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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

It’s Time for “World’s Game” to Catch Up to the Rest of the World

If you can imagine the best competition in world football getting better, that’s what you have when the Champions League reaches the Round of 16, particularly on the second leg when numbers are in place and you know what each side needs to move on. From sold out attendance in the stadiums to millions watching around the world, the stage is set for the football the planet has to offer to be played. Why then do we let three guys supersede the action on the pitch with no system of checks and balances? Manchester United was up 2-1 on aggregate and leading in a match 1-0 and well on their way to round of eight when referee Cuneyt Cakir sent off Manu U. player Nani for a high foot on Alvaro Arbeloa of Real Madrid. In the two days following the match UEFA has stood by their man but quality arguments have come down on both sides of the issue. Obviously Man U. supporters can argue that Nani was not sent off for “Violent Conduct” which according to the rules is “an act when you are not challenging for the ball”, which Nani clearly was, but for “Serious Foul Play” and to be dismissed for this you must “use excessive force or brutality against an opponent when challenging for the ball when it is in play. A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as a serious foul play”. To surmise, Nani’s play, although aggressive in nature, was not intentional and he was playing the ball. Worthy of a yellow and a caution yes, but a red? No. Conversely, the rules are left for interpretation and easily can be manipulated to serve your purpose depending on the side you support, no where in the rules are the adjectives “excessive” or “brutally” defined and because of that it’s left to the referee’s determination and therefore he is correct in his ruling. However at the end of the day with so much on the line it’s more important to get the call right than to have a delay. How can such a big decision be made via instant recall with the chaos that ensues from both sides? I hate it when pundits compare sports but I have to admit, although I hate when the American Football’s replay system slows down a game but what it has done is alleviate the number of times when the game isn’t actually won on the pitch by the players. A loss is a loss and if the correct call can’t be made with the technology we have in the 21st century then it was too close to call anyway. What I would have like to have seen is at least someone to talk to about it with for a second opinion from perhaps a different angle, but one man’s take on a play that lasted less than 2 seconds that changed the outcome of the Champions League Tournament is simply negligent in it’s nature. To throw even more fuel on the inferno RM manager Jose Mourinho was quoted as stating “I doubt with 11 against 11 we could have won the match”. Amazingly stipulating that without the aid of the call Real Madrid would be home watching the rest of the tournament. You don’t see that type of candor often and in on a stage this big, and perhaps he’s cutting his side a little short but the take away remains the same, with the time, skill, cash, and “blood/sweat/tears” from the fans that goes into the “World’s Game” we should ensure that all of the resources in the world are used to let the players decide the outcome.

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