There’s been a lot of discussion lately about why Americans will never embrace the sport of “football.” The most common theory seems to relate to the length-of-play to points scored ratio (as seen on facebook: How is watching soccer like going to the disco? Everybody gets all sweaty, and nobody scores).
I have a different theory, which relates to the American ideal of fairness, especially in sport.
Soccer as it is today is just too subjective.
Firstly: What’s up with the “extra time” tacked on to the end of the game, supposedly reflecting the amount of time lost for fouls, injuries, out-of-bounds, etc.? It seems to me like an opportunity ripe for corruption, as well as completely subjective (who makes that decision anyway? does anybody know?) Now I can understand that this might have been a relevant approach I don’t know, back before we had clocks, but here we are in the 21st century, with laser technology and timers that can place swimmers and skiers within thousandths of seconds, but we can’t stop the time when the ball goes out of bounds? Maybe they could talk to someone, like the NBA or the NFL, and ask them how they do it.
Secondly: what gets called a foul and what doesn’t? You can watch 10 minutes of soccer and there are 30 whistles; for the next 30 minutes, while the players wrestle each other to the ground, kick each other in the jaw, or throw themselves to the grass in a writhing squirming heap because someone came into their airspace, nary a whistle is blown.
Thirdly: the continued insistence on refusing to use video technology to review mildly important calls, you know, like questionable goals in international competition.
Vague, arbitrary, archaic. Not fair.
In a related story, the president of FIFA has apologized for the refereeing errors, and vowed that the discussion regarding the use of video technology will be reopened in July (after the World Cup is over; that should help). He insists, though, that this discussion is only going to be regarding what he refers to as “goal-line technology.” While that’s a start, I don’t think it goes far enough. Could someone at least hand someone a stopwatch?