This year, or the first time ever the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament is being held in Africa, and as South Africa proudly hosts the world in the world’s favourite sport, controversies are abound.
One major controversy of the games is actually the fans. A traditional South African instrument called the vuvuzela has been imported into the FIFA World Cup as a representation of African culture. The vuvuzela makes a loud monotonic buzzing noise that makes the soccer stadiums sound like they are under attack from a large swarm of angry wasps. But when you look closer, it’s only a large swarm of angry fans with large horns. FIFA attempted to ban the instrument as it interrupted broadcasting due to its loudness, but to no avail. The vuvuzelas are still being used every game, and the media appeared to have dealt with it using audio filtering technology. Now if there was only real life audio filtering for the folks in the stands.
Of course, the most controversial aspect of this world cup is the refereeing. The first major instance of shoddy refereeing came in the USA-Slovenia game in the group stage. After trailing 2-0 at halftime, the US managed to come back to tie at 2-2. At the 85th minute, another goal was scored by the US team, only to be disallowed by the referee for an alleged pull on a Slovenian player. Video evidence did not support this claim at all, but as FIFA rules state, a referee’s call is final despite any evidence otherwise.
The second instance of shoddy refereeing came from the Germany-England game in the round of 16. After trailing 2-0, England managed to score a goal to close the gap to 2-1. A second shot by Lampard hit the crossbar and bounced into the net. However, the goal was not recognized by the referee as he believed it did not pass the goal line. Video evidence later shows Lampard’s shot on net as clearly a goal for England, so unless the referee’s goal line resembles the one shown below, England should have tied the game at 2-2. As a result, Germany went on to defeat England 4-1.
Finally, the Argentina-Mexico game that very same afternoon showed another officiating error when the referee allowed an offside goal from Argentina while the game was tied at 0-0. Argentina ended up winning that game 3-1. However, with so many officiating controversies surrounding goals alone, one must wonder why FIFA has not adopted video replay technology yet. With only 3 referees on the field at all times, the referees are likely unable to always make the correct call. There have been many instances of wrongly issued cards in addition to the bad calls on goals. Adopting video replay would help the referees to make the correct call. In addition, we may actually progress to a society with less soccer street riots. Who knows?