Total Football Café: Weak Blatter Edition
So this past Monday we learned FIFA Dictator, er, President, Sepp Blatter plans to run for a fifth term as FIFA prez, to which the entire soccer world exhaled an enormous sigh of joyous relief that we won’t have to endure a brand new president and with him/her the potential prevailing of common sense or the rooting out of corruption. “My mission is not finished,” says Blatter, to which we can only assume he means sucking up every last crumb from every last Cindy Lou Who in every last vulnerable Whoville country left on the planet. As long as there are countries left to fleece, he’ll be there to see the mission accomplished.
On Friday, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said he would like MLS to be the world’s first league to test a video replay system for reviewing referee decisions during matches. The system would likely entail coaches being able to challenge one or two calls per half. MLS is the perfect league to test such a system – which has been way too long coming – because Americans love to see correct calls made, plus, MLS refs need all the help they can get (just ask DC United head coach Ben Olsen).
Every time this video replay debate arises in soccer circles, I’m always amazed how many pundits groan that the review process would take too long, ruin the flow of the match, etc., etc. They also say it would be impossible to draw the line as far as which decisions to review. I don’t understand this at all. You simply review the decisions that have the biggest impact on a match’s outcome. That means, red cards, PKs, maybe the occasional offside call. I would like to see mandatory review of all decisions that occur in the box, but a coach’s challenge system would likely be sufficient.
Whenever someone objects to video replay in soccer, I simply point them to Thierry Henry’s “Hand of Gaul” assist on the extra time goal that sent France to World Cup 2010 instead of Ireland. Ridiculous. It is almost the year 2015 people, the time has come for video replay in world soccer.
Saturday was a good soccer day with news that Brek Shea had an assist in his loan debut for Birmingham City, Diego Costa continued burning up the EPL with his hat trick in Chelsea’s defeat of Swansea, and Blas Perez scored two in FC Dallas’ defeat of Vancouver. I was at the FCD/Vancouver game last night – the atmosphere was terrific, with unusually mild fall-like temperatures and a hint of MLS playoffs in the air. I was also excited to see Mauro Diaz get a longer run out in the second half. His ball control and distribution are terrific and he could be a huge difference maker for FCD in the playoffs.
If you’ve thought about checking out my book Dallas ‘Til I Cry: Learning to Love Major League Soccer but haven’t quite taken the plunge yet, all obstacles are being removed as the Kindle version is 50% off this week. Hope you’ll check it out and recommend it to your soccer buddies!