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Question Number: 32570

Other 7/4/2018

RE: World Cup Professional

Derek of Cary, IL USA asks...

This is not a question, but I need to rant here because I feel this is the best place for it to get noticed.

The comments that Moroccan and Columbian players and coaches have made against Referee Mark Gieger have been completely baseless and shameful. You lost, you played horribly, so get over it and try again next year. I am furious that such allegations have been made when their teams have played poorly, but they decide 'oh, it wasn't us, it was the ref.'

Some comments:
"I found it peculiar that they put an American referee in this instance. To tell you the truth, the process leaves a lot of doubts. He only spoke English, some bias was certain. Through small calls, he was pushing us [toward] our goal, that was clear for me.'
'The referee disturbed us a lot, in the 50-50 plays, he always made the calls in favor of England. This situation was undermining us. He didnt act with the same criteria for both teams.'
"When in doubt he always went to the England side. Its shameful that this happens in the round of 16 of a World Cup."

On the flip side, thank you to FIFA for standing up for Mr Gieger, who has been a role model for many of us Americans to strive for. I hope he is selected for another elimination match this tourney.

Oh, right, a question. Umm, do you know if FIFA fines or suspends players or team officials for making comments against the integrity of the game? I know MLS sometimes does if the person makes a negative comment about the ref.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Derek,
well we really are not a gripe site more of an explanation site but your point is well taken.

It is well known that perception is a condition where narcissists see themselves as they want to be seen. They can excuse themselves to point the finger of blame at everyone else.

A referee with integrity, while not infallible to making a mistake, understands that self respect is a gift to ones self, because it can NEVER be taken from you .

In todays world, those in the limelight, be it political, national or local, their actions speak for themselves. The rest of us decide what truth we want to listen too. As the now USA president has us all doubting the news nowadays. What is shameful, is shame is no longer something to avoid, given it seems to be peddled as a version of the truth.

I watched this match. I would not have had Marks' patience. I find the reluctance to show cautions for the silly things is because, money movers and shakers, FIFA and a lack of political will do not want 9 verses 9 or 9 versus 7 style matches to unfold at the world stage and pressure has been brought to bear not to do so or else!

And yes FIFA do have polices in place to fine or punish conduct of not only officials, players and coaches, but their fans as well. Several associations have been fined for racists or corrupt USB behavior already.

I recall a match Mark did in the Concacalf Gold cup between Mexico and Panama under which the Panamanian papers had huge wads of cash being stuffed into Marks shorts over their loss to Mexico. Now it was stated by Concacalf officials that Mark had admitted to errors but no one could ever pinpoint just what these errors he was admitting too were! Clouds of suspicion's remained as he was NOT fully supported by the Concacalf, the MLS however defended him well.

I will say the Yellow card for the 1st Columbian head, chest, chin, bobble where VAR intervened and he only cautioned was in my opinion a CLEAR mistake. It was either a red card for VC or nothing.

I have the greatest of respect for those that officiate at the highest level and I know I could not tolerate the level of restraint they are required to show given the massive pressure they must be under for the political repercussions a single decision could have. I get the VAR thing is new and they are working out the kinks. If anything I think VAR has been proven to be a tool to get it right more so then find it wrong.

I use the phrases Your Match Your Decision Your Reputation as a catch all for the various opinions on facts of play we as referees must bear as public figures on the pitch. I find our lives away from the pitch play a part in how we are perceived on the pitch if we are local but in situations of world wide cross matching we are but a match condition to be endured at best.

I recall my mentor Essie in the 1998 World cup when but for a picture his reputation was based on a match decision NO camera caught that day. It was but for the grace of God or whatever deity had him protected that produced the bomafidable evidence of his 100% correct decision which lead to his continuing on a great career path that I believe could have turned out far different. Yet in knowing the true integrity of this man it was with a sense of shame
that FIFA DID NOT truly believe in his decision as just until after the evidence surfaced. Even the president of France had enough humility to apologize to him. Perhaps that taught FIfA a lesson that benefit's the referees like Mark from being cast under the bus just because somebody does not like a result. Good on FIFA for standing with their officials at the world stage it is a condition that MUST be maintained if there is to be effective change and discipline taken against those who just cannot see past their nationalistic butts!


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Derek
Thanks for the observation.
It is a sad reflection on the game that teams including countries resort to this type of baseless comments aimed at referees. Mistakes by match officials are inevitable but it is the players’ performances that decide who wins and loses. Match officials do not decide the outcome of matches.
The fact is that media push for more coverage with immediate post-match interviews is understandable. Their desire to offer something commercially different will always mean seeking to attract more viewers, more traffic to a site The trite is of no use to broadcasters or viewers. They want the sensational so place a microphone in front of a player / manager who has just lost will result in these stories. Buffons tirade after the loss in the Champions League was a case in point.
Had Colombia won Referee Mark Geiger would have been the *best* referee ever. Would the team have even been asked about refereeing?
The simple fact is that Colombia did not play well enough and lost in a penalty shoot out that they could easily have won.
I listened to the Colombian coach Pekerman and all he complained about was interruptions to the game? For me 36 fouls is not unusual although the average so far in this WC is 25 so I am not sure about that other than Colombia was guilty of 64% of fouls.
The neutral observer will note that every single foul award was correct. Some were soft for both sides yet they were not game changers that I recall. I can only think of one occasions in the game where there was a 50 / 50 call that went Englands way and that was a strong challenge just around half way between Young of England and No 5 Barrios Colombia. No 5 Barrios at that time was already on a caution for the shenanigans in the wall in the first half. On review the Colombian went in with a both feet block although not reckless and Young went in with one. That is the only doubtful call I can recall
As to interruptions the free kick that had the free kick headbutt incident in the wall took 3.30 to get a restart while the penalty kick also took 3.30 to get the kick completed. So while I can agree with his comments the reason was of Colombia's own making. The Colombia players reaction to the penalty award was disgraceful in fact one or two could easily have walked for jostling the referee as could Barrios for his earlier indiscretion in the wall.
I also believe that FIFA needs to look at the policy of warning players at restarts. Every single corner had to be halted by the referee to warn players. That has become common place and frustrating. Unless players are going to *fight* it is better to get on with play and call the fouls. Players pay no heed to these warnings so why persist with it.
So for me Colombia played poorly and only for a spell in the last 10 minutes of the game and the first half of Extra Time did they muster any real challenge. Colombia fouled constantly with Kane getting rough treatment throughout.
There were in total 36 fouls in the game with 23 committed by Colombia which resulted in 6 of the 8 yellow card going Colombias way. There were some silly time wasting by England near the end on free kicks which could have been punished for time wasting yet we know that every referee has been lenient on cards for technical offences
If any thing the referee was lenient towards Colombia with at least two / three players that could easily have been sent off for two yellows.
The only decision of note in the game was the penalty award for the foul on Kane and any neutral observer will see that no 6 Sanchez was all over Kane pulling him to the ground. It is a foul anywhere else on the field of play so it was a foul here as well
As to sanctions FIFA has the power to take action against any player, coach, staff involved with Colombia. That requires individuals to be identified such as in the case of Christine Sinclair was handed a four-game suspension and fined a reported $3,500 for her aftergame actions after the dramatic semi-final loss to the United States at the London Olympics in 2012.
So yes if a player, official is identified as bring the fame into disrepute then sanctions can be taken.

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