Shame on CAF, (half) props to UEFAUEFA, the European soccer confederation, has apparently passed a controversial new rule. Now, players who brandish imaginary yellow cards toward to referee trying to get him to book an opponent would be subject to a caution themselves. A Leicester Mercury editorial rubbishes this idea.
The card gesture to the referee is no more than an appeal and in many cases is far from a breach of the laws of the game, it is an insistence on them being applied, the English paper sniffs.
Yet, most English supporters and those who follow the English soccer tradition were appalled at the unsporting behavior displayed at the recent World Cup. Most clearly exemplified by the tactics of dirtycheatingportual (TM). It was a common sight to see players collapse as if shot whenever a fan in the upper deck sneezed and then demand the ref show a card for some imaginary offense.
The new UEFA rule aims to get rid of this garbage. It says, "The players' job is to play and the officials' job is to officiate."
I understand the English revulsion against increasingly pedantic soccer rules, but how does the paper aim to get rid of such obnoxious, unsporting tactics if not via the yellow card?
European soccer fans like to look their noses down at North America (and to the rest of the world, for that matter, but particularly North America and Asia it seems). It's true that the top quarter of European teams are on the whole, far superior to the top quarter of North American teams. But I've always said I'd love to see England have to play a World Cup qualifier in San Salvador where they have to dodge bags of urine tossed their way or a hideous pitch in the interior of the Guatemalan jungle. Then they could talk about how 'easy' things are in North America. In Europe, the tough matches are much tougher but the easier matches are a joke.
I'm not sure North America has ever had a continent-wide final round qualifying match for any tournament that finished 13-0 like the recent San Marino-Germany farce.
There were 30 matches in the final round North American World Cup qualifying for the most recent World Cup. The most lopsided was a single match that finished 5-0.
Euro 2008 qualifying has already had 5 matches (out of 43) which were decided by 5 goals or more.
Germany was ahead 6-0 at halftime.
San Marino's next match is against the Czech Republic so you can expect another annihilation.
Simply put, Europe needs to have a prelimary qualifying round before major tournaments. Clubs in big countries already complain about too many international matches. And let's face it, do the Germanys and Englands of this world really improve or even test themselves pounding on the minnows of Europe? Sure, it helps inflate their FIFA computer ranking but I sure wouldn't pay 40 Euros to watch them trash a bunch of amateurs.
African soccer outlets made a big deal this week about Angola being awarded hosting privileges for the 2010 African Nations Cup (CAN) by the African soccer confederation. What was overlooked is much more distubring news: international pariahs will host the two succeeding Nations Cups.
Gabon and Equatorial Guinea will co-host the 2012 tournament. Equatorial Guinea is run by one of the two or three most despotic regimes in the entire world; it's in the same league as Burma and North Korea. It's also one of the poorest countries in Africa with virtually non-existent infrastructure, despite the recent discovery of huge oil reservoirs. Shame on CAF! Equatorial Guinea's dictatorship should spend its oil revenues not on soccer stadiums but on alleviating the desperate poverty of its people.
Libya, whose reputation for respecting human rights benefits only in comparison to Equatorial Guinea's, was awarded the 2014 edition.