Seeing Red

I said in yesterday’s blog that I was torn about my loyalties before last night’s World Cup final. That lasted all of twenty-eight minutes – when Xabi Alonso got a chest full of studs at high velocity propelled by umpteen stone of Nigel de Jong. By that time I was seeing red, much as the Dutch players seemed to be, individually and collectively. Only they were seeing it front of their minds, not waved in front of their faces.

Referee Howard Webb is being pilloried for not sending off one, perhaps two Dutch players in the first half. But had he done so, doubtless many of those complaining would instead by whining about how he ruined the match as a competitive spectacle.  And he must have had the nightmare thought flash through his head that if he sent off too many players (I believe that the minimum on the pitch is seven) the match might have to be abandoned, which would have been the end of his career. I thought that he did as well as any one official could have in the circumstances.

Because ultimately the referee is there to arbitrate on a match not to act as peacemaker in a war, or to be the players’ moral compass.

It is the players, not the officials who are responsibile for their actions. They are supposedly grown men, paid vast amounts of money — they seem happy to take the money while behaving without any kind of responsibility or morality, as both Maradona and Henry have show in the past. 

But on a lighter note, it was good to see Spain change into their trademark red for the award presentation. That was the enjoyable part of seeing red.  A fitting end to a great month of armchair sport.

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• July 12th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0