A serious bone of contention for me over the past few years has been the utter nonsense that has been going on with players in the beautiful game.
Their shenanigans and simulations have been nothing short of disgraceful.
What’s made it even worse is the fact that the referees seem to be complicit in the carry-on, which is all the more galling for me.
Although, in all fairness to the referees, they only do what their masters tell them.
I often wonder how it got to this level without someone – anyone – doing something about it.
They must also have felt sickened by the spectacle of players deliberately diving and cheating – rolling around as if they had been hit by a wrecking ball or run over by a double decker bus.
And even worse, more annoying was watching the men in the middle give free kicks for blatant deception.
Could they also not recognise what was going on?
Well, the good news is that they seem to have woken up and started to do something about it.
This season, there appears to be a concerted effort by the match officials to say:
I try every day to find the “straw that broke the camel’s back”. Those two or three incidents that finally brought the issue to a head when the powers that be came to their collective senses and said no more.
It stops right now, but I can’t find it. We recently had the Euro 2020 and the Copa América championships.
Was it there?
Did something happen during those two competitions that had the administrators wake up and take notice?
I still don’t know. But this past weekend in the English Premier League, I witnessed a complete change and, I must say, it’s a change for the better.
The referee allowed the situation to develop, and it eventually sorted itself out, and the team originally in possession of the ball kept possession of it.
It was a classic moment that even the spectators seemed to enjoy and brought football back to its original form.
Football is a competitive, contact sport – and so it should be. Sure, mistakes will happen when the referee gets it wrong, they are only human after all.
But the enjoyment of watching a competitive game of football appears to be back, and long may it continue.
THE VAR CHANGE
You will also notice a slight change to the video assistant referee (VAR) system. The dividing line between the offside and onside has been widened to make it more player-friendly.
Heretofore, the slightest fraction of a millimetre was being used to decide yay or nay as to whether a player was offside or not.
It was far too narrow and needed to change.
I remember some years ago a gold medal at the Olympics being decided by three milliseconds.
There was huge controversy and they have now brought it back to 100th of a second.
And so the same or similar to the VAR. The dividing lines – highlighted in red and blue – have been separated a little more.
I think that is for the good of the game as a whole.
Please stay safe and well out there. The Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet. Protect yourselves and your families, and observe all medical and scientific advice.
No one is safe until everyone is safe. Happy whistling!
Mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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