FIFA World Cup 2010: Officiating Once Again Erodes Credibility at Tournament

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FIFA World Cup 2010: Officiating Once Again Erodes Credibility at Tournament
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Something must be done.

It’s not about the ball. It’s not about venue. Sadly, it has often ceased to be about the players.

The officiating is simply that bad.

It’s an equal opportunity offender. France only qualified for this edition of the World Cup when Thierry Henry’s blatant handball within the box was overlooked, leaving Ireland out in the cold.

The French left the tournament in disarray, but shouldn’t have even been there to begin with.

The Americans can complain.

The late goal against Slovenia was disallowed with no explanation, forcing a victory against Algeria to ensure passage into the knockout round.

Early in Algeria, a phantom call negated another score. Now the United States has been sent home, leaving those issues in the past, but the sour taste of being abused by the officials still lingers.

Looking at England, the Three Lions never seem to get calls in their favor.

In 1986 it was the “Hand of God” from Diego Maradona that ended their Cup hopes. In 1998 (again against Argentina) David Beckham was sent off for a questionable retaliation against Diego Simeone. Sol Campbell’s goal was somehow disallowed and England lost on kicks.

And now this? Frank Lampard’s certain goal today was ignored by a referee and an out-of-position linesman. England is deflated and goes on to lose 4-1.

Even mighty Argentina has been touched by this nightmare. Their first goal against Mexico (again, earlier today) should have been wiped out over an obvious offside non-call.

Certainly a correct call and a tied score would not have won the game for England, but it would have made the job a bit more reasonable.

It’s becoming harder and harder to take the World Cup seriously when there is no consistency in the officiating.

Whether or not those guilty of these abysmally bad calls have bias is not the issue. The outcome of games just isn’t being decided by players on the pitch.

FIFA can decide to fix things one way or another. Or they can let the credibility of the game continue to erode as good play goes unrewarded, or poor calls decide the outcome of tight games.

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