Jack Wilshere (right) of Arsenal and Fernandinho of Manchester City battle for the ball

Jack Wilshere is a talented professional player but his record of injuries do not bode well for this future, especially if one looks at his body mechanics (kinesthetics). Wilshere looks awkward, unbalanced and ungainly.

Aesthetics plays a huge part in a professional athlete's long-term performance, sustainability and longevity. Just look at tennis legend Roger Federer, a wonderfully graceful athlete who has avoided major injuries throughout his long career while performing consistently at the highest level.

Let's not forget how Alex Ferguson regards athletes too (plus he is known to have a good eye for choosing winning racehorses).

Writing in his autobiography in 2013, Ferguson painted the scene in the Manchester United boardroom, prior to Jordan Henderson’s £16 million move from Sunderland to Liverpool (reference):
“We looked at Jordan Henderson a lot and Steve Bruce was unfailingly enthusiastic about him. Against that we noticed that Henderson runs from his knees, with a straight back, while the modern footballer runs from his hips. We thought his gait might cause him problems later in his career.”
Jordan Henderson, running style


So, from a refereeing perspective, match officials should also pay attention to their body mechanics, running style and movement. Referees are athletes and can also benefit from understanding and improving themselves aesthetically. 


Reference

Arsenal star Jack Wilshere complains about three refereeing decisions from Carabao Cup final loss to Manchester City in a statement: 'These are facts'  (Daily Mail)




Thursday, 16 November 2017

Can a Referee's Name Influence His Appointment?

Ben Toner. Say the name again. Ben Toner.

Some people may hear the term "bent owner". In English slang the meaning of "bent" is to be dishonest. A dishonest owner.

This is not a reflection on the referee himself. Mr Toner merely has an unfortunate name that can be used to imply that a club owner is dishonest or corrupt. Recently, the owners of Blackpool were found guilty in the high court of "illegally stripping" the club of assets, and people have noticed this funny association.

Interestingly, the PGMOL decided to remove Ben Toner from the Blackpool vs Portmouth League One match and replace him with EPL referee Jon Moss. They cited that the reason for this was NOT because of the referee's name at the match, but because the match itself had become higher profile due to the high court's verdict. In the end, the third-tier match had an attendance of 5,032 and very little media coverage.

Perhaps Ben Toner should amend his name to Benjamin Toner or Benny Toner? Would that help?

Take home message: If you are a referee and you also have a funny name, you may need to think about changing your name. Does anyone know any funny referee names?

There is a player in Hong Kong who is called "Linesman". Imagine the reaction of the match officials, when Lineman's teammates call his name!!


Reference

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/nov/10/referee-ben-toner-dropped-backpool-oystons

Referee Ben Toner loses Blackpool game after Oystons court verdict

Jon Moss takes over at Bloomfield Road due to ‘increased attention’
Ben Toner’s name caused amusement following ruling against Oystons

The referee Ben Toner has been taken off Blackpool’s League One match against Portsmouth, days after the majority owner, the Oystons, were found by a high court judge to have operated an “illegitimate stripping” of the Lancashire club.

Given the findings against the Oystons, Toner’s name had caused some amusement on social media. However the EFL said he had been replaced by a more senior official only because of the “increased scrutiny” on the match at Blackpool.
On Monday Owen Oyston and his son Karl were ordered by Justice Marcus Smith to pay £31m to buy out the minority shareholder Valeri Belokon because of “fundamental breaches” of their duties as directors. Yesterday they put the club up for sale.

After discussions between the EFL and PGMOL, the referees’ association, it was decided Toner should be replaced by Jon Moss, one of the elite Premier League officials. As the body that appoints all match officials it was the PGMOL rather than the EFL which made the choice.

An EFL spokesman said: “As a result of the increased attention surrounding this weekend’s League One fixture between Blackpool and Portsmouth, PGMOL [Professional Game Match Officials Limited] has determined it would be appropriate for a select group 1 referee to take charge of proceedings at Bloomfield Road.



Thursday, 29 June 2017

Manchester United Class of 1992 Arrive in Hong Kong

Seen in Hong Kong on the MTR!







Manchester United legends Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt travel by metro to five-a-side in Hong Kong

  • The Manchester United quintet are in Asia for a veterans five-a-side match 
  • They each received t-shirts with caricatures drawn on the front
  • Gary Neville later shared a picture from the tallest bar in the world  
It has been a long time since Paul Scholes, Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt needed public transport to arrive at a match they were playing in.
But out in Hong Kong, the quintet used the metro to head to a veterans five-a-side match.

The Manchester United legends may have called time on their professional playing careers but they still pose quite the threat as a five-a-side combination.


 Phil Neville is in Hong Kong with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and brother Gary



The players were given a warm welcome from the United supporters in Hong Kong
The five United legends have headed to Hong Kong for a five-a-side veterans match
Phil Neville shared a picture on his Instagram account of the group heading out on their travels, captioning the image 'Road trip with these guys!!!'
And he tweeted the welcome they had, with fans lining up to catch a glimpse of their heroes donning United attire and waving flags. 
And his older brother Gary shared some pictures of t-shirts that they had been presented with, featuring caricatures of each player on the front.
He seemed a little underwhelmed with his own t-shirt, writing 'not nice' alongside the post he uploaded on Instagram.
But overall, he seemed to be very much enjoying his time in Asia. Neville later published a picture of an impressive view from what he said is the 'tallest bar in the world, apparently'.
That venue would be the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong hotel, where the cocktail bar is on the 118th floor and 1,608 feet above sea level. 



Neville also visited 'the tallest bar in the world' - the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong hotel



Wednesday, 7 June 2017

RIP Cheick Tiote

Sad and shocking news about the death of Ivory Coast player Cheick Tiote, who passed away on Monday 5th June at the age of 30 whilst training with his club Beijing Enterprises (Beijing BG FC).



Many tributes and articles have been shared about this popular and friendly man, father, husband, son, colleague and friend.

One example from the Daily Mail wrote:
Supporters could not believe how good the holding midfield player was and he quickly became a fans' favourite, earning the nickname 'Mr T' because of his mohawk hairstyle and no-nonsense approach. Indeed, he was booked 56 times and sent off twice [in 156 appearances for Newcastle]. That, though, was part of his popularity, the cards a byproduct of his commitment. At a club like Newcastle, that counted for a lot among fans.

From a referee's perspective, Tiote was a hard no-holds-bar midfield player but also fair (giving as good as he receives, without complaining). In 2012, Mike Dean chose to talk with the then 25-year-old Newcastle player in the hope that he would listen and avoid a caution or two (see Mike Dean Masterclass Display). Although a thoroughly nice guy off the pitch, on the pitch Tiote was always close to getting cautions with his challenges.

 Mike Dean Talks with Newcastle's Cheick Tiote




Thursday, 12 January 2017

Friendly Matches by FIFA Put Players' Health At Risk

I cringe every time there is a friendly match (like a charity match, a testimonial, or high-profile celebrity kickabout) because the safety of players is usually overlooked. The recent FIFA Legends match is another example of this. Players NEVER wear SHIN GUARDS.

The article below makes a song-and-dance about the availability (or lack) of defibrillators, while overlooking the simple act of not wearing protective shin pads.  FIFA's medical chief may criticise his organisation's lack of available defibrillators but not all stadia or sports clubs are rich enough to afford such specialized equipment. Shin guards, on the other hand (or foot!), are affordable to all players.



Diego Maradona and Co's health 'put at risk' by FIFA during Legends matches at Zurich headquarters

  • FIFA staged Legends match at their headquarters without pitchside defibrillator
  • Council member Michel D'Hooghe was angry at lack of medical equipment
  • Ex-players including Diego Maradona, Carles Puyol and Lucas Radebe took part
FIFA's medical chief has slammed world football's ruling body for staging Legends matches at their own headquarters in Zurich without a pitchside defibrillator.

Belgium's FIFA council member Michel D'Hooghe was visibly angry at the lack of emergency medical equipment on the touchline for the tournament held at FIFA House, especially considering the ages and physical shape of those playing — notably Diego Maradona, 56, once the world's greatest player.

Along with Maradona, the former stars taking part included Spain's Carles Puyol and Michel Salgado, South Africa's Lucas Radebe, Argentina's Gabriel Batistuta and Croatia's Zvonimir Boban, now FIFA deputy secretary general.




They were joined by a number of top football administrators led by FIFA president Gianni Infantino. 
Other suits on the pitch were CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani, Brazil football chief Fernando Sarney, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and America's Sunil Gulati.
There were two defibrillators, used to revive heart-attack victims, stored nearby in the offices and the gym. 
But D'Hooghe, chairman of FIFA's medical committee, said: 'FIFA are not setting a good example. The equipment should be ready for use beside the pitch, not in the building. The first three minutes are the most important in the event of the heart stopping.
'And this is a dangerous day, with many of the legends and the football officials not being particularly fit. It's high risk.'